Most of the time, electricity is incredibly quiet. You can’t really hear it unless there’s a lot of electricity flowing through a particular circuit. Some people can pick up a faint hum, especially with fluorescent lights, but usually there’s not much to hear.
If you do start to hear strange noises that sound like they may be coming from your electrical system, there may be cause for concern, but it’s important that there are certain things you don’t do yourself and leave to a professional. Here’s what to know and how a qualified electrician at Jones Services can help.
When alternative current (AC) flows through a wire or appliance, it causes changes to the natural magnetic fields around it. This results in minute vibrations, which causes a normal light buzzing sound or no sound at all. This is called “mains hum.”
The higher the voltage of a current is, the more vibration and therefore more sound there will be. That’s why you often hear buzzing near electrical transformers and why lightning creates thunder. But because there’s not that much electricity going through your home, it won’t sound the same.
A faint buzz is all you should really be able to hear when it comes to electricity in your household. When your wires, circuits, and other components are properly configured and insulated, you might not be able to hear anything at all.
It’s important to take action right away if you start to notice the buzzing or humming get louder over time, or there are popping, crackling, or sizzling noises coming from inside your walls, near your electrical outlets, or from your appliances. This can indicate a serious problem with your electrical system that could cause shocks or even result in a fire.
If you have old wiring or circuits that overload frequently, you may want to consider upgrading or replacing your electrical panel. These problems generally don’t get better and only get worse as your panel ages and the components degrade, so unless you rent or sell your home, you’ll need to have this done eventually.
But in the meantime, here are some easy troubleshooting tips you can try if you hear electrical noise in your New York home:
- Unplug appliances. If the electrical noise seems to be coming from a specific appliance, unplug it from the outlet and have it looked at before using it again. This is especially true for large appliances like washing machines and refrigerators that use a lot of power. If you continue to run a malfunctioning appliance, you could cause damage to your outlets or electrical circuits that weren’t there before. This creates new problems that may be even costlier to repair.
- Don’t plug anything else in that outlet. In case the problem is with the outlet and not with the appliance itself, don’t use that outlet for anything else until you can have a qualified electrician come and inspect your system. You can tape it off with electrical tape or even painter’s tape to make sure no one uses it.
- Shut off breakers to areas of your home with electrical noise. If the noise is coming from inside your walls, this could potentially indicate a problem with the wiring inside. If your circuit breakers are labeled, you can turn off power to that portion of your house until you can have an electrician take a look.
- Replace bulbs in light fixtures. Often, a buzzing sound that comes from a light fixture like a ceiling fan just means that a bulb needs to be replaced. Try that and see if it helps reduce or eliminate the noise. If not, the problem may be with the fixture and not the bulb. Don’t try to take the fixture down. Instead, shut off power to it and contact an electrician.
- Don’t touch an electrical panel if it’s making noise. If the buzzing or humming seems to be coming from your electrical panel, you might think it’s time to shut off the electricity — but touching a panel that’s malfunctioning could result in a high voltage shock. In this case, you need to call an electrician right away.
If you need a knowledgeable electrician to help you diagnose louder-than-normal electrical noise, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced team of professionals at Jones Services. We can come to your home and perform an in-depth inspection to assess the problem, ensure your safety, and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
Call today at (845) 295-1776.