Having an annoying buzzing or humming noise coming from your electrical panel can be worrying and frustrating. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to troubleshoot and resolve buzzing panel issues.

What Causes Buzzing Noises in Electrical Panels?

There are a few potential culprits for buzzing noises coming from your electrical panel:

Loose Connections

One of the most common causes of electrical buzzing is loose connections. Over time, vibrations and heating/cooling cycles can cause connections between breakers, bus bars, and wires to become loose. This creates resistive connections that generate buzzing sounds.

Faulty Breakers

Faulty circuit breakers can also produce buzzing noises in panels. If a breaker is arcing internally or the contacts have become worn or corroded, it can cause a faint buzzing. This is often accompanied by a hot, burning smell from the breaker.

Bad Neutral-Ground Connections

Your panel's neutral and ground bus bars must be solidly bonded together. If this connection becomes loose or corroded, it can produce a loud buzzing or humming.


Some panels have transformers that convert high voltage to low voltage for lighting and controls. If a transformer is failing, it can emit buzzing noises that resonate through the panel.

Electric Motor Interference

Electric motors like those in fridges, AC units, and furnaces can sometimes produce buzzing noises that transfer through your home's electrical wiring back to the main panel. This often changes pitch when motors turn on and off.

Steps to Troubleshoot Buzzing Electrical Panels

Follow these steps to methodically track down the source of panel buzzing:

1. Locate the Buzzing Source

The first step is to listen carefully and try to locate the general source of the buzzing noise in or around the electrical panel. This can help narrow down the potential causes.

Get your head in the panel box and move it around to hear where the buzzing is loudest. Also listen around the outside of the panel and along the wall it is mounted on.

2. Check for Loose Wiring

With the power off, remove the panel cover and visually inspect wiring connections. Look for any loose, moveable, or corroded connections at breakers, neutral/ground bars, and wire lugs.

Gently wiggle each wire connection and breaker to check for looseness. Tighten any loose connections with the proper size screwdriver.

3. Check Neutral and Ground Connection

Verify the neutral and ground bus bars in the panel are securely bonded together. The bonding screw or strap should be tight.

If loose or corroded, sand off any corrosion, retighten the connection, and apply anti-oxidant paste to prevent further corrosion.

4. Check Breakers for Signs of Failure

Inspect each breaker for signs of failure or arcing - burn marks, melted plastic, cracked cases, etc. Operate each breaker off and on to check for abnormal buzzing.

Replace any suspect breakers with new ones of the same amperage rating and type.

5. Listen for Interference from Motors

Turn off major motor-driven appliances like the AC, fridge, washer, etc to see if the buzzing stops. This can indicate noise transfer through the wiring from a faulty motor.

If the buzzing changes when you turn these appliances on and off, the motor may need servicing or replacement.

6. Contact an Electrician

If you cannot resolve the issue through basic troubleshooting, contact a licensed electrician to inspect and properly diagnose the cause of the buzzing. They have specialized tools and expertise to efficiently track down obscure electrical issues.

Preventing Future Electrical Buzzing Issues

To help avoid buzzing issues down the road:

Following basic preventive maintenance practices for your home's electrical system can help avoid annoying electrical buzzing issues and ensure safe, reliable power delivery.