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Is My Electrical Outlet Dead?

July 18, 2022 | Blog

How To Tell If An Outlet Is Dead

If you have a dead outlet in your home, there could be a more simple solution to the problem than you might think.

By following DIY electrical tips and using a couple of handy tools, you may be able to identify the issue before you rush to call an electrician. However, should things turn too complicated or possibly dangerous, be sure to call Arnold Electrical Services for all your electrical concerns!

What You Need To Check On Your Outlet

With the help of a few tools, you could fix your electrical issues yourself and save a penny or two on calling in a pro. You will need a screwdriver set, flashlight, needle-nose pliers, safety glasses, and a voltage tester. Be sure to take extra caution when working with electrical wiring.

If at any time you are not sure of what to do next or the problem still is not solved, let a professional check out what may be the culprit.

Tips on How to Fix a Dead Outlet

Test all outlets and switches

Go through the area where your dead outlet is, and see if there are any others that aren’t working too. Be sure to mark off which ones do and don’t work to avoid confusion.

Check circuit breakers

Find your circuit breaker in your home and check it for any tripped breakers. If there are any, it’s a matter of switching it “OFF” firmly, then back “ON” to reset it. Before you do this, you should make sure all electronics are turned off, and everyone in the household is alerted.

Blown fuses

Check for burnt or blown fuses. If there are any, you would find charred glass or broken filaments. Replace them with fuses the same type and amperage.

Check GFCIs

Ground fault circuit interrupters are those outlets with the “test” and “reset” buttons. They are placed where shock hazards are the most possible. Press the reset button to test and see if that fixes it. If not, it could be a sign that there is a hazard or leak somewhere, in which case you would call in a professional electrician.

Bad connectors

If testing and resetting the GCFIs did not work and your outlet is still dead, your next step would be to remove the outlet from the box and check it for bad or loose connections. The easiest way to tell would be if there are loose terminal screws or stab-in connections, or loose wires. To fix any of these, make sure you turn off the main breaker and all power is off.

Check loose wires

You can figure this out by bending the wires as the terminal screws to see if they come loose. Also, look out for any burnt or corroded wires as this could also be the problem.

Install a new outlet

If you find any loose connections at the outlet, it is best to replace it with a new one. Bend a loop in all 3 wires, and then connect the black to the brass screw, the white wire to the silver screw, and the ground wire to the green ground screw. Connect each end of the pigtail to the appropriate screw.

Check stab-in connectors

Tug each wire to see if they come loose. If so, cut and strip the end of the wire, and connect it to the screw terminal on the side of the outlet. Or, you can cut and strip all wires and connect them to a completely new outlet.

Check wire connectors

Like the previous, tug the wires at the connector. One by one, you will determine which is loose and which is not. If none are loose, try checking the other outlets in the room or area, like the ones you marked off. If there are loose wires, strip them to reveal ½ to ¾ an inch of the wire.

Reinstall the connector

Gather all ends of the wire, and make sure they’re lined up. Twist them onto the new connector, clockwise. Match up the connector to the wires by checking the label on the package the connector came in. After this, switch the main circuit and power back on.

Contact a Professional for Electrical Needs

If you are still dealing with dead outlets after all these steps or do not feel comfortable/safe performing some of the tips, it is time to call in a professional. A licensed electrician will be able to detect what steps to take and how to figure out the problem, while taking caution when it comes to electrical safety. Contact Arnold Electrical Services today for any dead outlets, or other wiring or service needs!

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