When it comes to problems with your house, they rarely seem to happen at a convenient moment. The plumbing will stop working when you're about to host the neighborhood BBQ. The heating seems to go out on the coldest day in the winter. Or the electricity will have issues when you need it most.
Additionally, problems with your home's electrical system seem to compound. But did you know a bad outlet in your home may actually cause your other outlets to not work as well? In fact, it’s likely an issue with how your home is wired.
Series Wires (Daisy Chaining)
While not especially common in our beautiful home of Montana, some building contractors will daisy-chain electrical outlets. Daisy-chaining electrical outlets means that each outlet is connected in a series. When they're connected in a series, if one breaks down that means that the rest of the connected power outlets will no longer work either.
When it comes to a bad outlet in a series, electricians use a special tool to find the exact outlet that’s causing the outage and repair it quickly.
When they say that a bad outlet can cause the other outlets to not work, that usually refers to the normal outlet that you use every day to plug in your devices.
However, the reason the other outlets aren’t working may actually be linked to another type of outlet -- a GFCI outlet. A GFCI outlet is a “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.” GFCIs are essentially like a circuit breaker that will shut off the power directly at your wall outlet when the GFCI detects a shortage or a surge. If you live in areas with a lot of humidity and moisture, or your home is just prone to water damage, GFCI outlets can lower your risk of electrical fires.
Electricians generally don't hook a GFCI outlet to a single standard outlet. They will likely connect many of your standard outlets along a wall to a GFCI outlet. Furthermore, if a single outlet on that wall is surging or is exposed to water, the GFCI outlet will disconnect power to all the outlets connected to it.
A GFCI outlet will often have a reset button and a test button. The outlets that are connected to that GFCI outlet or causing other electrical issues in that room can be reset on the GFCI outlet by tapping the reset button. If your GFCI outlet has worn out, it’s safest to have a professional electrician replace it.
Old House Circuit Breakers
In today's day and age, not all power outlets will be connected to the same circuit on a circuit breaker. There may be several circuit breakers to control different outlets and parts of your home. Older homes, on the other hand, were built in a time when we didn’t use nearly as much electricity. Many older homes have all of the electrical outlets in a room or an area of the home all connected on a single circuit breaker.
With old homes like this, a bad outlet may cause all of the other outlets in that room to stop working because it will trip the breaker.
If this is the case, we highly recommend speaking to a trustworthy and knowledgeable electrician about rewiring your home. Rewiring an old home like this will mean that you'll be updating your homes wires to the latest technology. This decreases your risk of house fires and even guarantees that you have enough power outlets and light switches.
Get Professional Help For Your Electrical Problems
Electrical problems should never be a DIY project. Replacing outlets, rewiring sections of wire, or other electrical projects should only be done by a licensed electrician. It’s very dangerous to try to fix your electrical system without professional help.
Electrical Services in the Flathead Valley
When it comes to bad outlets and electrical wires, hiring a licensed electrician is the safest way to solve the problem. Our certified electricians at Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical provide comprehensive electrical services such as inspections, installations, upgrades, rewires, and repairs.
Every member of our team arrives on time and treats your home with respect and care. Schedule an appointment online today, or call 406-756-6656.