What Does a Buzzing Electrical Outlet Mean?

GFI Electrical outlet with single cord plugged into it

If you hear a faint buzzing noise in your home, it’s easy to chalk it up to noises coming from a fan or an electronic device left on. However, you might want to take a closer listen – it could be coming from your electrical outlet. While an outlet making noise might seem like a minor issue, it could be a sign of a larger issue that could cause serious harm to your home. Our electrical experts are here to explain what you need to know if you hear an electrical hum noise in your home:

What Does a Buzzing Electrical Outlet Mean?

An electrical outlet buzzing isn’t something to take lightly. Your home’s electricity is created by alternating currents, which change polarity nearly 50 times per second. Most of the time, the changeover produces no noise. However, when the current is interrupted, you might hear a humming or buzzing sound – also known as an electrical hum noise.

Leading Causes of a Buzzing Electrical Outlet

  • Loose Connections: The most common cause of an electrical outlet making noise are loose wires inside the outlet. This issue is most common in older homes with outdated wiring. If your home is more than 30 years old, our electricians recommend having your outlets inspected to ensure they’re operating efficiently. In some cases, it might be best to replace the outlet completely.
  • Breaker Issues: A faint humming noise coming from your breaker is normal. However, if you notice the hum is louder than usual, it’s best to consult an electrician to ensure your breaker isn’t putting out too many (or too few) amps.
  • Improper Installation: Improper installation is one of the most serious causes of an outlet making noises. Unfortunately, installation issues often result from working with unqualified electricians, whether it be a local handyman or a DIY job. The most common problem you’ll notice is reverse polarity, which causes the outlet’s hum to become louder as more items are plugged in. If you suspect improper installation, it’s best to contact a licensed electrician as soon as possible to avoid creating a dangerous situation.

Are Buzzing Electrical Outlets Dangerous?

Outlet with two cables plugged in, both are on fire. While an outlet making noise is common, it’s not an issue to be ignored. An electrical outlet buzzing could create a dangerous situation if left unrepaired. You might experience flickering lights, blown fuses, or warm outlets – all of which pose a fire hazard to your home. In extreme cases, you could experience an electric shock.

Don’t Wait to Call an Electrician

If you notice a buzzing electrical outlet in your home, it’s important to call an electrician sooner rather than later. The longer the problem is left, the worse it will get, putting your home – and your family – in danger. The team at Milton Electric has over 70 years of experience fixing even the most complex electrical problems. When you schedule an appointment with the team, a licensed electrician will come to your home, assess the issue, and make the necessary repairs to keep your home safe.


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At Milton Electric, we have the skills to handle various electrical tasks, from installing ceiling fans to wiring new homes. With our expertise and years of experience, we are committed to delivering top-notch electrical services that meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Trust us to get the job done right.

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