GFI making noise

Saw a similar post, but testing a GFCI in the bathroom, it makes a loud buzz sound, then trips. It does reset, but wondering if it is defective? Scared me at 1st, but caught it on video. The bath lighting is also on the GFCI circuit. House was built in 1964, so the GFCI was added at some point. What do you think?

Possibly loose connection or bad outlet.

Pretty common to hear some of the older GFCI’s buzzing, clicking, etc. I’d just write it up.

Just curious, did it do that when you pressed the integral test button?

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Replace it. It’s a stuck button & time to go. … … …


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When I was with GE many moons ago they were made out of metal & cost $150, would last 2 generations.
Now they’re as little as ten bucks, made out of plastic.
It’s like our cars - Planned Obsolescence :cowboy_hat_face:

Replace the GFCI and wire the lights separately. They can be on the same circuit but are currently connected to the load side of the GFCI. They should be connected to the line side of the GFCI for independent operation.

I’ve had many arguments about this with electricians and home inspectors. It is not a code violation wired as it is, it’s just stupid. Why would you want your lights to go out at the same time as your outlet? Eighty percent of falls occur in the bathroom! Why increase the odds?


Most certainly a defective device.

If you use an instrument that more precisely controls the imbalance provided to the GFCI, you would likely see a different result. The tester you used allows for far more current to pass through the device than that allowed by electrical standards.

When a more sophisticated tester is used, the imbalance is typically limited to 6.5mA, which barely exceeds the design limit of 6mA for the GFCI. When a controlled fault is applied to a device such as you showed in your video, it will usually buzz and burn out, rather than trip and allow for reset.

In short, any GFCI device making that sound is failing or has failed and should be replaced.


Curious… what happened when you used the GFCI Test Button (being the only manufacturer approved method of testing), versus your testing device?

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are you saying the typical GFCI tester a HI uses burns the GFCI receptacle out? if so, what do you mean by “burn out”?

The important question!

Thanks for the responses…I was pretty sure it was in the act of failing. There is no permit for any electrical work, so I have no idea how old the device is, but just guessing, probably 15-20 years or so. Have seen this happen a few times, but never thought to get it on video…
And yes, it did the same thing when the test button on the receptacle was pressed.
I did call out the lights on the circuit, as well, recommended an electrician separate them for safety. I dont care whether it is against code or not, IMO it is unsafe to suddenly have the lights go out, especially if the tile floor is slippery. Thanks again.


The typical 3-light tester uses a generally low-impedance fault in the test cycle of the tester, which will often trip a GFCI device even if the device may be near failure.

A more sophisticated tester (SureTest for example) allows a fault of only 6.5mA, which is a much higher resistance than most 3-light testers and only slightly above the allowable GFCI tolerance of 6mA.

With this limited current passing through the GFCI circuitry, the failing device will either not trip at all, or the device will “sizzle” and pop, burning out the sensor-relay or IECB altogether.

In every instance where this has occurred for me, the receptacle/device no longer functions at all (open circuit - no power) and can’t be reset.

Okay, that makes sense. It’s why in-part they tell you to use the TEST button.

I believe the rule about lights being on the bathroom outlets circuit is that it is acceptable if no other bathrooms are on that circuit. I’m sure someone will correct me if I"m wrong. And yes they should consider replacing that outlet in the near future as it’s nearing the end of it’s life…

I think that it is that NOTHING else can be on that circuit, not just bathrooms.

That’s probably what you meant anyway. :smile:

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that’s what I meant…thanks for the clarification…

Why does the " GFCI make noise"…?
It doesn’t know how to sing? :grinning:


Roy! :scream:

I know ! I know!