Buzzing breaker - or not? Please advise.


Old 07-20-13, 01:07 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: USA
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Buzzing breaker - or not? Please advise.

Here's the issue from sunny Erie, PA: I noticed in the past few weeks that there is a buzzing noise coming from my breaker box whenever I run a high-load device on one of the circuits in my kitchen (i.e. - the microwave, the electric kettle). This morning, I finally got around to researching it, and decided that I needed to do some experimentation to see if I could determine whether I have a genuine, potentially dangerous problem... or not.

The first thing I did was to throw something in the microwave and start it up. Then I touched each breaker to find the one that was buzzing. I was kind of surprised to notice that the breaker that was buzzing was NOT the one for the circuit in my kitchen. It's the breaker for my living room lights, which is on the opposite side of the box. After feeling that the breaker was not warm, I tapped on it fairly gingerly, and the buzzing stopped. I have since done test runs with the microwave, the kettle, and the toaster (both with the living room lights breaker on and off) - the buzzing has not returned. Nothing in the box feels warm. There is none of that awful ozone/burning smell that I usually associate with electrical problems coming from the box.

Do you suppose the breaker for my living room lights was just a little loose, and was vibrating? Should I call my apartment complex maintenance guy and have him take a look anyway?
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Old 07-20-13, 02:22 PM
chandler's Avatar
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Welcome to the forums! Often breakers will become loose and will vibrate. It does not mean they are about to explode or anything, but since electricity vibrates, it will do the same. It could have been induced vibration from your Microwave breaker, but by touching it, you tightened it up and will probably not have any further problems. If it does, and it is a rental, yes, call maintenance and let them be the decision maker.

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