Why Only Some Outlets Work and Others Don’t

Understanding the functionality of electricity and electric systems requires professional knowledge. If something goes wrong, it will be challenging to identify the cause of the problem unless you are a trained professional. For instance, the sockets may work in some areas and fail in others. Below is a detailed discussion of why this happens and what you can do about it.

Loose Connection

Your sockets could be affected by the wire connections. This means the wires have loosened or were installed incorrectly. This results in a gap between the circuit and the breaker. As a result, the appliance won’t work as electricity can’t run through them. Although loose wires appear like a minor inconvenience, they are a potential cause of a fire.

The open blades produce a lot of heat when they come into contact with some materials, resulting in fires that may cause loss of property. You may have an at-home tester to check the connection to see whether the plugged device is getting enough power. However, this isn’t the best option. Loose wiring can be resolved by changing the socket, which is best done by certified electricians from Davis & Green.

Incorrectly Installed Outlet

Correct placement of the electrical sockets during installation is critical for their functionality. An incorrect installation makes your day-to-day activities challenging because you will experience frequent tripping. An improper installation will also increase the odds of a house fire and electrocution. Also, there could be issues with improperly wired connections in the outlet.

That’s why socket installations should be done by experts. They have the skills to get the job done properly. Finding professional electricians will reduce safety concerns, save time and money, and ensure peace of mind.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

Circuits are essential in controlling the flow of electricity. When overloaded, they will trip. This provides extra electrical flow that may damage the socket, or worse cause a fire. To check whether the breaker is tripped, check its position. It may be in the “off” mode.

Alternatively, it could have slightly moved from the actual position. Resolving this issue is quite easy. You only need to turn the socket to the “on” position.

In addition to electrical overload issues, breaker tripping can result from loose connections. This happens rarely, though. If this is the case, contact a licensed electrician to handle the situation. Avoid DIY repairs because electrical issues require expertise that is not common knowledge.

Our electricians will assess the situation to identify the cause of tripping and see whether it happens repeatedly. If your breaker trips often, they will either repair or replace it.

Switched Outlets

Switched outlets are also known as half-hot plugs and are similar to normal sockets. However, they have a significant difference: they have two plugs. One is always powered, while the other controls the powered one. Usually, the bottom plug is controlled by a switch. These wall sockets are common in homes that do not have an overhead light.

Sometimes, the top socket may not function, while the lower one works normally. This shouldn’t raise an alarm. Look for a switch that controls the power, and plug a lamp into the socket that you think has problems. If it lights, everything is functioning well, and there’s nothing to worry about. If it doesn’t, contact a professional electrician.

Tripped GFCI Outlet

GFCI outlets are sockets that have reset buttons. It would be best if you installed them in places with higher risks of electrocution and other electrical hazards resulting from water getting into contact with the socket. Such areas include the kitchen and laundry room.

GFCI outlets will trip and shut off the power if they notice a leak in the electrical current. Leakage may result in electrocution. If the GFCI trips in one socket, it impacts the functioning of the other plugs in the same line. For instance, tripping in the laundry area may stop the functioning of the sockets in different rooms.

If this occurs, use the button on the socket to reset it and check whether the GFCI resets successfully. If it fails, the socket may not be getting enough power. Call one of our electricians to inspect the outlet and determine the problem.

Burnt-Out Outlet

Sockets burn out due to several reasons. For instance, arcing occurs when initially tight components of the socket become damaged and release sparks that lead to overheating. As a result, the plastic around the plug starts to melt since it cannot survive the excess heat.

Moreover, burning may occur if you have the wrong-sized wires in the socket. If they are small, they carry more electricity than they should, causing overheating. Additionally, it might happen when the circuit is overloaded or when multiple appliances are plugged in.

If the socket is burnt, you will smell a strong burning smell. In addition, burning affects the inside and outside of the outlet. You’ll observe blackened marks around the plug. Ignoring this is dangerous as it’s a fire hazard. Call an electrician to replace the wires immediately.

Short Circuit

Short-circuiting causes your breaker to trip. This, in turn, impacts the flow of electricity. Power will not flow in the circuited wires and will lead to one or more sockets not working.

Usually, it happens when a hot wire gets into contact with another wire in the fuse box. This produces high temperatures that may blow the box. After the fuse blows, you won’t receive power from the wall socket until an electrician replaces your fuse box.

Faulty Outlet or Appliance

The socket is probably faulty if it simply doesn’t work. At times, manufacturer errors occur, making the socket defective. This is quite rare, however. But if it happens, have an electrician replace the faulty socket as soon as possible.

Additionally, your appliance or electronic device could be why the socket is not working. This may happen if the device is faulty. Unplug it and check for defects like damage and the condition of its cord. If they are in perfect condition, try restarting them. Alternatively, move the portable appliance to other rooms and see if they work well there.

Old Outlets

Like other home appliances, sockets have a limited lifespan. Typically, a standard plug can last up to 15 years. Even if your old outlets are in good condition, they may be outdated in terms of safety features and electricity capacity and may fail to work efficiently. Keep an eye on the signs of an inefficient outlet.

Some signs include plugs falling out easily. You may also notice sparks from the socket. Changing the plugs is a good idea if you see these signs.

We are a professional company dedicated to quality home services. Founded in 1984, our business provides home comfort solutions to ensure your family is comfortable and safe throughout the year. We have a team of trained and experienced professionals who offer heating and cooling solutions, plumbing, and electrical services. Contact Davis & Green for electrical services in Richmond, VA.

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