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House is humming, literally

Posted by lola1 (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 17, 05 at 14:11

Hello everyone. I'm a new poster to this forum although I've enjoyed reading and learning from many a post here for quite a while.

I have a weird situation. Last summer, my fiance and I moved into a Fresno home built in '52. A few months ago, I noticed a humming noise in the center of the house, which would be where the furnace unit and hot water unit is. Both items are actually in separate 'closets', across from each other in a rather long hallway. It seems as though it's coming from the attic and I can definitely hear it when I press my ears against the walls of the hallway. I can also hear the noise through the vent in the master bath, a ways away. Some days I don't hear it at all. Some days I can hear it change pitch and 'waiver.' It seems that wind does not play a factor. Some days it seems slightly louder than others, but that could be my imagination. It's not loud. It's not as though company comes over someone says, 'Hey, what's up with that hum?!' However, if you mention it to somebody, they stand in the hallway, they always say, 'yeah, I hear it!'

Last night I couldn't take it anymore. So, one-by-one we switched off the circuits to see if this hum was connected---literally-- to any part of the electrical circuit. We turned everything off and the house still hummed.

Has anyone had a house hum? This is driving me crazy!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: House is humming, literally

I am very interested to see where this post goes. Did you turn everything off as in all the circuit breakers and the main? The reason I ask is I had a customer that I visited several times for the same description you gave. With everything off she still heard it, I could not hear it. I never found any problem but I did do some research and found out some very interesting things about humming sounds at specific spots on earth.


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RE: House is humming, literally

what about bees? I had a friend who heard some type of humming in the walls and it turned out to be a huge bees nest. Maybe your's is more of an electrical type of humming, but insects are the first thing that came to my mind.

Abbey


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RE: House is humming, literally

Does it happen all the time or only on some days or times or seasons?


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RE: House is humming, literally

Thank you for your interest and questions! Yes, I believe my fiance turned off all the circuits, one-by-one and then the main. I wasn't outside with him at the time he was at the circuit box,--- I was in the hallway anxiously waiting for it to go away when one of the circuits was turned off, but obviously no luck.

I, too, thought, bees or some other insect. What's weird is that it sometimes changes in pitch very rapidly, and other times it stays the same "note."

I've been working from home since December. I probably noticed it in February or early March. I should probably take note on when I hear it, like what days, times etc., but I believe it happens pretty much all the time, any day. I know I've heard it getting ready in the morning, in the afternoon, early evening and late at night. Well, I guess that's pretty much all the time, now that I think about it! There are a handful of days that there is no hum. About two weeks ago, I walking in the hallway and for whatever reason, stopped and thought, 'wow, maybe it went away.' The day it was back.

One night last week at about 10:30pm or so, it was so loud I thought it was the refridgerator running in the kitchen. You see, we have an looooong hallway that turns to the right 90 degrees then turns to the left 90 degrees, and sometimes perhaps because of acoustics or whatever, I can hear the tv in the living rm. or stuff in the kitchen rather loudly. Of course, my fiance swears I just have super sonic ears. Anyway, the hum was so loud, I thought 'it HAS to be the refridgerator!!!' so I went in the kitchen and turned it off, went back into the hallway and the hum was still humming. I had my fiance confirm that it was particularly loud and he couldn't believe it, either.


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RE: House is humming, literally

I feel like I am 11 years old and sitting around the campfire listening to a spooky story!

wow! this is so interesting.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Are you 100% certain you don't have tinnitus? Try listening very carefully whenever you are in a quiet place away from home, see if you get the humming then too. Most people can discern some small amount of noise from their own bodies even when placed in a sensory deprivation chamber.

Have you checked all battery and windup clocks in the house? Not all noise sources plug into the mains electricity.

Termites? It isn't unknown for people to hear them chomping away in a quiet house.

Is it something that could be driven by thermal changes such as a metal panel or roof heating up in the sun and then cooling? Do changes in temperature make a difference?

