5 Reasons Your House Makes a Vibrating Humming Noise

circuit breaker noise

Last updated: December 23, 2022 at 11:28 am

Our homes are our havens, so it can be incredibly frustrating when we discover a vibrating or humming noise within them. This then gets more frustrating when we realise, we are unsure as to where the noise is coming from. If you’ve noticed a vibrating or humming noise in your home, it may be due to any number of things.

The most common reasons your home is humming is either lightbulbs and fixtures, circuit breakers, loose pipes, wiring and outlets or appliances. Let’s look at each of these in detail.

1. Lightbulbs and Fixtures

lightbulb humming

Often, lightbulbs and light fixtures can hum or vibrate. This is not usually cause for concern, but it can be quite irritating, especially if more than one lightbulb or fixture in your home is humming.

Identifying if It Is light Fittings Vibrating/Humming

Determining whether your lightbulbs and fittings are the root of the problem is really very simple. All you have to do is turn off your lights in whatever room the noise is most prominent and see if you can still hear the noise.

If you can, then it is unlikely to be the lights, especially if you can still hear the noise sometime after turning them off.

Why Do Lightbulbs Hum?

Incandescent bulbs often hum when on dimmers, as the dimmers reduce the voltage from the line, which causes the filaments in the lightbulb to vibrate. Fluorescent bulbs are the most likely to hum, and often older bulbs will flicker and hum – these bubs should be replaced.

Fluorescent bulbs act in this way when the ballast is old or malfunctioning, meaning that it cannot properly regulate the voltage of the lights, causing the filaments to vibrate. LED lightbulbs do not have filaments, and so are much less likely to hum or buzz.

However, if you try to set up a dimmer with non-dimmable LED bulbs, you may hear a buzzing. Occasionally LED bulbs buzz or vibrate due to electromagnetic interference, too.

How to Stop Lightbulbs Buzzing

The easiest way to stop your lightbulbs from making any noise is usually just to swap out the old bulb with new. This helps if your noisy lightbulb is caused by a dying ballast or just a bulb generally on its way out.

Alternatively, you might choose to replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, CFL bulbs or rough service bulbs. These all have much thicker filaments or no filaments at all, which reduces the amount of vibration able to happen within a bulb.

You could also try to upgrade your dimmer or ballast. Poor quality dimmers and ballasts are often the cause of humming and buzzing from lightbulbs, so installing a higher quality piece of kit often helps to stop the noises.

If none of these methods work to stop your noisy lights, contact an electrician for expert troubleshooting.

2. Circuit Breakers

circuit breaker noise

Circuit breakers normally produce a slight, unnoticeable hum. This is caused by the vibration of the electrical currents, and you don’t usually have to do anything about it. In fact, you are unlikely to notice it unless stood next to it. Other noises, however, should be addressed.

Identifying if It Is My Fuse Box Vibrating/Humming

If you’ve noticed that there is a distinct humming or vibrating sound within your home, but you’re unsure where it might be coming from, try standing by the fusebox. Turn all of the circuit breakers off and see if you can still hear the noise. If you can, it is not likely to be a circuit breaker issue. If the noise is gone, then it is likely to be fusebox-related.

Try turning one circuit breaker on at a time and seeing whether the noise returns. This will help you to identify where exactly the vibrating/humming noise is coming from.

Why Is My Fuse Box Humming?

There are a few reasons that a fuse box or circuit breaker may vibrate or hum. Your circuit breaker might have a loose or damaged wire. It might also be that a particular circuit breaker is malfunctioning and not tripping when it should.

Instead, it is becoming overloaded, and this is causing it to vibrate and/or hum.

How to Stop Circuit Breakers Humming

If your circuit breakers are loose or damaged, you should contact an electrician. Should you yourself be a qualified electrician, you should fix the loose or damaged wire. Likewise, if you have identified a ‘bad’ breaker that is not tripping, you should get a professional to replace the breaker as soon as possible.

It is important to get these issues dealt with quickly, as left unattended they are fire risks and could lead to catastrophe.

