Connections You Can Count On

What Causes a Dead Outlet & How to Fix One

Imagine you plug your phone in and nothing happens. You try to troubleshoot the problem in all sorts of ways until you realize that it’s not your phone, your charging cable, or the adapter that’s not working – it’s the electrical wall outlet itself!

If an outlet in your home has suddenly stopped working, there are a few reasons why this may have happened. Read about some of these reasons below and learn more about what you can do to fix a dead outlet.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

A common reason why an outlet isn’t working in your home is because you tripped your circuit breaker. When a circuit breaker is overloaded, which happens when too much electricity is in use, it will stop electricity from flowing to the outlets on its circuit. This is a safety measure doing its job to prevent a dangerous overload of the system.

Check your circuit breaker for any tripped breakers. If there are any, this is likely your problem. You can restore electricity to a dead outlet by flipping the breakers in the opposite direction, but don’t stop there. Turn off or unplug any devices or appliances on that circuit and to avoid a problem in the future, avoid using too many of them at once.

Blown Fuse

A blown fuse is another potential problem involving your circuit breaker, but it can be a little more difficult to fix on your own. If you aren’t sure what a blown fuse is supposed to look like, check to see if there’s a component with broken glass or damaged filament – that should be the fuse, and broken one to boot.

If you are confident that you can find a matching fuse with the same amperage, you can probably replace a blown fuse on your own. If you have any doubts about your ability to do this on your own, though, contacting an electrician for help is probably the way to go.

GFCI Outlet Malfunction

If you have outlets in your home with “Test” or “Retest” buttons on them, these are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets. These outlets are designed to automatically shut off when a leak of electrical current occurs.

You can tell if there’s a problem with a GFCI outlet if you press the “Test” button and the “Retest” button doesn’t pop out. In this case, you should call an electrician for repairs.

Bad Wiring

Sometimes your home’s wiring is to blame, especially if you’re in an older home or one that hasn’t been updated in a while. Over time, wiring can loosen or split, resulting in a loss of electrical power to an outlet.

If you suspect there’s bad wiring in your home, contact a professional electrician for rewiring services as soon as possible. Aging or degraded wiring can heat up and spark an electrical fire, which is the number one reason why homes burn down.