Why Are My Lights Buzzing?

Posted On: March 15, 2016

Hearing your lights buzzing whenever you turn them on can be extremely irritating, whether it’s a loud buzzing or a low hum. Buzzing can occur no matter what type of lightbulbs you are using, whether you’ve got incandescent bulbs or LED bulbs. Buzzing can be caused by electrical shorts or loose fixtures. While you can fix loose fixtures yourself, electrical shorts should only be repaired by professionals.

However, the most common reason your lights are buzzing is the voltage being applied to the bulb. This isn’t necessarily the fault of your bulb — it can be caused by other devices sharing the same electrical line. Fortunately, that buzzing sound isn’t too difficult to get rid of.

Incandescent Light Buzzing

For the most part, incandescent lightbulbs are very quiet. The only time they typically make noise is when you have a dimmer installed on the fixture in question. A dimmer works by removing some of the voltage from the line so that the amount of energy reaching the incandescent lightbulb decreases, thereby dimming the light output.

The thing is, regular application and removal of voltage ends excite and cool the filament. When this happens, it results in the vibrations that are causing that buzzing sound.

The best way to ensure that the light doesn’t buzz is by using rough service bulbs. Rough service bulbs have a more supported filament that reduces the vibration, thereby silencing the buzzing sound.

Need new bulbs to replace your buzzing incandescent bulbs? Reach out to Jaffe Electric today for bulbs and replacement services! 

Fluorescent Light Buzzing

Fluorescent lights are known for two things when it comes to common problems — flickering and buzzing. A buzzing fluorescent light may need to be replaced, but it could also be caused by an old ballast.

The ballast is the device that is used to regulate a fluorescent light’s voltage. Similar to the buzzing caused in incandescent bulbs, buzzing in fluorescent lights with older ballasts is occurring due to the constant restriking that happens when the ballast is no longer able to regulate voltage properly.

If you’ve tried replacing the fluorescent bulb and it’s still buzzing, then replace the ballast. Avoid using a magnetic ballast as these use metal plates that vibrate in addition to an electromagnetic field that generates its own hum. An electrical ballast or a ballast that boasts a class A rating will eliminate the sound.

Need professional help replacing the ballast for your fluorescent lights? Contact us today, and we can help!

LED Light Buzzing

Unlike incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs do not have filament or firing arcs, which means that they have no moving parts that can cause a buzzing sound.

However, they can still produce a buzzing sound due to improper dimming or electromagnetic interference from other devices.

Always make sure that the dimmer you are using is compatible with LEDs to ensure no humming sound.

Do you need an updated dimmer to be compatible with LEDs? We offer dimmer switch installations for cases like these!

Call a Professional Electrician in Maryland

If you live in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, and have tried replacing your lightbulbs but they are still producing buzzing sounds, or if you suspect that you have an electrical short, then schedule an inspection with Jaffe Electric today.

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