If it seems like it comes from the attic, I'd be checking the attic/roofspace. Take up a light and make sure you've got someone around to help because being up ladders is dangerous and if you discover a nest of wasps or bees it might be real bad to be home alone. A nest can get very large given a few decades. Or you could get an exterminator to look over the house including the roofspace. The changes in pitch could be consistent with it being a nest of something, because hives tend to change in mood with what is happening in them, for example if they get intruded upon by other insects etc.


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RE: House is humming, literally

There are so many reasons that you might be hearing humming in your home, but I suspect that ltngbolt is referring specifically to a humming or buzzing sound that is related to the resonant frequency of the earth itself.

Now I am certainly not suggesting that this is what you might be hearing, but since the thread seems to be wandering a bit in this direction I figured what the heck!

Anyway, the earth resonates at about 18 Hz. We, as adult human beings, can hear down to about 20 Hz so that the resonant frequency is not really noticeable to us. All except a small minority who can hear just a little bit lower than 20 Hz.

In some parts of the world, the earth resonance is apparently just a little bit more noticeable than at other locations. Also, the amplitude of the sound can apparently change at different times of the year or it can change prior to other conditions that might affect the planet. This resonance is just noticeable enough that some people will be bothered by a persistent humming sound while others simply are unable to hear it.

One conjecture is that animals can not only hear the earth resonate, but that they can actually sense changes in the resonance that might indicate an earthquake or other disaster before it actually happens. This would explain (if only in a small way) why some animals seem to become quite agitated prior to a natural disaster such as an earthquake, or recently the east Asia tsunamis.

We do have equipment that can measure and record the frequency and amplitude of this resonance, and I have heard that there are scientists studying those records to see if they can detect patterns that may help predict such disasters.


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RE: House is humming, literally

If other people can hear it (residents and visitors who'll be honest, not just polite) it's not tintinitus.

If the OP has only ever heard it in the house, it's not that she's having sensory illusions.

If she has eliminated all electric/mechanical devices, including battery operated ones (smoke detectors, clocks, UPS, rechargers, telephone answering machines, cable or satellite receivers, cell phones, etc.) and only hears the noise inside, with the windows and doors closed, then it's not man-made.

If it is heard year round (assuming a period of cold weather in the winter) it's not likely to be bees and wasps, though if she lives in a warm climate this would not be true.

Which leaves earth's resonanance or subtle windflows created by temperature, wind speed/ direction intersecting with some small facet (vent stack, loose piece of flashing, corbel on chimney) of the house setting up an audible vibration or an unusual personal acoustic capacity.

I can often smell things no one else can, both on objects or people and in the air so I know that sensory perception can be quite variable.

Noise from the earth (transmitted to the structure) could come from basic resonance, but perhaps also from the local underlying geology, or even, hydrogeology. It could be transmitted by the foundation or any underground utility connection.

Come to think about, the OP didn't say whether her house was connected to gas, water or sewer lines (as opposed to private facilities). Perhaps the noise is coming from those lines and it might be useful to contact the utility providers. I'm wondering if a small gas leak could make a noise, and if the water or sewer lines have pumps or grinders nearby ...?

Very interesting question.
Molly


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RE: House is humming, literally

Try turning off the main water supply. Maybe you have a leak somewhere. Are you on a slab? Leaks under slab are a common problem.
Make yourself a stethascope or just use a dowel and go around placing it on walls, ceilings etc. See if you can pinpoint the area the sound orginates.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Our water meter hums. I would hear it in the basement for the longest time and couldn't figure it out. it was bothering me also. I finally found out that it was the water meter.
Maybe check that out also!
good luck!
-renee


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RE: House is humming, literally

We have had different 'humming' in two different houses. In one very old house we had to rent briefly, it was bees in the wall.

In this house we had 'humming' for years that varied in intensity or when we could hear it. It was loudest in cold weather, sometimes loud in wind, other times just there, but mostly heard at night when in the bedrooms upstairs. What it ended up being was the phone wire/connection that came into the house. When they finally buried the wire, the humming stopped. It was a vibration, but not visible when looking at the wire from the outside nor could you hear it where it came into the box in the basement.


