Why Are My Electrical Outlets Not Working

Before you call an electrician and get charged a service fee, do some investigating on your own.  First, go to your breaker box and see if any breakers are tripped.  If they are, simply switch them to the “on” position and see if this fixes the problem.  Sometimes the circuit breaker is tripped even if it looks like it isn’t, so I would turn them all off and then back on.  If that doesn’t fix the problem, go and check all of your GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) outlets and see if any of them are tripped.  Look for  a “Test” or “Reset” button and push it.  (see picture to the left)  I know this sounds really simple, but you would be amazed at the amount of people that I talk to that have had to pay an electrician to come out to their home and simply press the reset button.  If this doesn’t solve the problem, you are going to have call an electrician to diagnose the problem.  It could be that the plug just went bad and needs to be replaced.  If you don’t have an electrician, go to the Better Business Bureau website and get some recommendations.

What is a GFCI Outlet?

A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet is a device that adds a greater level of safety by reducing the risk of electric shock. Most building codes now require that a GFCI outlet be used in wet locations such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and outdoors. If any contractor tells you that they are not required, I would call my local city government and make sure.   Also make sure that the proper building or electrical permits are pulled for your remodeling or construction work on your home.  We do tons of remodeling in San Antonio and building codes require us to install new GFCI outelts for new room additions and kitchen remodels.  If you are doing any kind of home remodeling, make sure your builder or contractor is installing GFCI outlets. GFCI or GFI outlets (as they are sometime referred to) should be tested periodically, at least once a year. A GFCI outlet has a “Test” and a “Reset” button. Pressing the “Test” button will trip the outlet and break the circuit. Pressing the “Reset” will restore the circuit. If pressing the test button does not work, then replace the GFCI outlet. If the outlet does pop when you press the “Test” button, but the outlet still has power, the outlet is wired improperly. A miswired outlet is dangerous and it should be fixed immediately.  They can cause fires and are a hazard that can be easily avoided.