Buzzing Recessed Lighting Fixtures: What's Causing Them?

Buzzing Recessed

With no one else at home, it’s finally time to relax and bask in the silence you’ve been looking for forever since work started getting a bit more intense due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that you’ve managed to buy yourself some free time with more peace and quiet, it’s time to meditate and get your senses back in order before your stress causes them to fall apart. Once your yoga mat is laid out, your candles are alight, and your relaxation music is on repeat, everything is set for a full session of silence until you start hearing an annoying buzzing sound coming from your recessed lighting.

A Common Annoyance at Home

Although it may seem like a harmless annoyance at first, this constant buzzing sound can eventually become a daily nuisance that makes you want to stay away from your home. In certain situations, the audible sensation isn’t just something to get annoyed with as it can also be a signal of other dangerous problems, such as:

  • Fire hazards

  • Defective light sockets

  • Loose electrical connections

Troubleshooting Common Problems

At Kite Electric, we urge Alberta homeowners to familiarize themselves with the fact that there are different forms of buzzing sounds that come from recessed lighting fixtures, each signalling certain issues. If you want to keep your home as safe as possible and stay on top of electrical problems to prevent them from putting your life and property at stake, here’s a quick guide to troubleshooting various forms of the problem:

1) Buzzing Fluorescents

With fluorescent light fixtures, the most common causes of buzzing are defective old-style ballasts that have a more vulnerable set-up compared to modern options.

Generally, buzzing sounds begin when the auto-transformer of a fluorescent light’s laminated iron cores becomes loose inside the coil windings and allows the electromagnetic lines of force coming from the coils to pass through. As a result, this constant force generates a buzzing sound that is incessant as it is annoying, but all it takes to solve it is a ballast replacement!

2)Buzzing Incandescents

When it comes to incandescent light fixtures, the primary cause for a buzzing sound is linked to defective light sockets or loose bulbs. The sound itself is caused by a manifestation of electrical arcing between the center contact at the base of the bulb and the button contact at the bottom of the light socket. Just like buzzing fluorescents, buzzing incandescents can be fixed by replacing the lamp sockets. However, it’s best to forgo a DIY approach and let an expert like Kite Electric take care of everything for you!

3) Loose Electrical Connections

Although far less common compared to other causes of buzzing coming from any light fixture, loose electrical connections are a source of annoyance that bears far more trouble than anything else.

Generally linked to screw-on wire nuts, loose electrical connections begin buzzing when the nut itself ends up becoming loose. This allows arcing between the wires it was holding together, which is detected as a buzzing sound. The buzzing then acts as a signal of a potential fire hazard that needs to be solved ASAP because the arcing generates heat that can ignite surrounding structural materials!


As annoying as hearing buzzing in your recessed lighting fixtures may seem, it’s important to move past the irritation and ensure that you treat the root of your current problem. By keeping the key points mentioned above in mind, you’ll be able to ensure that you prevent any further issues with your home and save yourself from potentially dangerous issues in the long run!

We're a team of fully-certified electrical contractors that offer 24-hour electrical service in Edmonton, AB, with years of experience assisting the electrical needs of residential properties. If you're dealing with a loose outlet or any other electrical problem, don't put yourself in any more danger and call us right away so that we can send our experts to help!

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