Outage Flowchart

Diagnostic Flowchart For Home Electrical Outages

The chart below is not meant for every kind of electrical problem, just an outage that does not seem to be due to a tripped circuit breaker. If you know that the cause of your electrical outage is a circuit breaker or GFCI outlet tripping, the main Diagnostic Tree will be more helpful, as it will for an outage you have had in the past that is not currently happening. That Tree is also where shocks and flickering, dimming, or brightening lights are dealt with.

When outlets and lights in your home are not working, this is often due to a poor wire connection somewhere on the circuit. It is called an "open." To determine whether your problem is an open, and to find the location where a loose wire may need repair, follow this Diagnostic Flowchart. (If you are a more step-by-step person, you can go through the same process using the Yes/No diagnostic pages.)

If your screen is too small to read the text in the flowchart below, try downloading the PDF Version or viewing the Full Page Image.

Chart for diagnosing household electrical outage

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"Last night I used what I learned from your site to diagnose and fix a multiple switch, fixture and outlet problem I was having on a house I am about to sell. It turns out, one of the nearby working outlets in the room had a loose backstab wire. I followed your directions to plug in a light in one of the failing outlets and then jostling wires in each working outlet until I found the one that was not working. Thanks for saving me a load of money!" -Lou

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