I noticed a slight humming noise coming from a subpanel in my house. Narrowed it down to a single GFCI breaker.

When I press the test button on this breaker and it trips to off, the sound is gone.

Its a barely noticeable sound (I have good hearing) and constant in tone.

The GFCI is for a dedicated circuit for a spa-type bathtub. Its humming even though the tub is NOT running and I would expect drawing no current (I don't think there is even a small load for electronics, though I can't be certain).

The breaker, if original, would have been installed in 1996 (the panel inspection sticker date). Here's the face of this breaker:

enter image description here

Is this OK? Should I be concerned or replace the breaker?

Update - There is one other identical breaker in the same panel which is normally off. I switched it on and it makes the same noise.

The panel mostly has standard breakers and also a few newish arc fault breakers, and those are all silent. Every breaker in the GE panel is a GE breaker, they should all be correct models for the panel.

  • 1
    It may be helpful to include a picture of the breaker in question, or at a minimum all the labeling info on said breaker. (pic would be better.)
    – FreeMan
    Jul 11, 2020 at 15:12
  • @FreeMan added, thanks for the suggestion Jul 11, 2020 at 21:53

2 Answers 2


OK a piece of electrical equipment, like a breaker, should not hum. In fact it indicates that it is not working properly or it is a really poor piece of equipment. Both reasons would be enough for me to replace it with a new and better part.

If it is new you might be able to get a replacement under warranty (usually one year). I really don't accept any argument if someone says "It's supposed to do that". My reply is "No it's not." or "You need to show me some documentation that says it is acceptable."

Good Luck


I wrote to the manufacturer (GE) with the same description as posted on the question. They replied as follows:

Yes, I would be concern [sic], if this wasn't making noise and now it is, could be worn contact with the panel bus or arcing rather than buzzing. Yes, I would suggest replacing this breaker, just to be sure.

I think this needs to be accepted as authoritative, although I don't know whether the noise is a new phenomenon or not.

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