Why Are My Lights Buzzing?

A Complete Guide to Fixing Your Buzzing Lights

Four people's arms holding up different light bulbs. Light blue/teal background.

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 happen no matter what type of lightbulbs you’re using, whether you have incandescent, fluorescent, or LED bulbs.

The Most Common Cause of Buzzing Light Fixtures

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.

Buzzing can also be caused by electrical shorts or loose fixtures. While you can fix loose fixtures yourself, electrical shorts should only be repaired by professionals. 

The Main Reason LED Lights Are Buzzing

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

However, LED lights can still make a buzzing sound due to improper dimming or electromagnetic interference from other devices. Always make sure the dimmer you’re 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.

Why Your Incandescent Light Is 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 the amount of energy reaching the incandescent lightbulb decreases, dimming the light output.

Regular application and removal of voltage ends excite and cool the filament. This causes vibrations that make 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? Contact Michael Bonsby today for bulbs and replacements

Why Your Fluorescent Lights Are 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’s used to regulate a fluorescent light’s voltage. Similar to the buzzing caused in incandescent bulbs, buzzing in fluorescent lights with older ballasts occurs due to the constant restriking that happens when the ballast can no longer 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 has 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.

Call a Professional Electrician in Maryland

If you live in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, and have tried replacing your lightbulbs but they’re still buzzing, or if you suspect there’s an electrical short, the team at Michael Bonsby is ready to help.

Schedule an inspection by contacting Michael Bonsby today.

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