Why are bulbs on Dimmer Humming?

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Why Are the Bulbs On Your Dimmer Humming or Buzzing?

You’re settling down to read a book or watch your favorite TV show, and you flick on the dimmer switch to get some cozy ambient lighting. As you do, you hear a distinct humming or buzzing sound. What’s causing those weird noises to come out of your dimmer lights? Here are some possible options.

Your Dimmer Switches Could Be Overheating

In most cases, the humming is the sign of a dimmer switch that might be overheating slightly. To understand why this happens, keep in mind that a dimmer switch interrupts the flow of electrical current that enters your home.

Occasionally, this diverted current can build up.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

This explains why your dimmer switch faceplates can sometimes feel slightly warm. They should not be really hot, though, as that’s a signal that the heat isn’t getting properly dispersed through the cover plate or the electrical box.

If the plate feels hot, call an electrician immediately.

What Can You Do About a Warm Plate?

There are two quick steps you can take if you feel a slight warmth. Try using a larger faceplate to disperse the heat more evenly.

You can also try replacing the bulbs with lower-wattage ones. This lowers the amount of current running to the faceplate.

If the plate feels hot or it’s showing brown stains, it’s time to call an electrician. Those are signs that it’s getting dangerously overheated.

Are Your LED Lights Causing the Problem?

LED bulbs are wonderful for many reasons, but they do have a tendency to make slight buzzing sounds. This is especially true when you use them in dimmer settings.

In most cases, the problem is due to a mismatch between the dimmer system and the power supply to the LED driver. Most dimmer systems are made to work with the resistive load of regular bulbs rather than the capacitive loads of an LED.

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Fortunately, you can resolve this incompatibility easily. Ask your electrician to switch your dimmer system for one of the new models that are specifically designed to work with LED bulbs.

These include dimmer sets from Luton’s CL Dimmer line and so-called low electronic voltage (LEV) dimmers. Once your electrician makes the switch, you’ll have sweet, sweet silence every time you hit the dimmers.

Bothered by Buzzing Bulbs

In some cases, the bulbs themselves could be getting overloaded. Remember that a dimmer switch interrupts the flow of current.

Sometimes, that interrupted current causes a disruption in the electromagnetic field, which can affect how the bulb filaments or the switch work. This leads to the electric buzzing sound you sometimes hear.

How Can You Fix Buzzing Bulbs?

Listen carefully to determine if the sound is coming from the bulbs or the switch.

If it’s coming from the bulbs, you can simply try different kinds of bulbs. Decorative and colored bulbs often have delicate filaments that are highly sensitive to changes in current. Try replacing them with standard bulbs.

You Probably Need a New Dimmer

If the sound is coming from the dimmer switch, you probably need to replace the switch. Buzzing usually indicates that the switch you have is overloaded. Small or inexpensive dimmer sets often buzz because they’re not as good at dispersing the flow of current.

Upgrade your dimmer switch, and you’ll notice an immediate difference.

SESCOS Keeps You Switched On

If you’re having any problems with buzzing, humming or warm dimmer switches, give SESCOS a call today. Our knowledgeable, experienced technicians can check out your dimmer, replace your faceplates or your dimmer set, and offer friendly, helpful advice. Call us today to keep those dimmers working properly.

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