Why Won’t My Electrical Outlets Work?

Posted On: June 27, 2017

When you plug in the vacuum, hair dryer, or toaster, you expect it to zoom into action to accomplish the task at hand. If it doesn’t work, your first instinct is probably to blame the appliance. Although some household appliances don’t have the greatest track record for longevity, sometimes a faulty electrical outlet is to blame.

If you discover you have one or more broken electrical outlets, your first line of inquiry should be to check your home’s breaker panel for a tripped breaker. If everything is OK, it’s time to call in a professional to find out what’s going on.

Why Are My Electrical Outlets Malfunctioning?

Electrical outlets don’t malfunction often, but it’s not a completely uncommon occurrence. There could be a variety of reasons your outlet won’t work. However, for safety’s sake, rely on a professional to diagnose the problem if you’re unfamiliar with electrical systems. Overlooking the smallest of precautions could end in serious injury.

The most likely reasons your outlets could be defective include:

  • Wear and tear on the outlet. An outlet has three metal contact points for hot, ground, and neutral connections. These connections will eventually loosen after years of use, resulting in the plug not making a tight connection with the metal contact points. When this occurs, resistance builds up and causes the outlet to overheat and trip the electric breaker. If this happens, an electrician will repair any damaged wiring and will inspect and replace the other outlets in your home to prevent this potential fire hazard from occurring.
  • Loose wiring. Similar to faulty connection points mentioned above, loose wiring on these connection points will also result in excessive heat buildup that can cause electrical arcing in the junction box. If this happens, you could notice burn marks around the outlet. Call a professional electrician immediately to replace the faulty wiring and inspect the rest of your home for similar problems.
  • Tripped GCFI outlets. Newer homes are outfitted with ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets that automatically shut off if they detect a short or get overheated. GFCI outlets are always located near water sources, so you will notice these special outlets in bathroom and kitchens. Often, other outlets on the circuit are connected to a GFCI outlet. If any of your outlets are not working, check these GFCI outlets and press the test and reset button. If the outlet fails to work properly after resetting the GFCI outlet or the GFCI continues to trip without an apparent reason, call an electrician to find out why.

Choose Top Notch for Electrical Services in Kansas City

Do you have broken electrical outlets in your Kansas City home? We’re here to help. Contact the professional electricians of Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today.

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