Last week my bedside lamp started to buzz when off, especially at night. It makes noise even when the switch on the socket is turned off. If I touch the lamp the noise stops.

More strange, it does make noise only on two sockets.

I've searched the issue online but all posts seem to be related to old houses while mine is new.

  • Does the lamp have a replaceable bulb? (in the age of LEDs, you have to ask.) Does it use any particular technology like external-ballast CFL? What happens if you swap the bulb with another fixture? Jan 9, 2017 at 2:16
  • @Harper Yesterday I swapped the bulbs of the two lamps and the "buzzer" kept buzzing. The lamp doesn't buzz without bulbs.
    – algiogia
    Jan 9, 2017 at 9:30
  • Are these the two sockets controlled by the switch, then? Does this house have an AFCI breaker on that circuit? (the most likely cause is a loose wire or arcing fault inside a 60 cent builder grade switch or receptacle). Jan 9, 2017 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


If it's buzzing, it's not off.

Often this is a dimmer that is not QUITE off. For instance dimmers often have free-motion inside the dimming range, then a stiff detent before bottoming out at hard "OFF". People often think the bottom of free-motion is off, and they never realize to push past the detent to actual "off". It would be a lot weirder if you had a dimmer on a dimmer, and adding an LED/CFL to the mix gets weirder still.

When you say "only does this on two sockets", that comes back to the theory that these are sockets which are switched from a light switch somewhere. If it's not dimmed, and it shouldn't be, there could be trouble in that circuit.

If a light switch works a receptacle, it can't be a dimmer unless it uses a weird receptacle keyed to only accept lamps.

Does everything plugged into those sockets buzz? Or only that one lamp?

If a dimmer is not involved, then I'd say you have an electrical problem of some serious concern. A lot of newer electrical work is done very cheaply, with the 60 cent builder grade receptacles instead of the $3.00 goodies, and with "back stab" connections instead of screw terminals or screw-and-clamp. In that case, take apart the receptacle and change it to a quality receptacle with screw or clamp wiring.

  • Thanks Harper. There is no dimmer involved. The lamp has a simple on/off switch. I have two of them and only one is buzzing, and only on the two sockets in the bedroom. Nothing else seems to buzz.
    – algiogia
    Jan 8, 2017 at 23:28
  • What makes those two sockets special? Are they the two which are controlled by the switch? Jan 9, 2017 at 22:48
  • I wouldn't call the sockets "cheap". I've got two of these on each side of the bed. On both of them the lamp buzzes. As you can see each socket has his own switch.
    – algiogia
    Jan 10, 2017 at 9:35

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