If you’re like many homeowners, strange noises put you on edge or at least make you curious to learn more. One strange sound that you might hear is a buzzing noise from your electrical panel. There are times when a little bit of noise is perfectly normal, but there are also times when you should have an electrician take a look at your panel because some sounds aren’t normal. If you’re unsure of whether or not your electrical panel needs servicing, check out what some of the sounds that come from your electrical panel could mean as well as what you can do to avoid dangerous problems.
When You Hear a Light Humming
If you hear a very light humming sound that you can only hear when you’re right next to your electrical panel, more likely than not, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your electrical panel. It’s entirely normal for a panel to make a slight and very soft sound because electricity makes sounds as it passes through the panel. If the sound stays at this low decibel level, there’s very little reason to think that there’s anything wrong with your electrical panel, but if the sound gets louder over time, you should have it checked out by an electrician. And even if you’re on the fence about whether or not it’s anything to be worried about, you should opt for getting it inspected by a professional over doing nothing because the consequences of inaction can be significant if there’s something wrong with your panel. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.
If There’s a Medium to Loud Humming Sound
Hearing a significant amount of humming or buzzing is a good indication that there’s something wrong with your electrical panel. For instance, the circuit breaker could be overloaded. Normally, a circuit breaker will flip off if there’s too much energy going through the system. But if it doesn’t, this will cause the breaker to be overwhelmed with the amount of energy flowing through the system. Therefore, it will make lots of buzzing noises as a lot of current flows through. It will also trip the breaker.
In this case, you should call an electrician to have them replace the parts and make adjustments that will ensure that the right amount of energy is running through your system. This is especially true if you notice a burnt smell coming from your panel as an energy overload could cause a fire. If you hear a lot of buzzing noises but the breaker hasn’t already tripped, the you can manually flip off the breaker. There should be a main breaker switch that will control all of the individual switches as well. Finally, if you suspect that there’s a fire because of some smoke, heat, or a smell, call 911 right away because even small fires can get out of hand quickly and the fire department can take care of the issue safely.
What Sizzling Noises and Sparks Mean
If you notice that there are sizzling sounds and sparks, there’s probably a damaged or loose wire, which can be a pretty big safety hazard. Arcing faults, a phenomenon in which electricity jumps from one exposed wire to another, is the cause of tens of thousands of home fires every year. You’ll also hear a loud buzzing sound, and if you notice these signs, you need to call an electrician right away.
Why Do Electrical Panels Go Bad?
Electrical panels can go bad for a number of reasons. One of the most common of these is simply age. Electrical panels typically only last for about 20 to 30 years before they need replacement. And if you already have a house with an electrical panel that’s more than 30 years old, there’s a good chance that you have a system that’s not just old but also outdated. Older homes did not have grounded wires or surge protectors. Newer electrical systems require grounding and typically come with surge protection to help keep your electronics functioning well.
Another reason that electrical panels go bad is that there are times when too much amperage is forced through a wire. Circuit breakers were designed to carry a certain amount of amperage, but over the last several decades, our demand for electricity has increased. We’re demanding more electricity by using extension cords that are attached to appliances that draw a lot of electricity and by using multi-plug adapters along with more appliances in areas like the kitchen. When the electrical panel isn’t designed to handle all of the electricity, it will usually cause the breaker to trip, which is a good thing because it prevents larger problems. But when the breaker doesn’t trip, more electricity than what the wire can handle is forced through the wire, which can cause the wire to melt.
Finally, if you have a fairly new electrical panel and have noticed that something isn’t right, you might have a panel that was either improperly installed or had a manufacturing defect. Electrical panels are like many other things, such as cars and electronics, and they can have either design or manufacturing defects. If you worked with a certified electrician, improper installation is the less likely of the two scenarios. This is because changes to electrical panels typically require a signoff by your city or county to ensure proper installation and that it meets the local building code.
How You Can Avoid a Faulty Electrical Panel
If you would prefer to avoid the anxiety of a faulty electrical panel, there are a few proactive steps that you can take before you hear the dreaded buzzing sound from your electrical panel. First of all, if your panel is more than 20 years old, have it checked out by a licensed electrician to see if they think that it’s time for an upgrade. Secondly, if you’re adding onto your home, be prepared to hear that you either need a second electrical panel or need to upgrade the size of your current one. You should also be aware of other signs that you’re overloading your electrical panel, which include flickering lights, a warm electrical panel, brown singe marks on the electrical outlets, and getting a tingling sensation when you touch some of your appliances. Additionally, avoid using too many multi-plug extensions, especially if you’re seeing signs that your breaker is overloaded.
Whether you’re looking for a company that can install a new electrical panel or diagnose and repair a problem on your existing panel, you’ll appreciate how easy we make it when you contact Accurate Home Services. We offer lots of electrical services, but we also provide services for your heating and cooling system, including furnace and air conditioner installation, maintenance services, and repairs. Plus, we have services that can make your indoor air quality better. So give us a call today to learn more about how we can help your Crandall or Kaufman area home run better.