Electrical Outlets Not Working

Common Wall Outlet Problems

  1. Appliance in outlet does not work
  2. Fuse blows or breaker trips when plugging in or turning on appliance
  3. Appliance plug falls out easily
  4. Appliance runs intermittently or lamp flickers
  5. Sparks or mild shock when plugging in appliance
  6. Outlet does not deliver power (switch-controlled outlet)
  7. Only one receptacle in duplex works (split-circuit duplex outlet)
  8. GFCI outlet trips constantly

Appliance in outlet does not work

Possible CauseProcedure
Appliance faultyCheck appliance
No power to outletReplace fuse or reset circuit breaker
Outlet connections looseService connections
Outlet faulty Replace outlet

Fuse blows or breaker trips when plugging in or turning on appliance

Possible CauseProcedure
Circuit overloadedMove appliance to another circuit
Appliance faultyCheck appliance
Short circuit in wiring systemCheck boxes along circuit

Appliance plug falls out easily

Possible CauseProcedure
Appliance plug faultyService appliance plug
Outlet wornTest outlet with reliable plug
If plug falls out, replace outlet

Appliance runs intermittently or lamp flickers

Possible CauseProcedure
Appliance or lamp faultyCheck appliance
Outlet connections looseCheck connections

Sparks or mild shock when plugging in appliance

Possible CauseProcedure
Appliance is turned onTurn off appliance before plugging it in
Finger contacting plug prongsHold plug by insulation
Appliance faultyCheck appliance
Outlet connections looseService connections

Outlet does not deliver power (switch-controlled outlet)

Possible CauseProcedure
Wall switch faultyCheck wall switch

Only one receptacle in duplex works (split-circuit duplex outlet)

Possible CauseProcedure
Outlet connections looseService connections

GFCI outlet trips constantly

Possible CauseProcedure
Appliance faultyCheck appliance
Outlet connections looseService connections
GFCI faultyReplace outlet
Faulty wiring on same circuitCheck wiring in boxes along the circuit

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