3. Loose Pipes

loose pipes

Pipes can cause a whole range of issues within the home, but one of the most frustrating issues that pipes can cause in a home is this vibrating/humming sound.

Identifying if It Is My Pipes Vibrating/Humming

It is more difficult to determine whether your pipes are the cause of the vibrating or humming noise. The best way to do so is by process of elimination. If the other potential causes appear to not be the cause of your noisy home, then begin to check through each pipe you can access.

Be aware that it may be an inaccessible pipe causing the noise, and to check as well as fix the pipe, you may have to make holes in walls.

Why Are My Pipes Loose?

Vibrations caused by rushing water can cause the brackets and straps holding pipes to the wall to become loose, allowing them to vibrate further.

This causes a rattling or vibrating noise to occur which, if the pipe is in an inopportune place, can reverberate throughout the property.

How to Stop Pipes Vibrating/Humming

If the pipe that is causing the noise is easily accessible, you can re-tighten or reattach the loose strap or bracket. You may also choose to add a buffer. These are small pieces of padding, rubber, or MLV that you can wrap around your pipe before you clamp down the strap or bracket. This reduces the noise and effect of any vibrations within the pipe.

For inaccessible pipes, you can add padding to the accessible sections of the offending pipe. For more noise reduction, you will have to open up the wall and either reattach your pipe or use a can of spray foam insulation to surround the pipe and hold it in place.

4. Wiring and Outlets

wiring making noise

Without outlets, our homes would be pretty much unusable to the modern person. Yet when they begin to hum or vibrate, it can often be very distracting – especially if multiple outlets are doing it at once.

Identifying if It Is Outlets/Wiring That are Vibrating/Humming

The simplest way to tell if your outlet or wiring is the cause of any noise is to turn off the outlet, or to turn off the circuit breaker related to it. If the noise continues, it is evidently caused by something else.

Why Are My Outlets Vibrating/Humming?

There are a few reasons your outlets might be making noise. It might be that there are some connectivity problems – your wiring might be worn down and the connections may be coming loose as a result. This can cause an electrical buzz.

Alternatively, it might be an electricity imbalance. If your breaker is sending either too much or too little electricity throughout your home, there is often a low electrical humming heard throughout the property. Or your outlets might not have been installed correctly, and there may be a polarity issue.

This means that the charge coming to the outlet might have been reversed or tampered with when the outlet was fitted.

How to Stop Outlets Vibrating/Humming

The best port of call if your outlets are humming is to call an electrician out to inspect and potentially correct any issues with the wiring or outlets in your home.

5. Appliances

appliance vibrating humming

Our homes are full of electrical appliances that can often create a buzzing or humming noises. These appliances are often essential, and we might not consider them as a possible cause for any noise within our homes.


Fridges are quite often noisy anyway, but if your fridge starts to make more noise than usual – you might want to check it out. Your fridge may begin to make noise if there are any blockages in the air vent. This is an easy issue to solve, as it just involves reorganising your fridge and making sure all the vents are clear.

Otherwise, the noise is likely caused by a malfunctioning or noisy compressor. The compressor is located at the back of the fridge, between the wall and the refrigerator itself.

To check whether your compressor is faulty or just dirty, simply disconnect the power to your fridge and clean the compressor and condenser fan gently but thoroughly.

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About the Author: AJ

AJ is a self-confessed soundproofing nut. He has written full-time on Quiet Living for the past 4 years, and has a wealth of knowledge about living a quieter life, soundproofing and fixing loud noises.


  1. Hi I have a loud humming in my house seems to be getting louder. Don’t know where it’s coming from tried turning all electricity off no difference Any help would be appreciated thanks.

