Electric sockets always stop working at the worst moment. It is a good job if only one plug went bad, but what are you supposed to do if none of the sockets show any signs of electricity? Worry not, this article will help you identify why your plug socket is not working and what measures you should take to fix it.
First things first, you need to examine the area where the socket is located. Don’t worry, you won’t have to shatter the wall to get access to the wires. We will be working with what we have and can do without an electrician. Simply follow these steps:
Examine the socket for any damages. If you see any discolouration, melting, or breakage, you might need to change the plug socket.
Plug a known-to-work appliance in the faulty socket. This is done in order to eliminate the chances of the previously plugged in appliance being at fault. If this is not the case, move on to the next step.
Examine the rest of the sockets. This step will give you a clue if the problem is in one particular socket or the whole area. To be completely sure where the fault is coming from, check the electricity in every room.
Check if the lights are working. You might notice that there is no power to sockets but the lights are working. In this case, the problem is most likely in the wiring.
Have a look at the consumer unit or fusebox. Plug all of the previously used appliances out of the faulty plug socket and take a look at the consumer unit. Depending on your house, you can have a circuit breaker or a screw-in fuse panel. Look for any tripped breakers or a blown fuse. If something has overloaded the circuit, then the breaker handles will not be in line. In case you find a blown fuse, you need to replace it with a new one.
Reset the breakers. If the problem is in the breakers, simply reset them. Pull the tripped handles up. But remember, before doing that you have to unplug all the appliances in the area that the breaker is responsible for. If the breaker returns to the same position, it means that something in the wiring is causing an overload.
Check the faulty socket thoroughly
Once you have checked your consumer unit, you might have identified that the problem comes from the socket itself. In this situation, you need to check the wiring of the socket.
Before starting the examination, turn off the power in the electrical socket by switching off the breakers or removing the circuit fuse!
Unscrew the plug socket. Remove the retaining screws, the wires should be revealed as you lift the socket out of the wall. Inspect the inside of the cover panel as well. Be careful not to snatch the wires out of the socket.
Check the wiring order. The order of the wires should comply with the terminal labelling on the back of the socket – brown for Live (L), blue for Neutral (N), and green and yellow striped for Earth (E). If your building was wired before 2006, the wiring colours might vary: instead of brown wires, you might see red, and the blue ones might be black. If you notice any of them are detached, open the necessary terminal screw and secure the wire.
Inspect the wires. If the order is correct, then the problem might be in the wires themselves. Have a look at them. Do the connections seem loose? If not, detach the wires from the cover. Simply loosen the terminal screw and pull the wires. The metal wiring inside the cables shouldn’t be frayed or damaged. If it is, then cut a little piece of the cord with side cutters and clear around 5 mm of the sleeving off. Put the wires back in order.
Install the electrical outlet. Place the socket back the way you removed it. Once you screw it in, turn the electricity back on. Does the socket work? If it doesn’t, then the problem is more serious and requires a professional solution.
What if the fuse isn’t tripped?
If your fuse box doesn’t show any signs of tripping and the socket looks flawless, then the problem might be in the circuit.
In the UK, the majority of houses have a ring main wiring technique. This means that wiring starts at the consumer unit, continues throughout the sockets or fused connection units, and eventually terminates at the same consumer unit. So, if the problem has occurred somewhere in the circuit, the electricity won’t reach some of the accessories.
When a fault like that happens, it is called an open circuit. The power leaves a consumer unit, but due to disturbance in the wiring, it doesn’t arrive at the socket. Therefore, you might have all sockets working except for one. In this situation, the faulty wire needs a replacement.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to identify the problem without an electrical tester. Even if you manage to take the right measurement, there are certain regulations related to domestic electrical works. In the UK, they are controlled by Part P of the Building Regulations.
These instructions divide the work into two categories: minor and notifiable works. Minor works include common household tasks such as replacement of lightbulbs, electric outlets, control switches, or light fittings. On the other hand, notifiable work should be carried out only with permission from local authorities or, alternatively, by a certified specialist.
All wiring repairs fall into the notifiable category and should be conducted only by a licenced electrician! Poor electrical workmanship can become a threat to public safety!
Need a hand with a faulty socket?
Sometimes, it’s hard to identify a problem without special knowledge on a matter. Especially when it comes to electrical issues. Repairs that are non-compliant with safety regulations can result in fires and pose health risks to the people around you.
The best you can do in this situation is to get the job done by someone else. And not just by “someone” but a professional in the field. Trust this job to Fantastic Services! The expert electricians we work with are fully insured and equipped to carry out the tasks, following all safety regulations. What are you waiting for? Schedule your electrical job, today!
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Don’t perform any electrical work with the electricity on!
If you suspect the socket to be at fault, then search for visible signs like melting, blackening, or cracks on the plastic cover;
Lack of electricity in other sockets and switches can give you a clue if the problem is located in a specific accessory or the whole area;
An overloaded circuit causes the breakers to trip and shut off the power;
Damaged cables can be the reason why your socket is not working;
If the socket conditions and the electrical box don’t show any signs of damage, then the problem is in the wiring and requires professional help.
Did you find this article helpful? Or maybe you have something to ask? Don’t hesitate to ask for an expert opinion in the comment section down below.