While we expect our plumbing or HVAC systems to be a little noisy, electrical systems are a little different. Whether you’re turning on a light or plugging something in, we don’t expect the electrical system itself to make any noise. In fact, when your wiring or electrical fixtures are making sound, it could be a sign something is wrong.
Rather than just wait and see if the noise goes away on its own, consider calling an electrician in Omaha. They can identify the source of your problem and offer safe, effective solutions. With their help, you can count on your electrical system to continue to run silently and efficiently.
First, Why Are These Sounds a Sign of Trouble?
Electric currents travel throughout your home via the wiring before reaching the outlet or appliance you want to use. While electricity can be dangerous, the current in your wiring is almost always safely insulated with a protective layer of rubber or similar material. But if this connection is damaged or loose, the electric current can separate from the wiring. When this happens, you can start to experience problems.
As the electric current leaves its existing connection, it will immediately seek out the closest material to form another connection. This is known as an electric arc. Air is normally somewhat resistant to electricity, but the currents found in your home’s wiring are strong enough to cause an electrical arc if the connection is detached.
Electricity can cause personal injury and produces enough heat to start a fire. If this happens inside your home, the damage can be severe and widespread. But since wiring is hidden for safety reasons, a damaged or loose connection may not be visible. This is why listening for unusual electrical sounds can be beneficial.
First, you should know that buzzing sounds aren’t always a sign of trouble. Many electrical systems and products produce a buzzing sound as the electric current flows through the wiring. Buzzing sounds are especially common in grounded outlets, which protect the outlet and device from an electrical surge.
But if you hear a louder buzzing sound right as you go to plug something in, that could be an issue. In this case, the buzzing sound is most likely a loose connection between the outlet and the plug. An experienced electrician can replace the outlet or even determine if the buzzing is coming from the fixture instead.
Instead of an angry cat in your walls, a hissing sound is commonly the result of overheating. If your home’s wiring is damaged, the high heat produced by an electric current can wear away at the rubber insulation protecting your wires. As the rubber burns or melts away, it can produce a hissing sound.
And like buzzing sounds, a hiss could also be a sign of a detached connection. You won’t know for sure unless there’s visible damage. Don’t hesitate to reach out to qualified electricians in Omaha since they have the experience to navigate electrical problems safely.
Electrical arcing is the most likely source of a crackling or sizzling sound. In fact, this sound will sometimes mean that electricity is actively arcing between connections. You can hear this near your electrical panel as you flip a breaker on or off. In fact, a breaker might be already tripped if your electrical system is damaged.
You could also hear this noise if electricity is arcing in a wire or outlet. Even if you remove the outlet covering or make the wiring visible, you won’t always see an arc. This is because the arc can be invisible at lower voltages, but that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Any electrical arcs in your home could cause a fire or other damage.
Despite sounding a little different, a popping sound is also commonly a result of electrical arcing. This is because a brief electrical arc is almost like a miniature explosion as the electric current jumps between connections almost instantaneously. You can hear this sound both at an outlet or at your home’s main electrical panel.
How to Safely Look for Electrical Damage
At an outlet: unplug any devices or appliances. Once they’re unplugged, turn off the switch that controls the outlet and then remove the outlet cover completely.
Using a flashlight, inspect the wires inside the outlet box. If you see any sparking or charring, go ahead and contact an electrician. But if the wires don’t look damaged, you can try to gently tighten each wire around its screw terminal. Once they’re secure, replace the outlet cover and turn the power back on. Test the outlet by plugging something in. If it still buzzes, it’s time to call the electrician.
At the electrical panel: Look for tripped breakers or visible signs of damage like scorch marks. Because the electrical panel delivers electricity to the rest of your house, it’s typically best to leave diagnostics to a professional electrician in Omaha.
With specialized tools and years of experience, telling a professional electrician what you’ve heard offers important clues. Where do you hear the sound loudest? Are any lights or devices flickering on and off? This and other information can help you reach a lasting solution to your electrical problem.