We've all been there - you have that one outlet in your house that keeps tripping the circuit breaker or blowing fuses. It's annoying and disruptive. You call an electrician, but their rates are expensive and it will take days or weeks for them to come out. Is there a simple fix you can try yourself first? Yes there is! In this article, I'll walk you through some troubleshooting steps and repairs you can make to potentially fix that pesky outlet.

Understanding Why The Outlet Is Tripping The Breaker

Before trying to fix the issue, it's important to understand why that outlet may be causing problems. Here are some of the most common reasons an outlet can trip the breaker or blow fuses:

Faulty Wiring

If the outlet was not wired properly when it was installed, it can cause short circuits and current overloads that trip the breaker. Checking the wiring should be your first step (more details below).

Too Many Plugged In Devices

That outlet may just have too many high-power devices plugged into it, overloading the circuit. Try unplugging some devices and see if that fixes it.

Worn Out Outlet

Outlets do wear out over time. The contacts can corrode or loosen, causing resistance and shorts. Replacing the outlet may be needed.

Faulty Device Plugged In

If you have an older appliance or device plugged into that outlet, it could be malfunctioning and shorting out, blowing fuses each time it turns on. Try plugging devices into other outlets to isolate the problem device.

Moisture In The Outlet

Any moisture that gets into an outlet can cause corrosion and shorts. This is more common in bathrooms or basements.

Simple Fixes to Try Yourself First

Now that you have an idea of what could be wrong, here are some simple fixes you can try yourself before calling an electrician:

Inspect The Outlet Wiring

Turn off the power to the outlet at the breaker box. Remove the outlet cover plate and unscrew the outlet from the wall box. Closely inspect the wiring for any loose, damaged, frayed or burned wires. Tighten any loose wire connections. If you see any damaged wires, the outlet needs to be replaced.

Replace The Outlet

If you suspect the outlet itself is damaged or worn out, go ahead and replace it. Outlets are inexpensive ($5-10) and fairly easy for a homeowner to swap out. Just be sure to flip the breaker off, confirm power is off with a voltage tester, match the wires correctly, screw the outlet in securely, and replace the cover plate.

Use A Different Outlet

If you think that outlet may just be overloaded from too many devices plugged in, try plugging items into a different outlet and seeing if the circuit still trips. This helps determine if the outlet itself is the problem. Spread out high-power devices over multiple outlets.

Try A Higher Wattage Fuse

If the fuse blowing is the issue, try replacing it with a higher amperage fuse, up to 15 amps max for standard outlets. If it is still blowing fuses, there is likely a wiring short or other issue requiring electrician help.

Check For Moisture

Shut off power and remove the outlet. Check for any moisture, corrosion, dirt buildup or insect nests behind the outlet. Clean out or replace if needed. Consider having an electrician inspect and seal the receptacle box if moisture is an ongoing issue.

Hire an Electrician

If you checked the wiring and connections, replaced the outlet, and tried the other fixes with no luck, it's probably time to hire a professional electrician. They have the advanced tools and experience to accurately diagnose and fix complex electrical issues.

When to Call an Electrician

While the simple fixes above are worth trying, there are certain situations where you SHOULD call a licensed electrician right away:

Warning: Do NOT attempt to splice damaged wires yourself! This could cause fires or electrocution.

Moisture issues should be inspected by a pro.

This indicates a serious underlying electrical issue that needs professional repair.

Always put safety first! Hire an electrician if you lack confidence fixing it yourself.


That frustrating outlet blowing fuses can often be fixed with some simple troubleshooting and a basic outlet swap. However, if you see signs of damaged wiring or deeper issues, call a licensed electrician right away. If the DIY steps don't solve the problem, it's best to have a professional inspect and repair the outlet and wiring to get your electrical system safely up and running again. With some diligence and electrical caution, you can tackle that temperamental outlet yourself and save the electrician cost in many cases!