Occasional electric cracking/arcing noise ⚡️

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by tobee1k, Oct 26, 2021.

  1. tobee1k

    tobee1k New Member

    Ok, I’ll try and keep this as brief as possible but give you a full picture of what I’ve done.

    I am getting an occasional crackling/arcing type sound from behind the wall in my kitchen. My flat is an attic flat and I am able to get in behind the walls via a crawl space (handy!).

    In the kitchen there are three plug sockets at counter height, one of which has a spur coming off it where the fridge and hob are plugged in below the counter (hob is gas, plug is for spark).

    I have checked the wiring into each plug socket as well as the oven switch. All wired in properly, no sign of any burn marks etc.

    I initially thought the noise might have been a faulty spark unit in my hob, so I turned off the plug to the hob. Didn’t hear any noise for a couple of days, but then heard it again this morning.

    Climbed in behind the wall and checked all the wires behind the kitchen wall leading to all the plugs etc in case rodents had chewed on the wires. Again, nothing, no bite marks, no burn marks anywhere, all wires in good condition. Nothing is loose or wired in wrong.

    Oh, I’ve also tried turning off the fridge and oven in case the noise was coming from either, but again, the noise occasionally happened anyway. Just to add a bit more mystery, the noise very rarely happens in the afternoon, seems to only be audible in the morning and then perhaps 1-3 times between 8 and 12ish.

    I’m starting to think I might be going crazy here….although I’m fairly convinced I’m not hallucinating! Any ideas?
     
  2. kevinbaldy

    kevinbaldy Member

    Have you checked your CU for any loose connections or burn marks if all ok try turn the power of for the flat at the CU and see if noise still there, it will prove noise is eletrical or not
     
  3. tobee1k

    tobee1k New Member

    No burn marks on the CU, I will shut off power when I can and see how it goes.

    One more thought - when I checked the wiring behind the wall, I noticed that one of the plug sockets was surrounded with expanding foam, presumably to seal around the socket. The noise I’m hearing could, in theory be the sound of cracking/moving expanding foam. Would there be any reason why that might happen? I’m thinking heat in the wires causing slight expansion, small movements of this old building etc. Just an idea.
     
  4. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Screwfix Select

    Do you have mice? look for droppings, they do make cracking and popping type noises when they chew at things.
     
  5. collectors

    collectors Member

    If there is 2 of you?, get the other person to switch some electrical things on like the kettle, oven, hob & see if it makes it worse. Anything with a heater element.
     
  6. Truckcab79

    Truckcab79 Active Member

    I had this from one socket in my workshop. Each time I used it, took the plug out and a short while later would hear a crack. Sounded like it was arcing. By chance some while later I was looking toward it when it made the noise. Turns out it was just the little sprung cover that stops you poking stuff into the holes. Was sticking when used then released shortly after the plug was removed. Sounded exactly as you describe. Worth checking.
     
  7. tobee1k

    tobee1k New Member

    Thanks, I did wonder about something like that and changed the socket face just in case, unfortunately the problem remains.
     
  8. tobee1k

    tobee1k New Member

    It’s only me here, but interesting you say that. The noise is definitely coming from this particular socket, it’s the one that has the spur coming off with the fridge plugged in. It is also the one with the expanding foam behind it, and I have had a coffee machine plugged into it - I believe it’s 1000watts. I use the coffee machine a couple of times most mornings which is when the noise is most noticeable. I have put the coffee machine in another plug today, I’ll look again at the wiring.
     
  9. tobee1k

    tobee1k New Member

    Just to add a bit more information, in case anyone has any thoughts. Yesterday, I opened up the wall, turned the power off and got a few bright lights in behind the wall to thoroughly check all the wires. There is definitely no evidence of damage or any burn marks that would suggest arcing.

    I am now certain that the noise is coming from a particular socket - the one that has the spur running from it, so it has three neutral and three live wires in each terminal. When I took the facing off it, one of the neutral wires was out of the terminal. Whether that was as a result of me taking the facing off, or whether it was out all the time and therefore causing the arcing noise, I don’t know. However, there was no sign of any burn marks anywhere.

    Anyway, I replaced the facing with one that had three of each terminal with screwless connectors. I made sure they were all seated properly, but still hearing the noise - just one or two very brief cracks, always in the morning (very weird I know). It’s possible that one of the wires has come loose again as I replaced the facing, but wouldn’t it be normal to see some evidence of burn marks inside the plug? Or, given that it’s only very brief (just a fraction of a second at a time) and doesn’t continue for any length of time, would there not be enough heat for there to be any visual evidence?
     
  10. Teki

    Teki Screwfix Select

    Can you uplaod some photos of inside and behind the socket. Is the spur taken directly from the socket for the fridge?
     
  11. tobee1k

    tobee1k New Member

    I will need to open up the wall again but I’ll do that and update photos.

    I ordered a socket tester, it has a NCV test function on it. I tested the left side of the problem socket, all normal. Tested the right side and got a much weaker signal. This is the only socket showing this issue in the flat. I can’t see how this would happen but I can only assume this is something to do with the noise I’m hearing. Any thoughts?
     

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