Why Your Electrical Outlet isn’t Working and What to do About it

why your electrical outlet isn’t working and what to do about it

Anywhere you might be at home, or at work, you will most likely have encountered broken electrical outlets a few times. But solving the problem can be easy if you can figure out the causes. While you might want to call an electrician immediately, you can resolve some of the issues independently.

Common Causes of Faulty Electric Outlet and Solutions

Since diagnosing the problem is the first step to solving the problem, here are some significant causes of broken electric outlets you should look out for.

Cut Off Circuit Breaker

If your circuit has a breaker that cuts off the flow of electricity to prevent damage, that might be the issue with your outlet. When too much electric current flows through the circuit, the circuit breaker cuts off the flow of electricity to prevent overheating.

If this is the cause, you can easily turn the circuit back on from the circuit breaker panel. When the breaker cuts off the flow of electricity, the switch will be between the on and off position. Turn the switch back on. 

Worn Out Outlets

Outlets also have an expiration date. So, after a while, it might begin to malfunction. So, if your outlet is old and not functioning as it should, it is time to get a level 2 electrician to replace it.

Burned Out Outlet

It might burn out if you overload your electrical outlet with heavy appliances. A burnt-out outlet is dangerous as it can cause burns if you touch it or cause a fire if you do not deal with it on time.

So, if you smell burning wires, hear sizzling sounds, or see scorch marks, switch off the circuit and do not touch it until professional help is present.

Home fires cause close to 500 deaths and 1400 injuries every year. In case of an electrical fire, call 911 and evacuate the room.

Loose or Faulty Wiring

If there is a loose or faulty wiring connection, the electrical outlet might work for a while before the wire finally trips off and stops working. Other outlets on the same circuit might also stop working due to the cut in connection.

You will need to reattach or change the faulty wiring, after which all other electrical outlets that stopped working will come back on.

Tripped GFCI Outlet

The  Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters are usually in wet places like the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry, to prevent electric shocks when you contact the outlet. The GFCI shuts off when there is an electric short in the circuits.

After confirming the issue is a tripped GFCI, check to see if moisture is around the outlet. Afterward, click on the reset button to turn on the outlets.


A faulty electrical outlet can be due to many reasons, and while you can take care of some by yourself, you will need the help of a professional for others. While trying to diagnose the problem, switch off all connections to prevent electric shock or fire. To be safe and get the best result, contact a qualified electrician to help.

Mick Pacholli

Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.        

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