A faulty breaker box can result in electrical hazards that put you and your family at risk of injury. It can also lead to major damage to your home. To keep you safe, we’ve compiled a list of common breaker box noises, what they mean and what you should do.

Common Breaker Box Noises

Following are some of the typical sounds you might hear from a breaker box along with a description of the potential causes of these issues.


Breaker boxes often make a faint buzzing or humming sound. If you notice the sound is unusually loud, you should contact an electrician to fix your electrical panel right away. There’s a good chance the breaker box has a loose or damaged wire.

Don’t attempt to solve this issue by yourself. You’ll likely run into electrical arcs when trying to fix the problem, which happen when electricity jumps from one wire to the next. If you’re in the crosspath of one of these arcs, you’ll get electrocuted.


Turn off any appliance that results in a hissing noise from the breaker box. For example, you hear a hissing noise when you turn on the dryer. This indicates a loose connection somewhere between the dryer and the breaker box.

An electrician can easily fix this problem. They will also retighten all connections to ensure no more wires come loose and that there are no screw heads touching any wires.


All breaker boxes make a soft humming sound. However, if you notice humming also coming from your home’s electrical outlets, it means you have a tripped circuit breaker due to an excessive load.

Overloading a circuit with too many high-powered devices is a common cause of this problem. If and when this happens, you should unplug all devices and contact an electrician as soon as possible.


A crackling or sizzling noise almost always results from electrical arcing between terminals. You’ll likely hear this sound when you turn on or off a breaker near your electrical panel. If the sound continues, you should turn off the breaker immediately.

It’s not always possible to notice an arc, especially if there is no outlet cover or there is an exposed wire. This is because at lower voltages, the arc may not be visible; nonetheless, this does not make them harmless. A fire or other disaster might result from electrical arcs in your house if you don’t have an electrician fix them.


A popping noise, albeit somewhat different in tone from sizzling or crackling, is likewise often the consequence of electrical arcing. Since electric current travels across connections rapidly during an electrical arc, the effect is similar to a small explosion. You can usually hear the sound at either an electrical outlet or the main panel in your house.

Signs of a Bad Breaker Box

Homeowners should learn how to recognize the warning indications of a faulty breaker. Doing so can help prevent damage to the home and keep homeowners and their families safe. If you suspect that your circuit breaker is malfunctioning, keep in mind the following:

Check for Obvious Damage

Look for warping, corrosion, burning or other visible evidence of physical deterioration in the breaker box or panel. This may indicate that the circuit breaker has been repeatedly tripped and is no longer doing its job. Even if you’re using an older breaker, it shouldn’t have any obvious signs of deterioration or corrosion.

Check Your Circuit Breaker for Weird Sounds

Always pay close attention to the breaker if you hear any unusual sounds, like loud humming, crackling or hissing. These noises indicate an overloaded breaker that’s struggling to provide power. To avoid additional damage, turn off the circuit breaker and unplug any equipment linked to it.

Problem Persists After Resetting the Tripped Breaker

When a breaker trips but won’t remain in the reset position, this indicates it is faulty. The only way to have it safely fixed is to contact an experienced electrician.

Increased Flickering Lights

It’s one thing for your lights to flicker sometimes because a bulb is loose, but if it’s happening more often than normal, this indicates that the circuit is already overloaded, requiring a check.

Turning off the power and physically inspecting your light bulbs is the best way to determine whether the flickering is the result of a faulty breaker. If you notice a strange noise in addition to the lights flickering, contact an electrician to fix the problem before it leads to injury or damage to your home.

The Breaker Box Makes Strange Noises When the AC Turns On

Air conditioners receive power via connections to a circuit breaker box. A lot of times, when the AC kicks on, you’ll hear a noticeable humming noise from the breaker. While this isn’t cause for concern, if you notice that the sound is louder than usual, this indicates that something isn’t right.

An abnormal buzzing noise coming from the breaker box when the AC turns on could mean you have a loose wire connection. When left unfixed, the loose connection can cause sparks that can result in fire. Hopefully, the breaker box will trip the circuit, cutting the power to ensure no fire hazard. Regardless, this is definitely a problem you need to have fixed as soon as possible.

Your breaker box’s ability to trip when overloaded is crucial to the part’s function and its purpose of keeping your wiring, house and air conditioner safe. Overloading it doesn’t always result in tripping and can lead to a buzzing noise in the breaker box that indicates a potentially explosive scenario. To address this problem, you should have an electrician replace the bad breaker box immediately.

Should I Replace a Bad Breaker?

If your breaker box is faulty, it should be replaced, but you should never attempt to do it on your own. This fixture delivers electricity to your entire house, which is why you should hire a professional electrician instead of performing electrical work yourself.

Checking for tripped breakers or other obvious evidence of damage, such as burn marks, is generally safe, but diagnostics are best left to a professional electrician in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Telling the electrician about any strange noises you hear from the breaker box will help fix the problem at hand, so make sure to share them.

Schedule a Breaker Box Inspection Now

Don’t delay in scheduling a breaker box inspection if you notice it making strange noises. Keep in mind that hearing hissing or buzzing from any electrical outlet in your home can indicate problems with the breaker box. Contact Bacon Plumbing Heating Air Electric now to schedule a breaker box inspection. We specialize in a variety of electrical services, as well as AC repair, ductless air conditioning, furnace maintenance, heat pumps, hydro jetting, sewer line repairs and more.

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