Circuit Breaker Buzzing? Follow These 3 Easy Steps

As most homeowners know, a circuit breaker may emit a slight buzzing noise if you stand especially close to it.

And while this can be a bit disconcerting at first, the truth is that there is nothing to worry about in most cases.

This is usually caused by the vibrations of the electrical currents and is all part of how a circuit breaker works. But sometimes, this buzzing can be a bit more intense and may even point to a severe problem with your wiring or other electrical components.

This guide will help you determine the cause of your circuit breaker’s buzzing and clue you into what your next steps should be.  

A Word on Proper Safety Etiquette

As with any other electrical work, it’s essential that you be aware of a few home electrical safety tips before getting too involved in diagnosing your circuit breaker buzzing.

Spending a few extra minutes to ensure proper safety procedures may just end up saving your life.

Step 1: Evaluate How Loud the Circuit Breaker Buzzing Is

The first step in finding out why your circuit breaker is buzzing is to find out just how loud the buzzing is.

As mentioned before, it’s entirely normal for circuit breakers to emit a gentle hum when you’re nearby. But when that buzzing becomes much louder, you may have a problem on your hands.

Ask yourself, is the buzzing coming from the circuit breaker itself? And if so, is it intermittent or constant?

An intermittent circuit breaker buzzing may mean that only a single circuit breaker is faulty while a constant one could mean that the current is overloading the circuit breaker. As such, it’s important that if you hear any unusually loud buzzing at all, you should not touch the breaker.

This may end up being a seriously hazardous situation and could result in fatal electrocution. And of course, if you see any sparks you should call an electrician immediately.

Step 2: See If Outlets and Wiring Are Humming

The next step is to determine if any outlets or wiring is humming in addition to the circuit breaker. If this is the case, you’re more likely than not dealing with an improperly grounded or frayed wire.

As you might expect, if you hear any humming from an outlet then it’s critical that you do not try to fix it yourself.

Doing so may be putting you in direct physical danger. Better leave this one up to the professionals instead.  

Step 3: Call a Certified Electrician

Whether you’ve traced back your loud buzzing to a loose wire or a breaker that isn’t tripping properly, the end game here is to call a certified electrician to help diagnose and fix the problem.

Both of these situations can be quite serious and, as a result, especially dangerous to handle on your own.

And when you’re dealing with something as unpredictable and hazardous as electricity, it’s far better to be safe than sorry.

3 Steps for Figuring Out Why Your Circuit Breaker Is Buzzing

While some level of noise is normal, if you discover that your circuit breaker is buzzing especially loudly, it may be a sign of a serious problem. Faulty wires, overloaded breakers that won’t trip, and damaged equipment may all be the culprits here.

In any case though, it’s absolutely necessary that you’re diagnosing this buzzing while following proper safety procedures and are depending on the expertise of a qualified electrician to solve the problem.

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