Surprise! Your outlet doesn’t work. Homeowners usually get taken off guard when one outlet in their house doesn’t work while all the others do. Sometimes it can be a lamp or appliance that is the problem and not the outlet. Follow the tips below to determine why the outlet is dead.

  • Check the Appliance – Is your favorite hair dryer or lamp not working? First, try plugging it into a different outlet. If the appliance works, the outlet it was originally plugged into is dead.
  • Flip the Switch – Some outlets are hooked up to a switch. Sometimes this switch accidentally gets turned off by family members or visitors. Make sure the switch that controls the outlet is on then test the appliance again.
  • Check the GFCI – Outlets that are located near water or moisture have ground fault circuit interrupters, also known as GFCIs. In case you are not familiar with it. The GFCI outlets have two buttons located in the middle of the outlet. One button is labeled “reset” and the other button says “test.” Most GFCI outlets are located on the patio, garage, kitchen and bathroom. Make sure the reset button is pushed in at all times. If the reset button is sticking out, push it in to resolve the issue. If it still doesn’t work, check all of the GFCI outlets in your home because it could be connected. Make sure all of the reset buttons are pushed inward to see if solves the issue.
  • Check the Breakers – If you have already tried the suggestions listed above and the outlet is still dead, it’s time to check the breakers. Locate your service panel and open it carefully. The breaker switches are usually in the “on” position. Tripped breakers will appear in between the off and on position. If this is the case you will need to flip the breaker switch to the “off” position, then to the “on” position. Afterward, check the dead outlet by trying to turn on a lamp or appliance.
  • Make Sure It’s Plugged In – This step might sound a bit obvious, but there are times when family members unplug lamps and appliances to use the outlet to charge their cell phone. Double check to make sure the appliance is plugged into the outlet.
If you have already tried all of the tips above and your outlet is still dead, it could be related to a more serious situation. Contact a licensed electrician for further assistance. Never try to fix electrical outlets or service boxes on your own. It can lead to serious injury and electrocution.