Buzzing and clicking on your Radio

Various items in the home can cause electrical interference; you may hear buzzing, clicking and pops through your radio as a result.

Some of the most common electrical items that could be affecting your reception are listed below. Determining which of them is causing the problem is a process of elimination. First, switch everything off in your home to see whether the problem goes away; then switch things on again, one by one to see whether it returns.

If you can’t find the problem in your home, ask your neighbours to do the same; the problem could be in a nearby property.


The buzzing and clicking lasts from a few seconds to a minute at a time. Switch off heating systems and see whether the problem goes away. If the problem persists when you turn the heating system back on, the problem could be with the thermostat, which may need to be repaired or replaced.

Light switches

To find out if a particular switch is causing the problem, try turning the lights off one at a time.

LED lights

Many people are now using low power LED lights instead of the more traditional varieties. However, if the original light used a transformer rather than directly running off the mains, it is possible the transformer is causing the interference. This is because the transformer would have been designed to operate at the higher power and not the lower power the LED lights use. This has the potential to cause electrical interference.

Street lamps

Street lamps can sometimes cause buzzing and crackling sounds on your FM radio. Keeping a note of when each lamp comes on and goes off will help to identify whether this is the cause of your interference. If it is, contact your local council.

Passing traffic

A faulty or uncompressed engine can cause a distinct buzzing 'whine' which varies with engine speed - motorcycles tend to be the worst. Try to move your radio away from the street or use an external aerial.

Electric motor

An electric motor is used in many appliances such as electric lawnmowers, washing machines, drills and hairdryers etc.  A faulty motor can cause electrical interference. Check any appliance with an electric motor by moving your radio away from it to see whether the sound improves. If you have several appliances with electric motors you may need to turn them all off and try the above one at a time.



With all of these potential causes, it is worth keeping a log for at least two weeks to determine whether there are any patterns or trends to the interference.