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Why Is My Electrical Panel Buzzing?

Electrical Panel Wiring Supply

Electrical panels are the heart of all electrical devices running in the house. However, buzzing from the circuit box can be worrying and annoying whether you are a homeowner or live in an apartment.

Some humming, buzzing, or clicking sounds from the electrical panel are usual and should not keep you up at night. However, other noises can indicate an electrical problem. It is always better to be safe if you are unsure.

Identifying the noise source is always the safest way to ensure your family and property are not at risk of electrical-related hazards. Fortunately, there are a few ways to identify the issue.

This article will examine why the electrical panel is buzzing and how to fix the issue when intervention is needed.


There are several reasons why the electrical panel can be buzzing.

  • Soft or light humming is caused by current flow through the circuit and should not be something to worry about.
  • A defective circuit breaker causes medium, loud, or continuous humming in the panel.
  • Loose, exposed, or damaged wires can cause sparking and sizzling sounds in the electrical panel.

Likewise, we will also look at the work of a circuit breaker and how it protects electrical devices in your house or office.

What Is a Circuit Breaker, and What Does It Do?

Voltage Switchboard With Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are switches designed to protect electrical circuits from overloading or short-circuiting. If the current limit is reached, the breaker trips, interrupting the current flow and stopping it in its tracks.

Usually, circuit breakers are housed in an electrical panel or a circuit box. These switches are labeled based on the electrical circuits that they protect.

Electrical panels are often located in the garage, utility room, basement, or storage room. If you stay in an apartment, the electrical panel can also be in the hallway.

3 Types of Electrical Panel Buzzes and What Causes Them

Now that we know what circuit breakers and electrical panels are. Let us look at why they buzz.

One of the best ways to identify the problem with your electrical panel is by listening to the type of noise produced. Here is a look at different kinds of buzzes and what causes them.

Electrocution Risk

Whatever kind of noise you hear from the electrical panel, you should never try to fix the problem unless you have the proper skill. You risk getting electrocuted, short-circuiting appliances around the house, or starting a fire.

Call a professional technician who will ensure that your family and property are in safe hands and lower the risk of unfortunate accidents.

1. Faint or Soft Humming

Circuit Breaker And Cable Wiring System

Hearing light, soft or faint humming from the electrical panel or circuit breaker is more common than you think.

As current travels through the switches, electrons flowing through the circuit are heated up and knock each other around. In the process, the circuit starts vibrating, and you might hear a light buzzing or humming sound from the panel.

However, if you suspect the hissing or buzzing is getting louder or hear a clicking or other stranger noises, it is probably time to get an electrician to inspect it.

2. Medium to Loud or Continuous Humming

Measuring Equipment To Checking Electric Current

Secondly, if you start hearing medium or loud buzzing from circuit breakers, it might indicate some electrical issue brewing. The main reason you hear these types of sounds in your electrical panel is faulty circuit breakers.

As previously stated, when a circuit overloads, the breaker should trip. However, if the circuit breaker does not trip, too much electricity might flow through it, causing loud vibrations and humming.

Defective breakers can be a real problem as they allow uncontrolled current to flow, leading to wires accumulating intense heat, which can be a fire hazard.

In addition, as heat builds up in the breaker, you might also notice a burning smell. So, when you think your circuit breakers are faulty, you should immediately call a professional to look at them.


Defective circuit breakers are also extremely hot. Make sure not to inspect the electrical panel without protective gloves.

3. Sparks or Sizzling Noises

Electrical Circuit Causing Electrical Short And Fire

Sparking and sizzling are not common noises that you should expect from the electrical panel. On the contrary, it is a major concern that you should not take lightly.

Let us look at some reasons why your circuit breakers might be sparking.

  • Loose wires or connections: If you hear sparks or sizzling noises from the electrical panel, you might have loose wires or connections near or around the circuit breaker. This results in arc faulting, where the current tries to jump to the next wire to complete the connection.
  • Exposed and damaged wires: Exposed or damaged wires are also at a higher risk of arc faulting, which can cause the sounds. In addition, these wires can also leak current to other cables, which can cause electrocution if you are not careful.

You should call an electrician immediately to deal with any sparks or sizzling sounds you hear in your electrical panel and around other areas in the house.


Electrical Panel With Fuses And Contactors

Are you worried about the buzzing sounds coming from the electrical panel? Any issues with the panel should be dealt with carefully and swiftly. Listening to the type of sounds coming from the circuit box can help you identify what kind of problem you are experiencing.

You should not be too concerned if you notice low, soft, or light humming from the electrical panel. As current is flowing through the circuit, a slight vibration is expected due to heating.

On the other hand, loud or continuous humming can indicate a defective circuit breaker that needs replacing. Lastly, sparking or sizzling noises can be caused by loose, exposed, or damaged wires.

You should always call a qualified electrician to deal with any noises from the electrical panel or circuit box. They will help identify the issue and safely replace defective circuit devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is the Electrical Panel Making Noises After the AC Starts Running?

Air conditioning units need a lot of power to start and keep running. They use a capacitor that stores power like a giant battery to help them.

However, if the capacitor is defective, the AC will draw the power from the electrical panel, which can lead to the loud humming or buzzing you hear.

How Do You Stop the Electrical Panel From Buzzing?

Several problems might be causing the buzzing. It might be a faulty circuit breaker or damaged wires. The best way to deal with the issue is by calling an electrician to look at the buzzing and fix it.

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