Recessed Lights buzzing noise


Old 03-25-04, 09:56 AM
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Recessed Lights buzzing noise

Does anyone know what causes the buzzing noise in recessed lights? In my basement I just installed 4 recessed lights on one wall-box and another 8 recessed lights on another wall-box. Two nights ago I put in Par38 50watt halogen bulbs with 600watt dimmers, they did not make any buzzing noise but it was very dark. So last night I got the Par38 100watt halogen bulbs with 1000watt dimmers. The room was definitely brighter, but the cans and the switches were make this small buzzing noise. I looked in one of the Halo cans and there was a sticker saying Par38 should have max 60watt bulbs (doh!). My questions are:
1) is it safe if I use the 100w bulbs (100w x 8bulbs with 1000w dimmer & 100w x 4bulbs with 1000w dimmer)? I read the warning, but at home we have lights that use higher wattage bulbs than recommend and they work fine for years.
2) What's making that buzzing noise? Is it the fact that I'm using non-recommended bulbs? Or because I'm using a cheap $20 1000w rotary dimmer?
3) What do you recommend me using? I'd like to get a lot of lights and max coverage in the basement. I also like the warm natural light I get from halogen bulbs. Right now I have Par38 and Baffle trim. Will I get the same effect with "R" with reflector trim? I think I can go up to 75w with "R" bulbs.
Thank you so much for your help!!
Old 03-27-04, 02:56 AM
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The noise you are hearing is the filament vibrating or the filament not having a stong enough supports to handle the light being dimmed,due to the manner in which it is being dimmed. I bet your lights are at its loudest at about 50% dimmed or so? The reason this noise began is because when you switched to higher wattage bulb, you also switched to a bulb that has a longer filament. Longer filament=more chance of vibration to be audible.

here is what I would do - Unscrew all but 1 light bulb, dim the lights down and see if you still hear the noise. If not, then screw in another. Try to isolate the problem to the light bulb that is causeing the noise. This vibrating characteristic is generally not a characteristic of the bulb type or brand but the individual bulb itself. then just replace it and see what happens.

You can also try bulbs rated for 3000+ hours (for
example: Philips Halogena, Sylvania Daylight Plus, GE XL Ultra) tend to have a much more firmly supported filament and do operate very quietly when dimmed.

you should hear the way a 1000W light bulb humms
Old 03-27-04, 01:44 PM
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Buzzing lights

Buzzing noise can also be caused by low quality dimmer switch. This comes from vibrations in the bulb filament caused by the chopped-up current coming from the triac. Better dimmer switches have extra components to squelch the buzzing effect.

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