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RE: House is humming, literally

All of this information is very interesting.

I am definitely going to ask my fiance (I'm too chicken) to look in the attic. We just had our annual [subterranean] termite inspection literally 2 weeks ago and there's no evidence of anything. We bought this house last summer, but it had been tented in August of 2003 for swarming termites. The inspector just mentioned that the treatment for that generally lasts 10-12 years, so I hope nothing's in the attic.

We will also check the water meter and the phone line.

What's interesting is I noticed over the weekend, I think Saturday afternoon, once again as I was walking down the hallway, "Gee, that's funny,--- no hum." Just now, before writing this post, I went and checked and also, there's no hum. I truly cannot think of anything different right this moment, that's different. For now, I will check the attic, and the water meter and see where the phone line comes in.

Also, BTW, I realize what it sounds like. I know this is going to sound crazy (what hasn't so far?) but it sounds like a flute. Like if someone who was just playing one note for a very long time. When I said it waivers, it sounds like that same flute playing but 'trilling' with the note next to it.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Our old house used to hum also. It turned out that the insulator on our electric pole was loose and causing vibrations, which in turn was a humming noise by the time it went through the line, box, walls, etc.

Luckily, a friend of ours is an electrician and identified the problem.Also, according to our electric company it was pretty dangerous because it caused excess static to be built up in our home.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Lola,
Your description of the noise being like a trilling flute made me think of the noise that happens when you blow down the opening of an old-style Coke bottle. If you vary the strength and angle of the stream of air, the pitch will oscillate a bit. Have you ever done that?

That got me wondering if it is wind or air currents blowing over one of your roof vent stacks, or similar opening. It might change as the direction, force, etc. of the air movement changed.

Does that ring a bell? (Pretty soon you'll have a whole ensemble going - just be wary when the percussion section starts to go thump in the night .......!)

Molly~


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RE: House is humming, literally

Well listening to Art Bell one night I heard that there are entire towns where there is some kind of inexplicable hum going on and they speculated that it was some ELF- type phenomenon -- extremely low frequency-- which is used in military communications and other secret government type goings on--who knows?! I'm old enough where nothing would surprise me anymore.

re: unexplained hums--

http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/aug98/899153575.Bp.r.html


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RE: House is humming, literally

Find the water pipe enters the house. Touch the metal end of the screwdriver to the water pipe and put the handle end to your ear. If it is a water pipe issue, you will definetly hear it. Do it with water on and off. Also do it when the dishwasher, clotheswasher, sinks are in use. Look at your water bill for the gallons consumption. Make sure it is normal.
You can use that screwdriver to isolate the noise where ever it is ie plumbing, electical, framing, venting, transformer buried in the wall. I bet I could find it.
I am hoping to vacation in So. Cal this August, if your up for a visit?


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RE: House is humming, literally

Well, believe it or not, the hum has stopped. Since my last post on Monday, I have checked a couple times each day--- and thankfully--- quiet. I am going to check out the screwdriver trick at some point, Gzec.

Heck, all of these ideas are great. We had the water shut off on Saturday for a while, replacing an old bathroom faucet. Who knows if it had anything to do with the fact it's gone now. I'll keep you updated and thanks again!


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RE: House is humming, literally

Do you have power lines over the house I heard they hum,Is a neighbor near maybe his stereo?door bell stuck,they hum,noises like that drive me nuts I would have no rest till I found the source.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Maybe it was the water in your pipes. We used to have 'hammering' in the pipes. I think it had to do with air in the pipes. Maybe a lesser form of hammering is 'humming'??


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RE: House is humming, literally

Does the house have wind turbines on the roof? Sometimes, even with the lightest rotation these can make noise if they aren't perfectly balanced or lubricated. But, there would at least have to be a breeze for this to occur.


