My Electrical Outlet Is Buzzing – What’s Going On?

My Electrical Outlet Is Buzzing – What’s Going On?

If your electrical outlet is buzzing it could indicate that a connection has come loose or you have a bad outlet. The buzzing sound itself is actually the alternating current you are hearing. It’s usually a sign you need an outlet repair or replacement.

If your electrical outlet is making a popping or crackling sound, this is a sign of a problem that needs immediate action. Turn off the power to the affected outlet by turning off the circuit breaker and call an electrician to troubleshoot the problem. The popping sound is nearly always the sound of an electrical spark which may lead to an outlet blowing and this has a potential to causing a fire. Keep in mind that the popping sound may not be continual. It might start up for a bit, then go away. Nonetheless, the situation should be taken seriously any time you hear your electrical outlet popping or crackling.

What if the outlet is warm to the touch?

A warm or hot to the touch electrical outlet means something is not functioning correctly. It may not warrant an immediate call to an electrician, but it should be investigated and remedied. Some commons causes for a hot electrical outlet include:

  • AC / DC Transformer Use – Laptops and other devices that use transformers to plug in convert electric power for use, and the process can sometimes warm the outlet. When this happens, give a test by unplugging the device. If your outlet is still hot after an hour or so, it’s often a sign of a bigger issue and you should call an electrician.
  • Excessive Device Use in Outlets – More devices require more electricity, and more electricity mean more heat. Try relocating devices to other available outlets.
  • Damaged Outlets – Outlets do wear out and go bad, and when a hot outlet may mean the outlet is struggling to control the flow of electricity, causing it to heat up.
  • Power Strip & Extension Cord Overload – Each device you plug into an outlet requires a certain amount of electricity to power it. When you utilize extension cords, you may be demanding more energy than the circuit can safely deliver.
  • Space Heating Units & Other High Power Devices – The CSPC advises the following – “Use special, heavy duty extension cords for high wattage appliances such as air conditioners, portable electric heaters and freezers.” Most space heaters come with warnings to never plug the unit into a power strip and instead to plug the unit directly into the wall outlet. Not following this hazard warning can contribute to overheating and melting of some units, and in some cases, electrical fire.

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