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Why Are My Bathroom Outlets Not Working?

James Elder
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by James Elder

Some of the most annoying issues that homeowners encounter are electrical in nature.

For instance, one day, the electricity around the house is a-okay, and the next, you realize all the electrical receptacles in the bathrooms suddenly have stopped working.

Is it time to hire an electrician for a costly house visit?

Pause for a minute before you do that. There could be a straightforward solution to the problem.

Bathroom outlets may stop working for a variety of reasons. These include a malfunctioning GFCI, a tripped circuit breaker, faulty wiring, or outdated outlets.

Let’s figure out your problem’s source so you can handle it as soon as possible!

On Installing Bathroom Outlets

Installing Bathroom Outlets

Because bathrooms have a high moisture content, any mistake during the electrical installation could pose a severe electrical hazard. So, to guarantee the safety of household members, bathroom outlets need to be installed in a specific way.

For starters, bathroom outlets’ most essential safety feature is installing a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). A GFCI outlet  is able to sense electrical imbalances and switch the power off instantly to avoid electrocution. This is especially important in wet areas such as restrooms, where water can readily come into contact with electrical outlets.

Second, bathroom outlets must be placed at least 3 feet (1m) away from the bathtub or shower border to minimize interaction with water and possible electrocution.

Also, they should be above and to the side of the sink rather than immediately over it.

Third, outlets must be correctly wired to withstand the wetness and humidity in the room. They must be grounded and have at least a 20 Amp power capacity to support appliances like a hairdryer or razor without the possibility of overloading and tripping the circuit.

Finally, it’s strongly advised to have them installed by a qualified electrician who can ensure that all safety standards are fulfilled.

With these rules in mind, let’s move on to the four most common causes of why bathroom outlets are not working.

5 Reasons Why the Bathroom Outlets Aren’t Working In Your Home

One of the most noticeable signs that the outlet is not working is the absence of electricity. You can test this by plugging in a gadget like a hair dryer or electric razor and seeing if it powers on.

If there’s no power coming from the outlet, here’s what could be the problem.

1. The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Is Malfunctioning

GFCI Is faulty

Typically, outlets stop working when the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet has tripped or is faulty.

In this situation, you should first determine whether the GFCI has tripped and, if so, restart it.

Look for a “reset” button on the GFCI receptacle. When you find it, press it, and wait a few moments before plugging in a gadget to see if the power has been restored.

If resetting the GFCI doesn’t fix the issue, it may be defective and should be replaced. If you are uncertain how to replace a GFCI outlet properly, seek the assistance of a qualified electrician.

2. The Circuit Breaker Suffered an Overload and Shut Down the Power

Diagnosing a bad circuit breaker

Another reason why your bathroom outlets are not working could be a tripped circuit switch. When a circuit breaker trips, the passage of electricity to the circuit is interrupted. This is sometimes done as a precaution to avoid overheating and electrical fires.

Usually, a circuit breaker trips and cuts the power when there’s an electrical overload. So, perhaps you have plugged in more things than the circuit can manage. If so, check how many devices draw power from the bathroom circuit, disconnect them, and restart the circuit breaker by turning the switch to “off” and then back to “on.”

3. The Outlets’ Wires Are Damaged

Damaged Outlets’ Wires

Outlets get electricity from the wiring that links them to the circuit panel. If the wires are damaged, the passage of electricity from the circuit to the outlet will be interrupted.

Common causes of damaged wires include:

  • Physical damage from nails or screws
  • Wear and tear over time
  • Exposure to moisture or other elements that cause corrosion

If you think the cables within your outlet are faulty, call a qualified electrician to inspect and repair them to avoid damaging your electrical system even more.

4. The Bathroom Outlets Have Reached the End of Their Useful Life

In general, receptacles have the capacity to function flawlessly for many years, but as the years go by, they’ll show signs of wear and tear.

Outlets typically have a lifespan of 10 to 30 years, and how long your bathroom outlets will last exactly will depend on how frequently you use them as a power source. If you use them often, the metal contacts inside it will wear out, becoming loose or losing the grip on the power plug, and over time, resulting in total outlet failure.

Environmental factors also affect how long your bathroom outlets will work. For example, exposure to moisture, dust, or extreme temperatures causes the outlet to deteriorate or become damaged more quickly. Since the bathroom is a high-moisture area, this might influence and lower your outlets’ lifespan.

If you notice any signs of discoloration or if the outlet feels loose when you plug something in, having a licensed electrician inspect your electrical system and recommend necessary updates or repairs may be a good idea.

5. You’ve Plugged in a Malfunctioning Device

Plugged in a Malfunctioning Device

A faulty gadget may cause a restroom outlet to go out of service. If you insert a malfunctioning electrical device into an outlet, it may provoke a short circuit or a power surge, tripping the circuit breaker or blowing the fuse that powers the outlet.

In this case, you must fix the broken outlet and the malfunctioning device because plugging the faulty device into a new outlet will almost certainly trigger the same problem and cause the new one to stop working, too.

Tips for Maintaining Bathroom Outlets

Here are some suggestions for keeping bathroom outlets in good working order:

  • Clean your receptacles. Keep the outlet and surrounding area clean and free of dust, debris, and moisture. Important: Before you do any cleaning, shut down the power from the circuit panel to avoid electroshock.
  • Avoid exposing the outlets to water. Don’t install outlets in a spot where you could splatter water on them.
  • Make sure the circuit supplying the bathroom outlets isn’t overloaded. When a circuit is overloaded, the receptacles fail to work. So, plug devices that are only within the outlet’s power capacity.


This sums up our discussion on faulty bathroom outlets.

The two main reasons why the bathroom outlet stop working are an overloaded circuit switch or a faulty GFCI. Other possible causes include a defective plugged-in gadget, outdated receptacles, or damaged cables within the outlets.

We trust that we were able to assist you in determining the root cause of the issue so you can address it properly. If you are not an expert in electrical systems, it’s best to seek the assistance of a qualified electrician to resolve your issue. Either way, good luck!

James Elder
James Elder
James Elder has been fiddling with gadgets and using tools from a young age. His father was an excellent craftsman and James enjoyed spending time with his dad and learning all he could about working with wood, drywall, electronics, and various household projects. James has worked professionally for many years and his passion is to share knowledge that is especially useful to aspiring handy men & women to get more done around their homes.
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