Why Is Top Outlet Not Working But The Bottom Is? (Solved!)

The outlet has two connecting points and it’s important for both of them to function. Most property owners will be making use of both at one point or another.

This is why it’s important to understand what’s happening when a top outlet is not working but the bottom is.

If a top outlet is working but the bottom isn’t, this can often mean the entire unit has been damaged. It can also involve the tab or switch being broken, which can cause either the top or bottom outlet to stop working. The best course of action is to replace the wall outlet.

You might attempt to repair the wall outlet but it will not yield good results. It’s usually better to replace it.

This article will look to analyze what’s going on if the top outlet is not working but the bottom is.

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Reasons The Top Outlet Is Not Working But The Bottom Is

1. Damaged Outlet

When half of an outlet stopped working, this means the outlet is likely damaged.

You might attempt to open the faceplate and look at what’s going on inside. For the most part, you might not find anything because the outlet can get damaged due to natural wear and tear.

This is normal and something you can expect in older properties.

If you are dealing with an older outlet then it’s possible the top outlet will stop working as it is supposed to. When this happens, you are better off replacing the entire piece to make sure it goes back to how it was.

Don’t attempt to keep using the outlet as the bottom one will go out too. It is only a matter of time.

This is why waiting things out is not recommended and will do a lot of damage to the rest of the circuit. Switch the outlet as soon as you realize the bottom one is not working anymore.

top outlet not working but bottom is

2. Tab Or Wall Switch Is Ruined

If you are dealing with a dead outlet then it might be time to look at the switch or tab.

Most outlets come with a tab that is designed to allow one of the outlets to work while the other doesn’t. This is done to stagger the power and to make sure you have customized control over how the electricity travels.

This matters a lot when you are figuring things out and coming up with a plan.

If you attempt to use the tab or wall switch and it doesn’t work, this might be the problem. It might have gotten stuck or broken.

When this happens, you will have to replace the dead outlet to make sure the new tab does work as it is supposed to.

3. Incorrect Wiring

The wiring is not going to always be in line with what’s required.

This happens when the wiring was installed incorrectly, which is common with newer installations. However, if the circuit was already working and the outlet didn’t give you trouble in the past, it’s best to look at the outlet itself.

The wiring will likely be okay unless there was a power surge that fried the wire. You can do a visual inspection to see if there is any evidence of this.

If not then you are going to have to change the outlet to make sure it works again.

top outlet not working but bottom is

4. Damaged Plug

This might seem like a silly reason but it does happen.

Your first step should be to take something else and plug it into the top outlet. You will want to see whether or not it is the plug that is creating the issue or the outlet.

You should not switch the outlet until there is confirmation. Otherwise, you might end up wasting a lot of time when it is the device’s plug that is the real issue.

Final Thoughts

These are the tips to look into if the top outlet is not working but bottom is.

When a top outlet is not working but the bottom is, the outlet is likely damaged. This can happen when the tab stops working as it is responsible for switching power between outlets. Another reason can include incorrect wiring or a broken outlet.

The best course of action when in this situation is to simply replace the outlet. This will ensure you get the outlet to work the way you want it to and it doesn’t break down on you.

If you attempt to keep using the outlet then it will eventually give out too. This is something you should prep for.

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