humming from electrical panel

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Old 02-06-15, 06:15 AM
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humming from electrical panel

There is an annoying hum form the electrical panel that I can hear in an upstairs room through the wall. I can only assume it's coming through the cavities somehow.
I switched off every breaker one by one whilst putting my ear against the panel and there is definitely one breaker that hums more.
When I turn off the main breaker level, it stops altogether so I guess that rules out the meter/main supply causing the hum?
Any other ideas? Should I replace that breaker?
 
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Old 02-06-15, 06:21 AM
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What brand and approximate age of the breaker? What does that breaker control? Is it warm/hot or smell funky? There are a few potential causes, one is that the breaker is going bad and needs to be replaced; the other is that the breaker is very close to being overloaded and is on the verge of tripping all the time; the final, much more serious cause, is that the breaker has a weak connection to the bus bar and is arcing and overheating.
 
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Old 02-06-15, 06:28 AM
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I think it's been buzzing for a long time (years probably).
I think there are actually 2 breakers. When I turn 1 off, that powers the doorbell, it reduces.
When I turn another off (that powers lights upstairs), it reduces again.
The only sure thing is that if I turn off the main level (200A), it stops.
Siemens breaker, 200A panel, breaker may be 12-15 years old.
 
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Old 02-06-15, 06:32 AM
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The buzzing could actually be the doorbell transformer. Those are sometimes mounted in or around the main panel, and they can make a ton of noise.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 06:16 AM
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So, I turned off 2 circuits where I could hear a small hum inside the panel but it doesn't seem to have helped.
When I turned off the whole 200A panel breaker, the hum is still there - sounds like it's coming from the electrical meter outside - is that possible?
 
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Old 02-09-15, 07:11 AM
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... The only sure thing is that if I turn off the main level (200A), it stops ...
... When I turned off the whole 200A panel breaker, the hum is still there ...
Which is it?

If you turned off the main breaker then there would be no power going through the meter and therefore I would expect that the meter would not hum even if it did when power was on. Meanwhile I have never heard hum from a meter before.
 

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Old 02-09-15, 07:34 AM
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It seems to be temperamental.
I'm wondering if it could be the wireless signal on the meter emitting?

Yesterday, when I turned off the main breaker, the hum was still there that I could hear on the inside wall behind where the meter is mounted.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 07:51 AM
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A signal? No. I suppose it could be a low voltage transformer inside the meter if that is a component of your digital meter. I don't know much about those but I suppose it's possible. I've never encountered a buzzing meter, at least one that wasn't actively melting.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 07:59 AM
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Hmmmm,that's odd, is there anything else in the wall like a water pipe that could be vibrating when a circulator was running?
Just a thought
Geo
 
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Old 02-09-15, 08:35 AM
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The water system has a reservoir and a pump from a well but turning off the panel would turn that off too and the humming doesn't stop. It's a low level frequency hum that resonates throughout the house or perhaps on the outside of the house. Guess the joists and cavities act like a drum to carry the sound maybe?
 
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Old 02-09-15, 11:39 AM
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That could be, but with the main breaker off that leaves very few options for what could be making the noise. Perhaps a mechanical attic ventilator (whirly bird)?
 
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