We don't know how important electrical outlets are until the power in our homes goes off. When one outlet is not working while there seems to be no problem with the other outlets in the house, you could have a dead outlet. 

A dead outlet isn't only annoying, but it also is a fire risk. That's why it's recommended that you seek the help of professional help to fix a dead outlet, especially if you stay in older homes that haven't been rewired in years. 

According to the national residential electrical codes, it is mandatory to install a GFCI or GFI (ground fault interrupter) outlet if the area where the electrical appliance is deriving the power source is exposed to the risk of shorting or electric shocks, such as bathrooms and kitchens. 

The GFCI has an internal breaker that trips and stops the power supply to the outlet if the circuit is shorted or overloaded, thus protecting the house from electrical hazards. Once the outlet's breaker trips, it needs to be reset in order to restore the power supply. If the GFCI outlet won't rest, it could indicate a number of things, such as

  • Power not reaching the GFCI
  • Failed GFCI outlet
  • A ground fault occurring at a regular outlet that's not working, or somewhere downstream of the GFI or GFCI.

Troubleshooting the GFCI Outlets and Other Dead outlets

  1. Check if the other outlets are dead

    Check if the other outlets are dead

    Before you decide to examine the circuit breakers, check if other outlets in the home are working.

    Switch the lights on and off. Use a voltage tester to test if power is flowing through other nearby outlets.

    Unplug the appliances from the dead outlets. This step will help eliminate the possibility that overload or short from one of the outlets is the cause of the problem.

    Mark the location of the dead outlets with masking tape so that it is easy for you to locate them once you’ve turned the power off.

  2. Check for the tripped circuit or a blown fuse

    Check for the tripped circuit or a blown fuse

    Now, head for the circuit breakers. You’ll find them in the main electrical panel. This panel is generally found near the area where the electrical wires enter the house. Some common locations of electrical panels are laundry rooms, garages, and basements. Once you locate the panel, open it. You’ll see the circuit breakers or fuses. If the circuit breaker is tripped, reset it. If the fuse is blown, replace it.

  3. Check the GFCIs

    GFCI Outlet

    The GFCI (short for “ground fault circuit interrupter”) outlets are mandatory in the areas of the house where the risk of electrical shocks is the greatest. If the GFCIs sense leaks in the electric current, it immediately trips and shuts off the power.

    Look for the GFCIs outlets in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, basements, etc. Find all the GFCIs in your home and then test and reset them. If the GFCI won’t reset, it could be because there is no power supply to the GFCI, or the GFCI may have gone bad.

    Note: If the GFCI trips every time you reset it, then there may be a dangerous current leak somewhere in the circuit. In that case, you may want to seek help from an electrician.

  4. Assess the problem through these symptoms:

    • If the reset button doesn't pop out when you press the 'test' button, it could mean that the button was not pushed in enough for the current to reach the unit, or you have a defective GFCI.
    • If the reset button pops out when you turn something on, the downstream ground fault could be the reason or GFCI could have been wired incorrectly.
    • If the reset doesn't stay in, there could be a ground fault downstream of the GFCI, or it may have been miswired. 
    • If the reset button is out, but the plugged-in devices work, there could be a reversed line and load. In rare cases, the circuit interrupter could be defective.
    • If the reset button is in, but the plugged-in devices don't work, then the GFCI could be miswired, is defective, or not receiving the current.
  5. Look for loose or bad connections

    Look for loose or bad connections

    Take hold of the wire connector and then tug each wire to look for a loose connection. If you find a loose wire, take off the wire connector. Cut all the wires in the connector and then strip them to expose 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch of fresh copper wire.

    Note: Read the instructions on the wire connector container to determine the exact stripping length.

    If there are no loose connections in the connector box, search the other outlets in the vicinity. Start with the ones you marked earlier with masking tape.

    Note: Turn off the main circuit breaker when you’re checking for loose connections.

  6. Reinstall the connector

    Gather the wires while ensuring that their ends are lined up and then twist them clockwise onto a new wire connector. Read the label on the wire connector package to match the connector to the number of wires. Switch on the main circuit breaker and test whether your problem is solved. Now, if you still haven’t been able to solve the dead outlet problem, it’s time to call an electrician.

    If you are in need of any electrical outlets and GFCIs, contact D&F Liquidators at 800-458-9600. We have a large inventory of reliable electrical supplies, circuit breakers, and safety switches from top brands at competitive rates.