Household tip that may save money: Any electric outlets not working?


The danger of offering a household tip that you've recently discovered is possibly exposing yourself as a dork. For all I know, my domestic insight is extremely obvious. For all I know, everyone reading this who owns a home, and maybe even some who don't, will say: "Duh."

But if I help just one person out there, by saving them some grief or money hiring an electrician, I guess it's worth it.

For the last few years, our house has had several electric outlets not working. The outside ones, and a couple bathroom outlets. It was a nuisance, but nothing terrible, and it sure didn't seem worth bringing in an electrician for. And so we didn't.

But I did recently hire a professional handyman to fix some problems with my roof (it leaked), and within about, oh, two seconds, he fixed our outlets.

Modern day homes -- I'm guessing 20-years-old and newer, since mine's about 15, but as we've established, I'm not an electrician -- have something called a ground fault interupter, also known as a reset button. In most houses, it's in one of the bathrooms, and it's attached to one of the outlets. Ours is red. The handyman pressed it.

And now our outlets work. All of them.

I'm so embarrassed.

Geoff Williams is a business journalist, who fortunately can write better than he can wire. Or fix plumbing. Or hang a picture frame. He is also the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).