    1. I had this same problem in the house I owned 10 years ago. It was worse at night, and downright maddening when I was taking corticosteroids. Prednisone.
      The steroids were prescribed to relieve inflammation in my sinuses, and I believe that opened up the hearing canal to then allow me to hear the humming.
      But only at or near home. Therefor the problem wasn’t tinnitus.
      The house was less than 4 miles from a military air base-a very active one. I feel it came from there. Perhaps a particular frequency of radio communication. It was so maddening after a surgery I had just had (more anti-inflammatory drugs) that I drove around late one nite trying to find it. I never did.
      I sold the house the next year, and moved 20 miles away. No more problem with low constant humming.
      Until last year. That’s when 5G rolled out. And the power substation less than one mile away expanded.
      You do the math. I believe 5G is not so nice and it harms people and electronics. It puts out magnetic interference. Many have complained. None have had any impact on developing shields or something else to absorb the vibration and/or electromagnetic interference.
      I sound like a nut job who wears a tinfoil hat, but I’m not. It’s communication technology of some kind and we all need to insist that something is developed to manage this. It’s not just an inconvenience. It’s downright bothersome!
      BTW I like the way the hat looks on me.
      Anyway, look into this possibility in your area. Sound waves are funny. They bounce around and amplify off of walls and cliffs. My current house sits nestled between two retaining walls. I should have known better. But then again the humming wasn’t apparent at first.
      Good luck. Please let us all know if you do find something.

  2. I’m struggling too. There is a constant droning noise throughout the house, in every room, most noticeably at night which is probably because everywhere else is quiet. It never stops, and the tone never varies. We had a power cut recently and the noise continued, so it’s not electrical. Our water was also cut off earlier this year for a couple of days, and still the droning continued. We’re a Victorian mid terrace and our neighbours either side claim not to hear it. We just don’t know where to look next. PS, it’s not tinnitus.

    1. I have exactly the same problem – to a tee. It’s been happening for the past 8 years, and to be frank, it’s making me ill.

      I’ve done the basics as you’ve done, but still it persists. My house is detached, but close to neighbours, so it could be them; a water main terminates in the garden, very close to the house; I have wind turbines behind (but the noise continues when they’re stopped); a farm – it could be a generator or heavy machinery. The problem is, I don’t know where to start.

  3. Yes it’s awful humming away in every room.It’s become more frequent. The hum sticks in your ears and surrounds my skull with herrific pain. It’s not loud like a disco but it’s like nails down a chalk board.
    For some odd reason the council are ignoring me.
    I have tried so hard to get their attention. After Grenful Tower in London the tragic fire wouldn’t you think they would want to investigate just to eliminate potential hazord. I live in a flat so it’s me and others at risk and my daughter.
    As l type away the hum is in the background the TV is on is horrible. Please help .

  4. Same for me, started around 3-4 months ago, it does fluctuate in tone slightly which actually makes it worse.. just goes deep for a second or so every 10-20 seconds then back up to a hum. Continuous though never stopping which is why its so strange. You’d have thought even heavy plant/machinery etc has a break sometimes. Same as others in thread i have turned everything off at the mains and waited for half hour and its still there, its such a deep all encompassing sound/vibration i fail to believe its one of my neighbours houses.. i’m in the gloucestershire area. My partner hears it also so its not my ears or imagination. Generally have to leave the TV or radio on in the background now else i end up concentrating on the sound and it sends you doolally..

    1. I’ve got this too. Not electrical, not plumbing, solar panel people coming this week to check. I’ve had every Tradesman out and no joy. Driving me insane. No vibrations just low hum and like Dan above changed tone slightly every 5 seconds. Like a reverb base sound in a speaker. Everyone is laughing at me now, but it’s not funny. I’ve got two black eyes from lack of sleep. Also need TV and radio on 24/7. Having an ear test as a final resort this week, but I don’t hear it within myself…..

  5. I’m having the same humming issue as described above, even after cutting the main power to the house. It’s relatively new construction and single family home. It changes tone but otherwise constant except for the occasional few days that it will completely stop. But then always returns. Any ideas??

  6. In Colorado, I hear it almost every night when things get quiet. My mate doesn’t hear it. Could it be my satellite dishes I use for T.V. and internet? I can’t really turn those off.

  7. Hi I have the same problem in my room and the vibration getting heavy and it only seems to be at night. But I keep hearing a loud humming sound. In my room. Any help. I’m not sure if it coming from next door. But it’s been like this for 3 months. Please help I’m loosing sleep.

