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Buzzing sound from an electrical box

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  • Buzzing sound from an electrical box

    I have pretty much no knowledge in this area so pardon the question... recently, we started to notice a buzzing sound coming from the attic. Our attic is unfinished and pretty much just holds the AC/heater units (2 total), hot water heater and some other things I couldn't identify. I went up into the attic and the sound appears to be originating from a small electrical box (maybe 4" square) that's attached to a beam. It's near the switches (look like light switches) that turn on/off the AC/heater units. The electrical box making the sound has a couple wires coming into it and at least one grounding wire. There's no switch or anything else. When I whack on it (I assume that's the professional term) firmly with my knuckles the sound flucuates. It might get higher pitched, lower pitched or go mostly away.

    Is this something I need to have an electrician look at? Is the sound "normal" or does it indicate a problem that needs to be fixed?

  • #2
    Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

    Off the top of my head, I would say you have a choice of making two calls--first to an electrician and second ( if you wait long enough before making the first) to the fire department.

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    • #3
      Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

      Originally posted by Pipestone Kid View Post
      Off the top of my head, I would say you have a choice of making two calls--first to an electrician and second ( if you wait long enough before making the first) to the fire department.
      And in the mean time turn off the breakers that feed it.

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      • #4
        Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

        Originally posted by Pipestone Kid View Post
        Off the top of my head, I would say you have a choice of making two calls--first to an electrician and second ( if you wait long enough before making the first) to the fire department.
        I don't mind calling an electrician to avoid my house burning down. Out of curiosity, do you know what may be causing this?

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        • #5
          Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

          Could be a contactor/relay. Probably something to do with the mechanical equipment.

          When you flip the switch off for the furnace does the sound stop? If it does call your mechanical guy 1st. Electricians usually won't mess with control wiring components.

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          • #6
            Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

            get out of the house now!!!!
            Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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            • #7
              Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

              Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post
              get out of the house now!!!!
              Are you being funny or should I seriously consider evacuating immediately?

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              • #8
                Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

                Originally posted by davidadner View Post
                Are you being funny or should I seriously consider evacuating immediately?
                I think the buzzing could be an arc or some other sort of bad thing. You should really just turn off power to whatever this is until you can have someone take a look.

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                • #9
                  Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

                  as plumbers crack said contactors (a heavy duty relay) can buzz when there energized, as they use a magnetic coil to pull the contacts together, if it buzzes when the heaters, (I think you said electric heat), by turning off the AC/heat, and it stops then it is at least in connection with the AC units, if you turn them off and it is still making noise then it may not be associated with the AC units,

                  but a poor connection could cause some noise as well,

                  IF the box is hot, (feel the box and see if it is hot or warmer than what you think it should be) I would definitely be getting some professional help into decide if you have a problem or one developing,

                  Transformers can make noise as well if there not mounted tight,

                  to be on the safe side of things I would probably get some one in there with some knowledge of the systems and give you guidance as to if you have a hazard or not,

                  but I do not think if it was all working correctly you would have a noise you could hear from a distance,

                  Simply stated you could have controls that could make a buzzing noise with out any danger associated with it, but then there are things that could be dangerous. with out seeing it and actually knowing what is in that box (and why it is making noise) I do not think any one on the Net can tell you with any certainty if you have a problem or jsut a noise,
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                  • #10
                    Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

                    Originally posted by BHD View Post

                    IF the box is hot, (feel the box and see if it is hot or warmer than what you think it should be) I would definitely be getting some professional help into decide if you have a problem or one developing,



                    Be sure to turn off power to it first no sense in getting nailed if it's a metal box and a hot conductor is touching it.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

                      Originally posted by cpw View Post
                      I think the buzzing could be an arc or some other sort of bad thing. You should really just turn off power to whatever this is until you can have someone take a look.
                      My buddy had an old "Arrow Hart" 200 amp main panel. They had crummy bus bars. The main breaker would arc and a little puff of smoke would come out of it when his wife would turn her iron on down cellar. She was VERY nervous! I took my pal over to HD and picked up a new Bryant panel. Pulled the meter out and went down and stuck the Allen wrench into the main breaker and lit up like a christmas tree. What the h*ll? Went up and found two stainless steel jumpers in the meter box. The guy he bought the house from worked for the electric co. Go figure.

                      Buck

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                      • #12
                        Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

                        Was the previous owner biting the hand that feed him?

                        I would have thought the bypass bars the previous owner installed would have caused a 100% bypass, thus tipping his hand. Or does the size of the bus bars control the amount of bypass?



                        Jeff

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                        • #13
                          Re: Buzzing sound from an electrical box

                          Originally posted by JohnsIsland View Post
                          Was the previous owner biting the hand that feed him?

                          I would have thought the bypass bars the previous owner installed would have caused a 100% bypass, thus tipping his hand. Or does the size of the bus bars control the amount of bypass?



                          Jeff
                          Jeff they were thin jumpers so I'm sure they didn't take the whole load when the draw was heavy.

                          Buck

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