Common Outlet Problems & What May Need To Be Done To Fix It
Having problems with one or more outlets in your house? While some issues are pretty normal, like an occasional spark from an electrical outlet, other problems can be serious. If an outlet goes completely dead, you can’t plug anything into it, or the outlet trips all the time, usually it is a simple fix to replace the outlet. The best advice you could get is not to ignore the problem.
The following information covers the possible causes of electrical outlet malfunction and what may need to be done to fix it. If you need the help of a Baton Rouge electrical contractor, Braud Electric is always on hand for emergency repair service.
If there is no power to the outlet no matter what you try to plug in, check the main breaker panel of the house for a tripped breaker. This means that a temporary overload has affected the circuit. Sometimes the cause is a loose wire in the electrical box of the outlet.
Reset the breaker and see if it’s working. If that wasn’t the problem, the other outlets in the home need to be checked because there may be a short or overload from one of them. Write down where the dead outlets are so you keep track of their locations so you can give the info to your electrical contractor. They will need to check the connections to the outlet. A loose connection will create extra heat that can lead to outlet damage, electric shock, and fire.
Outlet Blocks Cord Plugs
Sometimes it will feel squishy when you try to plug something into an outlet. Other times an outlet seems blocked by something.
If something seems to be blocking the outlet, don’t try to keep jamming it in. There is likely something stuck inside that should not be there. It’s common for some sockets to have protective shutters that lie across the holes. If damaged, they can fail to move as the prongs are inserted. Some outlets are tamper proof or have safety features so children can’t stick things in. Even standard outlets can break apart inside and get jammed with a broken piece.
First, check the prongs of the plug to make sure they are not bent. If they are, plus something else into the outlet to make sure it works. If the appliance plug was not bent and your outlet won’t accept a plug, replace it because it is not working right. Contact your local electrical contractor for help.
Popping Or Sparking When Inserting Plug Into Outlet
If an outlet sparks or pops every time you plug something in, it could be a serious problem. Sparks are normally caused by wear. If it’s worn, the outlet will need to be replaced. The wire insulation may have been melted.
Outlets can spark if water shorts it out. This outlet should be a GFCI outlet rather than a standard outlet, so it should be replaced by an electrical contractor. But first, be sure to test the outlet by plugging another appliance in because it may just be a frayed appliance cord.
GFCI Outlet Trips Breaker A lot
GFCI outlets trip for various reasons, but they should never trip all the time. A GFCI can wear just like a regular outlet will, but it can wear faster.
If you constantly have to reset the button, the worn GFCI outlet isn’t adjusting correctly to the electrical current variations as it should. If you use a hair dryer or portable heater in that outlet and it trips the breaker, replacing the outlet should solve the problem.
Another possible cause is when the black and white wire makes contact with the bare ground. An ohmmeter will need to be used to check if there is a leak in the circuit. A similar problem is when the connection of the outlet is not firmly connected where it joins the rest of the GFCI outlets in the house. This is likely caused by improper installation. An electrical contractor will need to test the outlet.