6 Reasons Your Circuit Breaker Buzzing


A buzzing noise is one of the most common signs of a faulty electrical panel. The source of the noise is typically a circuit breaker buzzing. If you hear a buzzing sound, you should be alarmed, as it can indicate that you have a potential fire hazard in your wiring system. 

A circuit breaker is an electrical safety device designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by an overcurrent or short circuit. So, if the circuit breaker goes bad, various electrical problems can occur. Below we look at six causes of circuit breaker buzzing and what you can do if you hear noise from your electrical panel. 

If you have any questions about electrical system noise, contact Tesla Electric. We are here to help you with electrical repair in Lakewood, Colorado.

1. Loose or Damaged Wire

If you notice a buzzing sound coming from a circuit breaker, the sound indicates overloading in the wire or outlet. It may also be a sign of an improperly grounded or loose wire. All of these situations are dangerous and require professional input.

A wall outlet will buzz if there is a loose connection or faulty wiring. A loose connection typically occurs when the connections that hold the wiring come loose over time. If you live in an older house and think you have a loose connection, an electrician may need to replace the wiring or circuit breaker.

2. Improper Electrical Installation

Even the most skilled and knowledgeable electricians can make errors when installing a new electrical system or replacing an older system. For instance, an electrician may try to connect to faulty or outdated wiring when retrofitting an electrical component such as a circuit breaker, panel, wiring, or outlet. 

Other common mistakes include 

  • Improper grounding
  • Overloading a circuit
  • Improper junction box
  • Reversed polarity

These mistakes can wreak havoc on a circuit breaker or electrical panel. Getting a second opinion or scheduling routine electrical inspections to help you identify any previous installation errors.

3. Bad Circuit Breaker

If you hear an annoying buzzing or humming, the circuit breaker may be overloaded, which can be hazardous. Whenever you hear a loud hum from your circuit breaker, there’s probably a malfunction or damaged component.

A loud buzzing sound from the circuit breaker indicates that the circuit breaker is bad and is not tripping, even when there is an actual problem with the electrical wiring or electrical materials. When circuit breakers don’t shut off the supply of power, the flow of current increases, and this causes the wires to heat up, eventually leading to an electrical hazard.

4. Damaged Circuit Breaker

In most cases, circuit breaker damage occurs due to an electrical surge, faulty wiring or improper installation. How can you tell if a circuit breaker is bad?  

  • The breaker doesn’t remain in the “reset” mode.
  • There is a burning smell from the electrical panel box.
  • The panel is hot to the touch.
  • There is physical damage.
  • The panel trips frequently.

If you find that the breaker turns off every time you turn on the switch in a particular area, it could be a bad breaker, or you need an additional circuit added.

5. Outdated Electrical Panel

When the electrical panel becomes old and worn down, connections can come loose. It can result in the electrical buzz you hear coming from your panel. You may also hear it in other areas of your electrical system. It is particularly common in older homes that may have at one point been rewired or had the outlets replaced.

If your wiring is 50 years old, you may want to consider a complete electrical replacement, including the electrical panel. As the system ages, the buzzing will become more frequent, increasing the potential for a fire. An updated circuit breaker can prevent an electrical surge. 

6. No Electrical Problem at All

Hearing a soft, gentle hum or buzz from your electrical panel is normal. What you’re hearing is the flow of electrical currents. Just keep an ear out to ensure this sound doesn’t increase in volume over time. If it gets louder, contact an electrician to inspect your panel. 

Your circuit breaker may be making a faint electrical buzzing sound. Do not be alarmed – it is perfectly normal. Flowing currents through your breaker box cause a slight hum. Nonetheless, you should have it inspected if the hum becomes louder over time.

Schedule Electrical Repair in Lakewood, Colorado

If you need electrical repair services for your home, contact Tesla Electric Company today. We offer complete electrical repair in Lakewood, Colorado. To schedule service, fill out our contact form or call us.

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