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RE: House is humming, literally/Cont...

Turbines will also turn without wind if there is a lot of heat buildup in the attic.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Hey Lola. I live about two hours away in the southern Sierras. Can't help on the humming though.

Amanda


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RE: House is humming, literally

Could be wind blowing across a vent pipe on your roof, like blowing over the edge of a coke bottle it makes a kind of whistling sound.

Also could be an a/c or heat pump compressor of a neighbor.


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RE: House is humming, literally

We had a humming in our house as well. It was due to a leaking gasket type thing in the toilet. Once that was replaced no more hum. That tiny leaking caused a vibration in the water pipes that could start up a hum loud enough to make you think that the whole house was coming down. We thought maybe it was a ghost at one point (not too seriously thought).

Several years later I saw a thing on one of the "Old House" type shows that showed exactly this same problem. Maybe your sink faucet was causing a similar problem. The vibration would resonate thoughout the pipes so it was difficult to localize.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Your post caught my attention because I hear humming at my house sometimes.
I think most often it is trains since we have some tracks within 1/2 to 1 mile from here. The tracks are used regularly with some trains being really long. A long line of cars sets up an interesting rhythm and at a distance the sound changes too. I can't say it sounds like a flute though. It is more like a low frequency sound.
One noise we've had is a toilet valve that doesn't quite shut off the water and it was a high whistling sound, if I jiggled the 'ball plug thing' in the tank it fixed it.
I hope we hear more about your mystery.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Well, it's been a couple weeks now since I last updated. For about a week in June there was no hum. For the past week or so, it's back and we still can't figure it out. It seems so loud! What's weird is it seems like the more the a/c kicks on (it's finally gotten pretty hot here in central CA) the louder or more pronounced it is. It doesn't get louder necessarily when the air is on---I can't hear the hum over the din of the a/c--- but in between the air kicking on, it's very discernible.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Use the large screw driver and track it down.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Wow! I'm in this new house for about a year and sometimes late at night when all is quiet, I also hear what sounds like a slight hum. I do know that there was a bees nest ( apparently evacuated) at one point, on the second floor, because when they pulled out the old windows to install the new ones, some of the sheet rock came with it, and there was the nest. We have a cedar shake house, the big rough shakes, and they apparently got underneath and through the wall. Now I have to wonder if there are other nests we don't know about yet!


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RE: House is humming, literally

