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Before you start ripping walls apart to discover why a socket has stopped working you should verify that the power is still on. Although power cuts are rare they do still occur. If you’ve not been doing anything else it’s possible you’re plugging something in and the power is simply out.
It’s certainly worth checking before you call your local and reputable electrician to get a non-existent problem fixed!
Of course, in most cases, there is an issue and it’s a good idea to let the professionals handle it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an idea regarding what is wrong.
Your socket may have been overloaded or have bad wiring causing your circuit breaker to trip. This should be the first thing you check. If the breaker has tripped you’ll want to reset it. Make sure nothing is plugged into the circuit. Should the breaker trip again straight away you probably have a faulty breaker and need to have it replaced.
If it doesn’t plug the items back in and see which one causes the breaker to trip. Repeat the exercise, if it’s the same appliance then you have a problem with that appliance.
Equally, if it trips with a different appliance you may be overloading the circuit. Check how many things you have plugged in and move some of them.
If the circuit breaker appears to be fine but is tripping despite the circuit not being overloaded, you may have a problem with the wiring. You can remove the socket cover to assess the condition of the cables. This can help you identify an issue.
You should look for cables that are disconnected. There should be a live, neutral, and ground and they should all be connected in the right spot. If they are not you’ll want to reconnect them. But, make sure the power is off before you do anything.
At this point, you really should get a professional in to test the cables and find any issues. Replacing cables inside walls can be a difficult process. A professional should be able to do this without damaging your walls.
The most likely issue is a short circuit in the cable. The outer sheath can be damaged through age or by rodents, leaving wires exposed. This increases the likelihood of short circuits and fires.
You’ll probably have noticed an electrical burning odor or discoloration on the sockets. These need to be replaced promptly and you should avoid using the circuit while waiting for it to be repaired.
It is possible that you have an issue with a GCFI, these are the devices that shut circuits off it water is detected, preventing the two compounds from missing and causing you issues. If the GCFI unit is faulty then you’re power may be off at specific sockets despite there being no faults.
There are other issues that can cause a socket to stop working but if it’s none of the above then you probably need expert help to resolve the issue.