Receptacle Not Working

By | May 8, 2021



How to Fix a Receptacle Not Working


The times when you walked into a room, flipped the switch and nothing happened, are far too common. When a wall receptacle stops working, it can be frustrating and sometimes even surprising. The good news is that with a few steps, you can usually figure out and fix the problem. Identify the cause of the issue before attempting any repairs, so you know what you’re dealing with and that you’re taking the right steps to resolve it.

Investigating the Problem


To start, take a look at the plug and the receptacle itself. Make sure the plug is securely in the wall and that both it and the receptacle aren't showing any signs of wear. If either one looks damaged or worn down, try replacing them. If the plug and receptacle both look fine, check the wiring in and around the receptacle itself. Make sure all of the wires and connections are secure and there is no corrosion or loose wire insulation. If you notice any of these issues, contact a professional electrician.

Understanding Circuit Breakers


Before you pay for any professional repairs, investigate your circuit breaker box. It’s possible that your circuit breaker has tripped or could have otherwise been turned off and forgotten. To reset the circuit, look for a switch or a series of switches with the words “On/Off”. Flip the switch and the problem might be solved. If it’s not, look for a black switch with a red arc through it. This is the breaker responsible for that particular outlet. Flip the switch back and forth to reset it, then check the outlet again.

GFCI Receptacle


You might also have a GFCI receptacle installed in the wall. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and these are typically used in bathrooms and kitchens to protect against shock hazards. This is a great safety measure for households, but unfortunately the GFCI’s are known to trip from time to time and will require resetting. Look for a white button on the side of the receptacle labeled “Test” or “Reset”. Push that button and if the light in the center turns green, your outlet should work. If not, that means there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed by a professional.

Hiring a Professional


If none of the above solutions worked, it’s time to consider hiring a professional electrician. This isn’t the only time you'll need to call one, either. All major electrical repairs should be handled by a licensed and experienced professional. This will help you save money over time and reduce the risk of injury. Additionally, consulting a professional can help you better understand the risks associated with your particular electrical problem.

Ultimately, recognizing a receptacle not working and finding the right solution depends on the comfort level of the homeowner. For less serious problems, DIY solutions such as troubleshooting and resetting the breaker may do the trick. But for more complex matters, having a professional come in and diagnose the root of the problem is the safest and most efficient way to go.


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