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How to Find and Fix a Low-Frequency Electrical Hum?
How to Find and Fix a Low-Frequency Electrical Hum?
February 01, 2023

How to Find and Fix a Low-Frequency Electrical Hum?

Electricity can be surprisingly loud and frustrating. If you have heard an electrical humming noise at night, then you know how maddening it can be. It can be difficult to track this kind of noise to its source let alone fixing it, but Neighborhood Electric is here to help. Fortunately, these hums and buzzes are fairly common, and we know of a few tips and tricks that will help you pin them down and get to its root. These sounds can even be a sign of problems with your electrical wiring and circuits, so investigating may end up saving you a lot.

Locating the Hum

First and foremost, we have got to find where the hum is coming from. We have four simple techniques and strategies to guide you to the source so that we can run a diagnosis.

  • Use an ear trumpet: Before modern hearing aids, there was the ear trumpet. If you do not have advanced equipment, try an improvised ear trumpet. An ear trumpet is a funnel-shaped device that collects sound waves on the wide end and guides them toward the small end to the ear. You can use a funnel, cone, or even a rolled-up piece of paper. Walk around your home with the ear trumpet in hand and ear and see if you can locate the source of the hum.
  • Stethoscope: A stethoscope is great if the noise is coming from within the walls. Use a stethoscope to hear sounds that might be coming from fixtures, outlets, or wiring inside your walls. You can find a cheap version at your local drugstore or supermarket.
  • High-tech Options: Pull out any high-quality microphone and headphones you have. Power headphones and higher-tech investigation is ideal.
  • Method of Elimination: Try shutting off all of the circuit breakers. If you still hear the sound, then you know its not coming from your system. If you do hear the humming, then turn on the circuit breakers one at a time until you hear the buzzing again.

Once You Have Found It

There are several possible causes of the humming sound. Some of these are harmless, albeit irritating. Other causes including bad wiring and electrical failure can be awfully dangerous to your self and property. If you are concerned about your safety, please shut the circuit and call a local electrician from Neighborhood Electric for a safety inspection.

So, what could the causes be?

  • Light Bulbs: You may need to switch your light fixture. A simple switch of the lightbulb may also be a fix.
  • Electric and Gas Meters: New meters should be silent, but older ones can make some noise. Call your utility provider and ask for a replacement.
  • Appliances: Appliances that contain electric motors, such as dryers and refrigerators, or from electrical transformers outside your home may give off a humming sound. Unless the hum becomes a loud buzzing sound, mains hum is normal and harmless.
  • Wiring and Outlets: An outlet that is not grounded properly and wiring that is transferring voltage above its rated level may make a humming noise and could eventually spark a fire. Call an electrician to investigate these sounds.

If you have any questions or concerns about your circuit wiring, please call Neighborhood Electric for fast response times around the clock from certified and licensed electricians.