Ideally, you and your circuit breaker shouldn’t spend a lot of time together.
When it’s working correctly, you should have absolutely no reason to think about it.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
A common example is when your circuit breaker is buzzing. The noise is impossible to ignore, which is actually a good thing because doing so could actually cause a much bigger problem.
4 Reasons Your Circuit Breaker Is Buzzing
There are four main reasons that your circuit breaker is buzzing.
Fortunately, finding out which one applies couldn’t be easier.
You don’t need to be an electrician to go through this list, though you may need one to solve the problem.
1. It’s a Normal Operating Sound
If your circuit breaker is buzzing loud enough that you can’t hear it unless you’re right next to it, there may not be a problem at all.
Some buzzing – more like a quiet humming – is to be expected. It’s just the vibrations caused by the electric currents.
Of course, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so you could call a licensed electrician if you want. Once they confirm it’s not an issue, you’ll always have peace of mind going forward.
2. You’re Seeing Sparks
On the exact other side of the spectrum would be your circuit breaker buzzing and sending off sparks. This is never the type of problem you can simply ignore.
The problem is most likely a loose wire that is producing an arc fault. This is when the current is discharged, which happens when electricity is jumping from wire to wire.
Stay away from these until an electrician arrives.
Note: this is a good time for a reminder about never keeping flammable items around your circuit breaker. A spark could easily catch it and start a fire.
3. Your Circuit Breaker Is Buzzing and Not Working
This is another problem you won’t be able to ignore because it means you’ve lost electricity to some portion of your home.
Breakers are designed to shut off power in the event of a circuit problem. Otherwise, there would be an excess of electricity that could run through it, eventually resulting in electrical fire.
The buzzing sound you’re hearing could be because a breaker is struggling to trip. You’ll want to replace this breaker as soon as possible to avoid the aforementioned risk of fire.
4. The Vibrations Begin When You Use Certain Devices
Similarly, the problem may only occur when you turn on your air conditioning or use numerous devices that all pull electricity from the same circuit.
In that case, the issue is most likely a breaker that is on its last legs.
It could also be a combination of that and a loose wire. The point is that the higher demand for electricity is pushing a breaker that is going bad.
Contact a Licensed Electrician Right Away
Again, unless you’re hearing a slight humming when you’re right next to it, your circuit breaker buzzing should be taken as a sign that it’s time to call a licensed electrician.
Unless you can replace a circuit breaker on your own, an electrician is the fast and easy solution to a problem that can quickly get out of hand.