A surge protector, also called a surge suppressor, is not a protector if it can’t protect.
The immense current electrical terminals receive from lightning is so powerful. That’s why surge protectors were invented to protect our homes.
Without a device that suppresses, the surge in electricity will damage all of our electronic devices by a short circuit.
A loose internal component or a malfunctioning circuit can cause a high-pitched noise from a surge protector. To fix it, unplug all devices and try a different outlet. If that doesn’t work, replace the surge protector.
Get to know why surge protectors make all sorts of noise and why you should be alarmed.
Why Is Your Surge Protector Making High-Pitched Noise?
Surge protector high-pitched noise is not an everyday occurrence. It is supposed to make a clicking sound when electricity shoots up.
But a power strip making high-pitched noise means there’s something faulty either in the device or anywhere else.
Irritating high-pitched noise can be a battery failure. If this happens, the device sends a signal that impedes the power supply due to the failing battery. This is noticeable when a red light on the component flickers.
Below are the following reasons why your surge protector is producing a high-pitched sound.
Pro tip: Use a surge protector for devices with complex microprocessors, such as computers, game consoles, modern flat TVs, and other sophisticated electronic devices. You don’t need one for simple home appliances.
1. Surge Protector Encounters Surges
When do your UPS systems encounter surges?
When there is an issue with a power grid, many things could happen with the power distribution at home.
Sometimes, voltage spike in power is due to natural causes such as lightning and thunderstorms.
On a technical note, power grids fail and distribute current to the home in an uneven supply, causing damage to your terminals and circuit breakers.
Thus, surge suppressors were invented to protect the electrical appliances and devices you use at home.
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During power outages and back, power surges happen. And if surge suppressors sense that overload, they make noise.
Another reason for the surge is when you are using multiple outlets or octopus wiring.
An extension cord making high-pitched noise is overloaded. Continuous clicking brought by the noise could mean the surge protector is trying hard to load devices simultaneously.
Also, electrical appliances with high voltage, like microwaves, blenders, vacuum cleaners, or air conditioners, will cause the surge protector to send a clicking noise continuously.
Pro tip: Surge protectors have red buttons for extra protection. Though it shuts down automatically following a power surge, the red button is for turning it on or off whenever you want to instead of unplugging it from the electrical outlet directly.
2. Redistribute the load
Overloading a surge protector can lead to a high-pitched noise. Be sure to distribute the electrical load evenly among the outlets and avoid connecting high-power devices to the same surge protector.
3. Ensure proper grounding
A faulty ground connection can cause noise and other issues. Make sure your surge protector is connected to a properly grounded outlet, and if necessary, call an electrician to check your home’s electrical system.
4. Low-Quality Surge Protector
People love to buy cheaper products. But sometimes it is true that when it is cheap, it is of poor quality.
That’s why it is wiser to choose a device at a mid-range price but assuredly quality in performance.
A surge protector that makes a loud sound could be of a poor-quality device. It will produce an audible click because it can’t handle high voltages altogether.
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However, quality surge suppressors regulate power surges and spikes without sending off a dubious sound.
Be also warned that buying cheap electronic devices is exposing your home to fire-hazard appliances.
Experts advised that before you plug any electrical device into an outlet, including a surge protector, make sure it is off.
Electrical sparks occur when the device is power-hungry. The spike in electricity will cause the surge protector to spark.
6. Defective surge protector
Some surge protectors produce strange noises and alarming sounds because they are defective. Surge suppressors that malfunction should be brought back to where they are purchased.
It is not recommended to repair any electrical device assembly, especially if you have no idea of the problem, as it can cause an electric shock if you attempt to fix it. Have an expert touch the unit.
7. Faulty wires
Yellow and worn-out wires are a sign of faulty wires of surge protectors. But sometimes, the outlet has one faulty wire.
If you notice those signs, unplug the unit immediately and try other electrical outlets. If the eerie noise sounds the same, but the unit is away. What’s worse is when the unit has a burnt smell, and the loud sound is recurrent.
Pro tip: A surge protector may look like a conventional extension cord, but it is not. It allows you to plug in more than one device.
How to Avoid a Buzzing Power Strip Situation?
A buzzing power strip is a common issue that many people encounter, and it can lead to potentially serious problems if not addressed. A buzzing sound often indicates a potential hazard, such as an electrical overload or faulty wiring.
Choose the Right Power Strip
Purchasing a high-quality power strip is the first step towards preventing a buzzing situation. Look for power strips that have the following features:
- Surge protection: This helps safeguard your electronics from voltage spikes.
- Overload protection: This feature automatically shuts off the power strip when it detects an excessive electrical load.
- UL or ETL certification: These certifications ensure that the product meets safety standards.
Inspect Your Power Strip Regularly
Regularly check your power strip for any signs of wear and tear, such as frayed cords or cracked casing. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to replace the power strip.
In addition, make sure the power strip is securely plugged into the wall outlet and that there is no debris or dust buildup.
Avoid Overloading the Power Strip
One of the primary reasons power strips start buzzing is because they are overloaded. To avoid this, make sure you don’t plug too many high-wattage appliances or devices into the power strip simultaneously.
It’s essential to know the total wattage of the devices you’re plugging in and ensure that it doesn’t exceed the power strip’s maximum capacity.
Use Power Strips with Individual Switches
Power strips with individual switches allow you to turn off specific outlets without unplugging the devices. This feature can help prevent overloading and reduce the risk of a buzzing situation.
Keep Your Power Strip in a Well-Ventilated Area
Heat can cause a power strip to start buzzing. Ensure your power strip is in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight, and not covered by any objects that could trap heat.
Unplug Unused Devices
Leaving unused devices plugged into a power strip can contribute to an overload situation. Unplug any devices that aren’t in use to reduce the load on the power strip and prevent buzzing.
Use Dedicated Circuits for High-Wattage Appliances
High-wattage appliances, such as air conditioners, space heaters, and microwaves, should be plugged directly into wall outlets on dedicated circuits. These appliances can easily overload a power strip, leading to a buzzing sound and potential hazards.
Power Strip Making High-Pitched Noise Related Questions
The clicking noise from a surge protector could mean that it is trying to divert the surge to the grounding wire to protect your appliance.
The clicking sound indicates that it protects the appliance from electrical spikes. When the sound is recurrent and louder, it could mean that it can no longer carry the surge and be replaced.
The humming noise produced by an electronic device is normal. But this should be low and dull. If the hum is audible from several meters away from the unit, loose components could be inside.
If you have no idea what’s happening, you need to stop using the surge protector and call for an experienced electrician to fix the issue.
A surge protector making noise doesn’t always mean replacing it. Investigate first. As advised, never attempt to fix any electrical device to avoid electrocution.
Even if the unit looks okay and the wires aren’t faulty, but the quality is compromised because of the clicking, humming, sparking, or buzzing noise, then you should consider getting a new one.
Your surge protector acts as a mini circuit breaker that automatically shuts off when it senses surges in electricity. Sometimes, the device produces a tripping sound before it finally shuts off.
Clicking or a humming sound may or may not be a cause of concern, but a high-pitched noise could be something more, the same as crackling, sparking, popping, and loud humming.
Have an electrician carefully inspect the sound and the surge protector unit to see what’s causing the issue.
Never hesitate to replace your defective surge protector, as it will bring you out of danger and could mean saving your life.
Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.