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Why Is My Electrical Outlet Clicking?

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Where’s that clicking noise coming from? As strange as it might seem, electrical outlets can make an odd range of sounds, clicking included.

And just like any other functional item or feature in your home, random sounds mean bad news.

You must act fast if you’ve traced that odd clicking noise back to your electrical outlet. Here’s what the sound might mean and what you can do to stop it.

  • Electrical outlets can make a clicking noise through an internal spring and button mechanism.
  • If the outlet is making a constant clicking noise, it might be damaged or malfunctioning.
  • See that you cut the power to the problematic outlet by turning off its corresponding switch in your circuit breaker.
  • Call an electrician for any necessary repairs and replacements.

Clicking and crackling noises from your electrical outlet can spell trouble for you and the people in your home. Acting on the problem as quickly as possible can help prevent further problems and potential injury.

Why Is My Outlet Making a Clicking Noise?

It’s important to understand that electrical outlets have an internal mechanism that may produce a clicking sound. This combines a spring and a button that cuts the power in case the outlet is overloaded or if there’s a short.

If the outlet needs to cut the power, it will click once and trip the corresponding switch in your circuit breaker. That said, a constant clicking noise is not normal and may indicate that the outlet is attempting to cut the power but that the machine is malfunctioning or broken.

All of that considered, a constant clicking noise coming from your outlet may indicate that it’s:

  • Overloaded
  • Short-circuiting
  • Damaged

What To Do With a Clicking Outlet

If you hear a clicking noise coming from your outlet, here’s what you can do:

1. Check the Plugged Appliances

Hand Plugging In An Electric Cord Into A White Plastic Socket Or European Wall Outlet On Grey Plaster Wall. Closeup Of A Woman's Hand Inserting An Electrical Plug Into A Wall Socket. Daylight.

It’s normal for certain electronics and appliances to generate a clicking noise. Oven toasters, hair dyers, and even lighting fixtures can click.

To make sure your outlet is making a clicking noise, unplug the appliances and plug them into neighboring outlets.

If the clicking sound stops, the sound will likely come from the original outlet. If they continue to click, then the appliances might be the culprit.

2. Cut the Power

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Open your circuit breaker and locate the switch that feeds the area where the clicking outlet is located. Cut the power to prevent further damage or problems.

If you don’t know how to locate the right switch for the outlet involved, it would be wise to cut the power to all outlets.

In many cases, a single problematic outlet can cause a malfunction in other outlets. So turning off all of the switches in your breaker may be more intuitive.

3. Call an Electrician

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If you’ve had some experience with electrical outlets, you can replace the outlet’s hardware using supplies you can find through your local hardware store. Keep in mind, however, that often, the outlet isn’t all that needs replacing.

Torn, worn, and naked wires inside the outlet can cause clicking sounds and may damage appliances and electronics that you plug into them.

So it’s always better to call an electrician so they can assess your outlet and any wires that might require repair and replacement.


Electrical fires just about to start might also sound like clicking and crackling. If you can smell burnt wires alongside the clicking noises, you might have to vacate your home and call an electrician immediately.

If you have time, cut the power using your circuit breaker. It’s best to turn all switches off until an electrician arrives.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PLUG ANYTHING INTO A CLICKING OUTLET. If the wires inside are defective, broken, or exposed, plugging an appliance into the outlet may cause a spark and a fire.


It’s not normal for an electrical outlet to make constant clicking noises. So if you hear the sounds coming from your outlet, make sure to act fast.

In most cases, you will need the help of an electrician. Avoid resolving the problem yourself, especially if you have limited experience with electrical repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Faulty Outlet Cause a Fire?

Yes, most electrical fires are caused by faulty sockets that are not properly grounded. The more you use an outlet, the more worn and damaged its wires can become.

Over time, these wires can malfunction and cause a spark and an electrical fire.

What Are the Signs of an Electrical Fire?

You can usually tell when an electrical fire is about to begin. Most of the time, you’ll notice a clicking noise from your outlet, the smell of something burning, and a brownish tinge on outlets and wall switches.

Your circuit breaker switches might also keep tripping.

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