Electrical Wiring in the Home/Clicking Noise Riddle -- Outlet, Fluorescent Fixture???
Later one night about 2 weeks ago, I began to hear a clicking noise in my kitchen. I was able to isolate it to an area near a counter that has an outlet, and switches for the garbage disposal and an under cabinet fluorescent light (all controlled by different breakers). It sounded like it was coming from behind the wall. The click was loud and random and initially did not appear to be related to whether the light was on or off. I ended up turned off the breaker for the outlet and disposal and the click stopped. I think the light had probably been turned off too, but the breaker remained on.
Since the clicking did not return after several days of the breakers being off, I turned on the disposal breaker and waited a few days and the clicking did not return so we concluded that the outlet may have been bad, so we switched it out to a GFCI (which was not originally installed with our remodel five years ago, but probably should have because it is only about 3 ft from the kitchen seat).
The new outlet has been installed for about a week now and, again late at night, the clicking returned at random intervals. I first turned off the breaker to the GFCI and the clicking continued. Then I turned off the breaker to the disposal and the clicking continued. I started to wonder if it was coming from the under cabinet light (which is mounted right above the outlet/switch box), so I turned off the breaker that controls that circuit. There were a couple more clicks, but it eventually ceased.
1. Does it seem reasonable to assume it is the fluorescent under cabinet light that is clicking? Would it continue to click a couple more times after the power was cut?
2. Given that the problem seemed to be solved initially by replacing the outlet, but then returned again late at night, could the problem only be occurring when the light has been on for a very long time period?
3. If the problem is with the light fixture, is it safe to turn it off at the fixture (there is an on/off switch) and reset the breaker so that I can power up all the other outlets and switches that it controls?
4. If the problem is the light fixture, does it make sense to repair/replace or switch over to an LED system? These were not widely available when my remodel was done or were prohibitively expensive. There are two hard-wired lights on the switch and I'm not sure if this would be a DIY project or we would need to hire an electrician.
Thanks for any input!!
You've pretty much narrowed it down to the under cabinet light. Yes leave the rocker switch off and turn everything else back on. If you don't hear it any more you most likely found your problem. Some flourescent fixture's utilize a "starter" which can make a clicking noise or possibly the "ballast" in the fixture is doing it some how though in my over 40 + years of doing this I've never heard one make a clicking noise.
Anyway as far as replacing that unit with LED, unless your ready and want to change the rest of them I would either fix that one or get a new one so they all match. It will be easier to replace it with whats there or something very similar due to how its wired from the back of the fixture which helps hide the cable and connector.
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