Intermittent buzz in circuit breaker panel

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Old 08-30-16, 10:37 AM
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Exclamation Intermittent buzz in circuit breaker panel

Hi,

Starting today we noticed a 5-7 second buzz that we traced back to the panel box. It happens irregularly and does not seem to coincide with the A/C cycling. To me it's a bad breaker, but I'm not sure.

Doing construction on the house, but have not touched anything electrical in over a year.

Any ideas on what this is?

If it's a bad breaker, how do I trace it down?

Is there any danger?

Thanks guys.
 
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Old 08-30-16, 10:41 AM
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It's usually heard on large current draw circuits.....
electric range
electric water heater
air conditioner
dehumidifier

It does not necessarily signify a defective breaker.
Most breakers are thermal/magnetic and based on the load can buzz when the load is connected.
 
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Old 08-30-16, 11:10 AM
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PJmax - thanks.

Almost nothing is running in the house, just two computers, some lights and the A/C. Nothing that you mentioned.

So where does that leave me? Sfaety?
 
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Old 08-30-16, 11:19 AM
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You could turn the main breaker off and then tighten the screws on the individual breakers.
You CANNOT tighten the screws on the main breaker.

My Square D QO panel has been buzzing for years. I can hear when the A/C starts and the pool motor.
 
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Old 08-30-16, 12:05 PM
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Almost nothing is running in the house, just two computers, some lights and the A/C. Nothing that you mentioned.
Even though PJmax did mention it directly in his first reply, the A/C has a large current draw.
 
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Old 08-30-16, 02:03 PM
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@pattenp: It doesn't correspond w/the A/C cycle.

@PJmax: meaning a potential arc on the connector screws?

Safety?

Thanks.
 
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Old 08-30-16, 02:20 PM
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breaker buzz

what brand is the breaker panel? does it buzz all the time? how old is the panel?
 
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Old 08-30-16, 05:59 PM
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The panel is a Crouse Hinds from the 80's.
 
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Old 08-31-16, 04:22 PM
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The panel is a Crouse Hinds from the 80's.
I am a bit familiar with those. On a Crouse-Hinds panel I found that if I turned the 30 amp breaker for the A-C on under load it would buzz. If I turned the A-C system off at the thermostat first and then turned the 30 amp breaker on, the breaker would not buzz when turning the A-C system back on at the thermostat. This was an older system with no time delay. I think it's more of a Crouse-Hinds thing than a hazard. One thing you could try once you identify which breaker is buzzing is to replace it, but Crouse-Hinds breakers are no longer manufactured. You could though use Eaton/Cutler-Hammer BR series breakers in Crouse-Hinds panels. They are listed as Bryant BR breakers on the panel label as acceptable to be used.
 
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Old 09-01-16, 05:50 AM
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Thanks CasualJoe.

I know we have some breakers that are not Crouse-Hinds but I'll have to see who made them.

Safety is the real concern. I don't want a fire. How do I determine when we've crossed the threshold into an unsafe situation?
 
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