Buzz from breaker panel

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  #1  
Old 02-15-16, 07:02 AM
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Buzz from breaker panel

I heard a buzzing sound coming from my breaker panel, and traced it to a particular Crouse Hinds 20 amp breaker.

I manually turned that breaker off, and the buzz stopped. The breaker did not reset well: when I turned it back on it wanted to stay off. It stays on when I use more hand pressure than usual, and at least two of the electrical outlets on that circuit are not working. The circuit breaker is back in the ON position now, and the buzz has stopped.

Is this a fault in the circuit somewhere, or a bad breaker, or possibly both?

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 02-15-16, 07:48 AM
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It could be a bad breaker or it could be a circuit problem. You said two outlets were not working. If there are other outlets on that circuit that were working, and two that weren't then you have a wiring problem that should be corrected first. I'd leave the breaker off until you can address that problem.

A breaker that won't reset or is hard to reset can be a bad breaker, or it can have a load on it near or over its rating. Fix the wiring problem and then we can evaluate the breaker.
 
  #3  
Old 02-15-16, 07:48 AM
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Breakers will sometimes buzz if they are operating near the trip limit -- did that circuit have a large load on it like a space heater? Perhaps an almost-short circuit at one of those non-working receptacles?

Next guess would be a bad breaker, and while you're replacing it, inspect the bus stab(s) to make sure there isn't any burn marks or pitting which leads me to option 3.

A damaged bus stab can cause a weak connection which can make an arc or buzz sound, often accompanied by a hot / electrical smell and flickering of lights on that circuit.
 
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Old 02-15-16, 08:42 AM
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Thanks, Paul and Ben. I'll start by looking for faults.

And yes, there was a space heater on that circuit, which I've turned off.

Thanks for your replies!
 
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Old 02-15-16, 10:09 AM
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Something else to try is this. Turn off the heater before resetting the breaker. I have seen Crouse-Hinds breakers that would buzz every time if they were turned on under a heavy load. Remove the load to turn them on and then apply the load and all was good.
 
  #6  
Old 02-15-16, 11:43 AM
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Just a painter here but I had the same thing happen with my GE panel. I tightened the wire that connected to the breaker [didn't help] and then cleaned and tightened the connection. It would still buzz occasionally so I replaced the breaker. That was a year or so ago and I haven't heard it buzz since.
 
  #7  
Old 02-16-16, 07:06 AM
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Just to make life complicated, the two outlets that had quit working are back online, so there must be a fault like a loose connection. I had left the breaker on, and someone must have wiggled a plug in the socket, or something. I'll make some time to investigate that.

The buzz from the breaker has not returned, and i have a work station right by the panel so i'll be able to keep an eye on that.
 
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