This is usually caused by one of three things.

  1. There could be too many electrical items plugged into the circuit; circuits are designed to only handle so much electric demand.
  2. There could be a short in the wiring.
  3. The breaker or fuse could be faulty.

It is always recommended to have a certified electrician evaluate the problem to ensure there are no safety issues. Your electrician can also talk with you about adding more circuits to your home so that your electrical system can support all your needs.

Tripped breakers can be a nuisance. When one trips, the entire electrical circuit will not work, meaning any electrical appliances or devices plugged in on that circuit will also not work. To fix it:

  1. Locate your circuit breaker panel– usually found in the basement, garage, or closet.
  2. Locate the tripped breaker. A tripped breaker is indicated by a breaker that is switched to the “off” position (not aligned with all the other breakers) and usually displays a red or orange color.
  3. Reset the breaker by flipping it to the “off” position. Then, switch the breaker to the “on” position (you should hear a clicking or snapping noise when it is properly in place).

If this does not solve the problem, call a certified electrician to troubleshoot the issue.

A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt) outlet is an outlet receptacle designed to protect you from electrical shock when moisture is present. If your house was built in or after 1981, there is a good chance that your kitchen, bathrooms, garage, and outdoor outlets are protected by GFCI outlets. You can identify a GFCI outlet by the two buttons on the face of the outlet. One button will say “test,” the other says “reset.” The “test” button will cause the GFCI outlet to trip (or turn off), and the “Reset” button will reset (or turn on) the GFCI outlet if it has tripped. If the outlet does not reset when the “reset” button is depressed, there may be a problem.

A lot of people overlook wall switches—particularly if they’ve just moved into a new home. If you have outlets that don’t work, try this simple test:

  1. Plug a lamp into a working outlet and unplug it with the switch still on.
  2. Then plug it into the outlet that isn’t working.
  3. Look for wall switches in the room (there may be more than one). Try turning each wall switch on. You may find the answer to your problem!

If there are no wall switches, try all the other outlets in the room, and if there’s no tripped circuit in your breaker box, you may need to have an electrician check to see if there’s a short somewhere in the system.

A “short” or “short circuit” happens when the “hot” wire (the wire carrying the electrical current, most commonly the “black” wire) comes into contact with either the grounded conductor (also called the neutral, most commonly the “white” wire) or the equipment ground (the “bare copper” wire or “green” wire). When a short circuit occurs, excessive heat is generated. A short circuit that occurs in your home will generate heat and sparks if left unchecked. Thankfully, the circuit breakers in your electrical panel will cut power to the circuit in the event of a short circuit.

If you think there is a short in your electrical wiring, call and electrician.

Changing a bulb or fixing a tripped breaker is an easy fix for many homeowners. Beyond this, DIY electrical work can be very dangerous — you risk personal injury, electrical fire, or even death. If you have an electrical problem, we recommend calling a certified electrician to diagnose and repair the issue.