Electrical Hum: What Is It and Should I Worry?

Called the “mains” hum by electricians and savvy homeowners, the electrical hum emerges from appliances because electricity needs to travel through alternating current, which transfers voltage in the pattern of a sine wave.

The Science Behind Electrical Hum

Depending on power line frequency, the sound can be 50 Hz or 60 Hz. It is low and has a heavy harmonic content. The presence of mains current in audio equipment, as well as the electromagnetic fields from wiring and electrical appliances, can contribute to the hum.

Since the electrical hum is mainly dependent on the frequency of the current, the sound will have a very similar frequency as its current. In the United States, for example, the frequency is 60 Hz tone. The 60 Hz is almost solely used in the United States and other territories. The rest of the world has a 50 Hz tone, with a resulting G note.

You Could Have Many Culprits

  • Light Dimmers – Dimmers actually do not dim the lights. What it does is flash the lights on and off so fast that the human eye can not perceive it. The constant on and off cycle of the light bulbs is what may be causing the humming sound.
  • Faulty wiring – Wiring is the veins of electricity – and faulty or older wiring may be contributing to the humming sound.
  • Issues with the circuit breaker – The circuit breaker will emit a low hum if it is overloaded with current and not shut off as it was designed to do. It could be an issue with wiring or a specific circuit.

Many of these issues can be easily fixed, like switching out a light bulb to sturdier service lights, or resetting the circuit breaker. If you are not sure as to what is causing the electrical hum in your come, contact Tim Kyle Electric, Heating & Cooling Service. 30,000 shock accidents occur each year, so hesitance to remedy the problem on your own is reasonable.

To learn more about what it means if you have an electrical hum coming from your outlets, get in touch with Tim Kyle Electric, Heating & Cooling. You can talk to an expert about new installations of lighting and wiring, among other things, for your home or business.


About Tim Kyle Electric, Heating & Cooling

Tim Kyle Electric, Heating & Cooling has been delighting our customers with responsive, trusted and professional electrical services since 1986. We provide residential, commercial and solar power services and are experts in our field. Our team of professionally trained employees uphold our core values of honesty, respect and integrity. We are available 24/7 for your electrical servicing needs. Get in touch with us today to discuss your next electrical project.

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