any ideas on what would cause flickering on 2 circuits and buzzing on the breaker of a third circuit? I can hear a slight arcing noise at the breakers when the lights flicker. The buzzing on the third breaker stops when I shut the lights on that circuit. The flickering circuits are on one bus and the buzzing circuit is on the other bus. I tightened/checked almost everything in the panel and swapped breakers around, no change. I called the power company and they're going to check the supply line outside. It has been raining the past few days and I also have a transformer on the pole outside my house. I'll be calling an electrician if they don't find something definitive. Keeping the main off in the meantime. Thanks in advance.

  • What type of panel do you have? Zinsco and FPE panels do have some of these problems. Since you have called the power company they will be able to verify the service but a bad breaker or loose connection can cause this problem also.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 26, 2018 at 14:07
  • Swap all those breakers out for AFCI breakers ASAP. You won't be able to do that for FPE or Zinsco panels. Watch for pitting or arcing damage on the buses where they clip on. You won't be able to do either on Pushmatic since Pushmatics bolt down and are obsolete (but safe). Feb 26, 2018 at 17:13
  • Yeah, can we have a make/model on this panel? I suspect a busbar problem, but the degree of parts and work required to fix this depends on what you have. Feb 26, 2018 at 23:45
  • I'll check the panel but I know there's GE breakers. Power company load tested and found no problems. They said they replaced all connections anyway. Problem still persists.
    – Jtera
    Feb 27, 2018 at 0:03
  • Panel is a Murray - LC120DF - 100 amp –
    – Jtera
    Mar 6, 2018 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


Breaker types are not interchangeable, even though they "fit"

The problem is you have brand A panel and brand B breakers. That is not legal because it is not safe. At this point you have probably wrecked the busbars on the otherwise quality Murray/Siemens panel.

They may "snap in", but they don't snap in with the correct amount of clamping force or with the correct mating on the bus bars - and so they arc. If they had been arc-fault breakers, they would have tripped.

  • Look at the labels in the panel for which breaker series are actually allowed in that panel.
  • Inspect every breaker in the panel.
  • If it is not a Murray/Siemens breaker of one of those series, throw it in the trash.
  • Then, closely inspect the bus bar (warning: it's hot) and if the bus bar is chewed up by arcing damage, stop using that breaker spot and fill the hole with a blank cover.
  • Get proper Murray/Siemens breakers of one of the series actually specified by the labeling on the panel.

Very rarely, Brand X will make breakers specifically for Brand Y panels, but that's too rare to bother with and it won't save you any money.

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