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Dead Outlet? Here’s What to Do About It

Posted on: August 3, 2017

Tired of fighting with an outlet that can’t seem to keep its act together? We know just how maddening that can be! Today the experts at Kolb Electric are here to talk to you about how to troubleshoot and handle a dead outlet, and when it’s time to call in the specialists.

Need electrical repair or replacement specialists in your Maryland or Virginia home? Contact Kolb Electric for guaranteed service!

The Basics of Dead Outlet Troubleshooting

Like any good troubleshoot or simple diagnosis session, we’ll begin with the quick and easy stuff first.

Look for Obvious Signs of Serious Electrical Issues

First up we’ll want to ensure there aren’t any immediately pressing or dangerous concerns, which is easy enough to spot if you know what you’re looking for:

  • Is the outlet burned, discolored, or melted?
  • Are nearby appliances working properly?
  • Is the outlet sparking when you plug things into it?
  • Are there any strange odors in the room?

If you answered yes to any of these then you should immediately shut off the circuit if it is safe to do so (at the panel) and call in for an electrician. Not only is that outlet dead, it could stand to kill a whole lot more of your home’s electrical, and could even cause an electrical fire in your home.

Find Out if It’s Actually the Outlet

You most certainly do not want to call in an electrician and shell out for service if the problem wasn’t even with the outlet in the first place! Before you do any real sleuthing you’ll want to check these things:

  1. Try plugging in another appliance. Drag over a lamp or other small device that you’re 100% certain is i working order and plug it into the affronting outlet. If the appliance works fine, then the fault isn’t with the outlet, but with the appliance you were trying to use.
  2. Check the breaker panel. In most cases when a breaker trip occurs it will kill all of the outlets on that circuit, usually cutting off lights and other active outlets in the room or section of the home. However if the outlet you’re trying to use is dedicated, as would be the case with a microwave or oven outlet, or even a fridge, then it’s on its own breaker. Check to see if that tripped, and if it did, give it a reset.

Check Your Home GFCIs

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets are used in areas where the outlet might be exposed to moisture. That means kitchens, bathrooms, utility spaces, outdoors. These outlets have the ability to kick themselves off if a problem occurs, and when they do they shut down the entire circuit they’re associated with. Check all of the GFCIs in your home to see if they’ve tripped (The “reset” button will be poking out more than usual) and if they have go ahead and reset them.

Outlet Wiring & Repair Services in MD, VA & DC

Still not finding the solution you’re looking for? If so then unfortunately the issue is most likely with the outlet wiring, which will require an electrician. Our specialists have tons of experience, and with our fast, friendly service on your side things will be back in order and working safely in no time!

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