Do you experience crackling, static, screeching, popping, buzzing or ”hum” noises on your phone line?

If yes, you have a noisy phone line. Noisy phone lines pose many problems. First and foremost, they make phone conversations difficult (if not impossible). A noisy phone line can also affect your internet performance/speed if you are using a dial-up or DSL connection. It can also affect the operations of other devices that may be connected to your phone line.

These are just some of the problems you stand to face from a noisy phone line. In an effort to find ways of solving crackling noise on your phone line, it’s important to understand the underlying causes of the problem. Below is a discussion of some of the most common causes of noise on phone lines and some effective remedies.

1. Faulty wiring

This has to be one of the most common causes of noisy/crackling phone lines. Faulty wiring can be caused by many things ranging from loose connections to rodents eating away phone line insulation. A lose or damaged wire somewhere along your phone line will definitely cause interruptions which will most likely be exhibited as crackling noise. To address this problem effectively, you will need to contact your phone line service provider.

2. Weather

Another common cause of crackling noise on phone lines is moisture on the cable coming in to the house. Rain-induced moisture, as well as lightning, is also known to affect the quality of phone lines adversely. Lightning strikes cause intermittent popping noises. Rain-induced moisture causes connection problems as well as humming sounds on phone lines. In most cases, the noise will go away when the phone lines become dry.

If you experience crackling noise on your phone line when it rains, the phone line will need to be inspected for water damage and your telephone company can be contacted to do this for you. Telephone lines are low voltage but they can deliver an electrical shock, especially in wet conditions. Calling a professional is always a wise choice.

3. Corrosion

When phone lines get into contact with corrosive substances i.e. bleaches, acid, chemicals etc., they can corrode resulting in poor conduction/connectivity which will most likely be exhibited as line noise, if the corrosive substances don’t damage the phone lines completely. Improperly insulated phone lines are prone to corrosion. Older phone lines are also more susceptible to corrosion than newer phone lines for obvious reasons (i.e. the protective covering wears off with age exposing the lines).

Corrosion (especially in old phone lines) is common at terminal points i.e. where bare copper wires connect to distribution panels, wall jacks, interface points etc. Such corrosion (usually rusting) is as a result of wires getting exposed to air and water/moisture).

4. Electrical interference

Your phone lines’ proximity to power lines can also result in noises usually exhibited as an electrical hum. This is precisely why phone lines are wired separately and as far away as possible from high power lines. In case your phone line is near a high power line, you should consider relocating the line to solve the problem.

If that’s not feasible, you can consider other viable solutions such as installing filters to get rid of the electrical interference. This should of course be done only after you have ensured that your phone line is installed a safe distance away from high power lines.

Radio station transmitters are also known to cause crackling noise on phone lines. If there are radio station transmitters (especially high power transmitters) near your home, this could very well be the source of your problem.

5. Other devices on your phone line

Phone lines serve many other devices apart from phones. They can serve answering machines, fax machines, DSL modems, point of sale machines etc. Such devices have also been found to be probable causes of phone line noise. These devices can cause minor to major phone line noise depending on factors like how, as well as where, they are connected to your land line.

If you have a DSL modem, you should consider using a DSL filter to get rid of any noise on the phone line. You should also consider disconnecting other devices using your phone to get rid of the noise. This remedy will of course work if you don’t need to have any of the above devices connected when you are using your phone.

6. Worn out curly-cord on your desk phone

Your landline could also be noisy because of the phone cord. Phone cords usually wear with age. If you’ve been using your landline phone for years to decades, the phone cord could very well be the crackling noise on your phone line. Although curly phone cords are designed to stretch out, they usually get overstretched many times which usually results in malfunctions such as crackling noise.

You can switch your phone’s curly cord with a co-worker’s or neighbour’s curly cord to ascertain if the cord is the problem. If that’s the case, you need to buy another curly cord. Luckily curly cords are readily available in the market today and we stock many lengths and colours.


The above information summarizes the main causes of crackling phone lines. Noise on phone lines is usually caused by faulty wiring, weather (rain/moisture and/or lightning), corrosion, electrical interferences as well as other devices on a phone line. Although there may be other causes of noise on your phone line, the above causes are the most common.

After going through the above information, you shouldn’t have a problem identifying the cause of your phone line noise. Although it is possible to fix some of the above problems i.e. disconnecting other devices if the noise problem is cause by other devices, it is highly advisable to seek long-term solutions from experts.

Phone line experts are the best suited professionals to diagnose as well as address phone line problems effectively.

Almost all the issues listed above, require you to call your local phone line service provider for assistance. In Thunder Bay, you would contact Tbaytel.

TELECO sells replacement curly cords for customers who have noisy phone connections due to worn out curly cords.

Contact us about your phone system questions.