Each time I go to one of my friend’s houses, I notice the irritating buzzing in her living room. When I brought it up to her, she said the lights do that every time they are on for too long or are raised too bright. I could not understand the logic and suggested she should replace them. When I got home, I immediately delved deeper and discovered that not only should they be replaced, but it’s bad for the planet to have them.
Ahead, all you need to know about buzzing house lights, and, of course, most importantly, how to fix it.
What buzzing means, and what to do
A buzzing light in your home could mean something is wrong with the light bulb, fixture, or switch. It can happen with different lights — LED fluorescent, CFL, and incandescent, and is caused by mismatched simmer switches, bulbs in old light ballasts, and many other reasons.
For LED lights, it’s usually a case of incompatibility between the light and the switch, and is rarely compressed. To combat this, take the light off the switch and turn off the circuit breaker. To turn it off, remove the wiring from the dimmer and connect the wires to a regular, non-dimming switch.
Or, leave the dimmer switch in place, remove the two wires, and wire them together to a wire nut. Always consult the LED light bulb’s directions to determine which dimming switch it needs. Typically, you’ll need a CL dimmer, a LED dimmer, or an ELV dimmer switch.
If you have a fluorescent light fixture and notice a small hum, it’s time to fix the light. If fluorescent lights become loose it will cause buzzing. To fix this, remove the diffuser, check the tube and tighten it. Then remove the housing over the ballast and disconnect the line, while simultaneously cutting the wires. If you notice diffusers are cracked, that is also a tell-tale sign to replace it and reinstall.
How much light replacement costs
Fortunately, these things are highly affordable to do, with ballasts costing between $15 to $35 to replace, and new fluorescent light fixtures ranging from $30 to $60. Put simply, your first step in defense should be removing the dimmer switch and seeing if it’s compatible to your light.
Next, check the wires and see how they are working and if you need to cut them. Then, replace light if the ballast is cracked or compromised. The best thing to do is go for energy-saving LED bulbs that don’t tend to buzz at the first chance.
BTW, if you hear a sizzling or cracking sound, be sure to turn off your circuit breaker and call an electrician. If the sound still occurs it can be a serious underlying issue that will require a professional.
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