  8. Me too in NZ – since March 2020 – we’ve turned power off, added insulation, turned spa off.. looked around the house.. mostly at night as soon as my head hits the pillow it’s there. Variations of frequency.. I’ve even got an Ap that measures sound vibration. It can be blocked out with headphones & music but that’s it.
    Would love to know if anyone has come up with a solution to block it out.

  9. Electricity meters, fixed to the buildings outside wall can cause a humming noise through the house as the sound waves pass through the bricks/ walls.
    The some meters have a low hum and the frequency is the same as the supply frequency in UK 50hz

  10. Since September 2019 I’ve had the hum in my house (detached) I can also hear it in my neighbours houses (detached), houses built 2014. I’ve had university researchers out late 2019 measuring 55 decibels droning away, at night its worse so I generally sleep with tv one low and window open which isn’t the healthiest but I can’t stand the ‘white noise’ suggested to help. I have had the water board, gas and electric board out, all power turned off to the property and the hum is still there. Sitting in my neighbours houses I’ll say ‘can you hear that’ and they say no. Apparently my hearing has become acutely sensitised to it.
    I hadn’t thought about the electricity meter? but that was checked for noise by the electric board and when the power is off including everything to the house eg TV aerial, the hum is still droning away. I’ve just bought a portable decibel checker because I’m sure its possibly gone to 60 decibel or more.
    Any suggestions welcome thank you oh and I’ve had a lot of people in the house testing who can’t hear it even though they’ve recorded the 55 decibels on their equipment

  11. I hear this humming noise every night, even with ear plugs on. I don’t think is electric. I live in a terraced cottage. Is driving me mad. I live close to a railway line and also 2 miles from the M1. Where can I move to stop it!

  12. Our humming noise started a month ago it’s a hum and then it reeves up the back done 24/7 no one who comes in hears it just my husband and I. Had electrical and gas company come out got a new meter shut off all the power still her called a guy who resided our hose to check the house could it be bees or water or sewer line HELP

  13. I’m so glad I found this site – I’m experiencing similar disturbing continuous humming frequency sound inside my flat, it’s also noticeable from the outside.

    It sounds like a subwoofer amplifying a continuous sound on the Same low frequency throughout the day and night, less noticeable during the day naturally due to traffic and normal day activities.

    I have been pulling my hair out trying to locate the source with no avail. The sound never disappears.
    I spoke to a neighbour and he only noticed it when I pointed it out to him while standing outside the flat.
    I even tried switching the mains power off in my flat with no difference.

    It’s more noticeable and extremely disturbing at night when it’s quieter outside. It’s so disturbing it wakes me up middle of the night and causes fatigue and nausea. I end up waking up feeling like I have been slowly microwaved.

    This could potentially be related to recent road diggings in the past year or so, or it could may well be due to recent installation of fibre optic lines on the walls of the building in recent months …
    I have noticed a fibre optic junction box installed on the outside wall of my flat marked with what looks like a high voltage sign from a distance.

    This noise has been ongoing for the past year and I thought it would go away after a short while but now I’m getting to the point where I’m getting extremely agitated and frustrated due to lack of sleep and worrying about what other health side effects this frequency will cause if it continues at this rate.

    We have been rehoused to Tavistock Crescent after Grenfell tragedy. Let’s hope this is not another potential negligence.

    Yes I’m writing this article early hours as I haven’t been able to sleep..

    Call logged with council and finally an engineer is booked for out of hours 4am next Friday. Let’s see wait and see what the outcome will be.


  14. Hi. I’m having the same problem. I live in a double wide house and it is getting worse every day, my husband can’t hear anything, but it is driving me crazy. I can’t sleep my nerves are shot. I have problems with depression. I don’t know what to do, I’m at my wits end. Please help.

  15. From my research there is a 50% shot that it is the outside meter, and thankfully my utility company is upgrading everyine to smart meters this year so they bumped me up on the schedule. Fingers crossed that it rectifies the issue.

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