Louisville Homeowner Tips: Dead Plugs and GFIs

Louisville home buildersThis week’s Louisville homeowner tip touches on electrical outlets.

It has happened to most of us. We think our lamp has a broken light bulb so we replace it and it doesn’t work. Step one: never throw the bulb away until you test it in a lamp that is already working. Protect those fingers and let the bulb cool before removing it. Put the “suspicious” bulb in the lamp you know is working. If the bulb works there could be several possibilities.

1) The other lamp is broken.
This is usually not the case, but it is a possibility. Take a different lamp or hair dryer and plug it into the same wall socket and if your hair dryer turns on, you know you have a problem with your lamp. If the hair dryer doesn’t turn on you know you have a problem with your outlet. You can also take the “suspicious” lamp to a different outlet you know is working and try it there.

2) You think it’s the outlet. Is it a GFI?
Once you’ve determined the outlet is not working, check and see if the plug is a GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter). If your outlet is a GFI it has a surge protector built into it. There are typically two buttons on them, one to trip the default and one to reset it. The one that needs resetting is usually projected further out and needs to be pushed in to reset the outlet. If this fixes the problem, you saved a trip to the breaker panel.

3) It must be a breaker.
You’ve tried a new bulb, a new lamp, checked to see if it’s a GFI, and now you are at the panel. Step one would be visually check and see if there is a breaker tripped. If it is tripped, it will be offset a little bit and trying to push it into place you will feel the spring-like resistance. To reset your breaker, turn it off and then turn it back on. If you turn it completely off and and it will not turn back on, you should consult your builder or electrician. Ninety-nine times out of 100 this will fix the problem. If your breaker won’t reset you should always have an electrician look at it. Never work on an electrical panel yourself.

If you follow these three steps you will solve your problem most of the time. Stay tuned for some more homeowner tips coming soon.  Always feel free to call if you need some homeowner tips. We love to help.

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