Outlets are wired into your home to make it convenient to plug in anything from an appliance to a lamp. However, an electrical fault can endanger your home. It’s not a good idea to have 19 different appliances plugged into a single outlet. This can cause a short circuit; not to mention the maze of cords running through the room aren’t safe for family and pets.
When one of these outlets doesn’t work however, it’s more than just a nuisance. A non-functioning outlet can be a sign of trouble within your home’s electrical system. It’s something that should be remedied sooner rather than later.
Fixing an electrical fault in your home can range from a complex job of rewiring the outlet. Yet, it can also be something literally as simple as flipping a switch. Here is how to know if you have an electrical fault and the best course of action to get it repaired.
Use the Process of Elimination First
It’s almost pointless to just assume that an outlet or wiring needs replacing when it first starts to malfunction. After all, with an appliance such as a lamp it may just be a bulb that’s burned out. Below are some troubleshooting tips. First of all, make sure the problem is not with the appliance instead of your residential electrical system, then follow these suggestions:
- Change light bulbs in lamps
- Replace fuses in other electrical appliances
- Try plugging the appliance into another outlet on a different floor
- Plug in a different appliance to see if it has power
Once you’ve determined the possible electrical fault is within the wiring and not the outlet, you can start to narrow in your troubleshooting.
Common Circuit Repairs
If an outlet doesn’t work, it most often means there’s a problem with the electrical circuit. There are two very easy solutions to try regarding the circuit.
The easiest troubleshooting method to try is flipping the circuit breaker. Current surges can cause the breaker to trip as a safety precaution. If multiple outlets on a circuit do not work, it is highly likely that the breaker has flipped.
Sometimes simply turning back on the breaker does not restore power to the malfunctioning outlet. In this case the fuse on the breaker may have gone bad. Replace the fuse and see if that restores power to the faulty outlet.
Faults in Wall or Ceiling Lights
Sometimes electrical faults in your system can cause a ceiling light or fan to stop working. After identifying that a bad bulb is not the culprit, you should turn off the power and inspect the light fixture itself. Check the cable and flex connections and make sure the terminal screws are tight. Use a continuity tester to make sure the flex hasn’t gone bad requiring a replacement.
Lights, fans, and other fixtures can also stop working because a residual current device has tripped. You can reset the device but if it trips again it’s best to call in a certified electrician.
Professional Assistance for an Electrical Fault
If you are still experiencing problems after doing these simple troubleshooting tasks, it’s always best to call in a trained electrician. Outlets or lights that are malfunctioning could be caused by exposed wires somewhere in your electrical system. If your circuit breaker continually trips, it means the current in your home is not cycling as it’s intended. Either way, it’s much safer to have these issues repaired by a good electrician.