Just wondering if anyone was hanging around this thread, and am also wondering if lola1's humming house is still quiet. About 20 years ago, my job relocated me to a small town in central Nebraska. I knew the relocation was temporary so I just rented an old farmhouse for my duration there. Early on we noticed a low hum and tried to find the source. Over the next week or so, we noticed at times it was louder, at times it was barely discernable, at times it had different pitches, on and on. Over the next few weeks, we nearly drove ourselved nuts looking for the source of the hum. Thinking it might be something running, we turned off all the electricity, but that did nothing to the hum. We looked for insect nest nests and birds, we covered all the vents and the chimney to make sure it wasn't wind whistling over them. We could hear the noise inside the house and along the north side of the house is was louder, and it was also more clear on second floor, but we couldn't hear the humming outside unless we were standing/setting by an open window or door and heard the noise coming out the opening. Frankly, we didn't tell too many people about our humming house because we thought me might be going crazy, but we did keet looking for the source. Finally, after living there several months, we met a neighbor from several miles away. He and his wife came over one evening for dinner and after the meal, we were all setting around relaxing, and his wife commented that our house was "singing." My wife and I looked at each other and commented that we were relieved to know we hadn't lost our minds. The neighbor guy laughed and said "Ya, your house is built over an old burial ground." We of course knew he was joking, and eventually he told us what was causing it; traffic noise from Interstate 80, which was nearly 8 miles north of us. If any of you have been to this part of Nebraska, you know that it is flat, nearly treeless, with little more than a few feet off the ground, and nothing to muffle noises such as Interstate traffic. We could not hear the traffic, but he said the vibrations are at a frequency below our hearing levels. When the low frequency waves hit the large flat wall of the house, they vibrate the house structure, not enought to feel, but enough to make it hum. During different times, different days of the week, different traffic volumes, etc, the vibrations varied so we would hear different hum pitches and volumes. He said they had faced that same problem years before, and had planted several rows of evergreen trees north of his house (I-80 was to the north) to break up the vibrations. At first I admit I thought he may be messing with us, but then I noticed on rainy days there was little or no humming so the falling rain must have sheilded the vibrations. Then winter hit, and on snowy days, when traffic was slow and the roadway covered by snow and ice to muffle the sounds, our house was quiet. Only when the roads were clear of snow did we hear the hum. The next spring we got permission from our landlord to plant trees, but we didn't live there long enough for the trees to grow enough for us to reap the benefits.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Hairy Old Man, what a great story! Makes perfect sense. Although I don't hear a hum in my house, I too am in a relatively flat area with a major interstate not far away. I don't hear any "overt" noise from the freeway, thank God, but if the house ever starts to hum I'll know what to look for! On a (somewhat) related note, a major, very old and solid concrete building (the original Montgomery and Wards store) was torn down a few years ago about 5 blocks from my house here in St. Paul. On a cold winter day the wrecking ball smashed it to bits: all the neighbors gathered around to view the sight since it was a historic building that (alas) couldn't be saved. The force of the blows caused the whole area to shake, evidently: many of our old homes in the neighborhood "settled" a bit from the event and developed minor (but annoying) plaster cracks in ceilings and walls.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Have you talked with any of your neighbors to see if they have similar noise. If no freeway near, there may be a factory or something operating at a frequency to send vibrations either through the ground or air. Perhaps those with similar exterior would be most apt to experience a similar hum. Worth a shot.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Well, here I am again. Since early July, we've had a bit of humming off and on. Again, it's funny. As I stood in the bathroom this morning washing up, I literally thought, "hmmph, no hum"--- I always notice when there's not a hum. Just checked, stood in the hallway seconds before writing this message: no hum.

Hairyoldman, that is a great story! At first I thought you were on an old burial ground, but alas, the highway! I grew up in a small town 40 miles southwest of Chicago, and yes, it was on an indian burial ground, so we were told by the town's oldest and one of the most respected residents. I believe she lived to be 102. Anyway, I could tell you stories about what went on in the house, but that's a whole other thread!!!

Anyway, there is a freeway probably only 1.5 miles away, but I live in a very heavily wooded area of Fresno. I promise will try Gzec's suggestion of using the screwdriver when I hear it next.

Hi Galeforce! - I'm sorry I forgot to say 'hey' in my last post.


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RE: House is humming, literally

ANOTHER HUMMING HOUSE...

Hello! Hope you don't mind opening this subject back up but I just saw this. My house also has a nonstop humming/vibration, except for one Sunday between about 12:30 pm and 8 pm. Occasionally loud enough to keep me awake and/or wake me up if not using earplugs. As with the original poster, I work at home and can monitor it. There are really good suggestions made here and I checked some out. The bare facts are as follows:

Started the end of October 2005. Inside it sounds like a generator or diesel truck idling nearby but absolute quiet outside. Same intensity throughout the house.

Semi-rural area--12 homes on our private street but pastures around us. Heard in 5 homes, 2 did not respond to my note. Not everone in a home hears it, i.e. my mom and bro do not. Furthest house from me that hears it is roughly 2/10ths of a mile away; 4 of 5 homes in between us do NOT hear it. Is this crazy or what?

Still present with main circuit breaker off and when electric company cut power to the street to work on the lines. Not affected by weather, use/non-use of water, gas or phone. Wires checked and nothing unusual found by electric and phone Co. Gas and water depts told me they never heard of anything like this in XX years of service, leaks would not be audible. Did not offer to come to the house. Nothing unusual in the utility bills. Another forum suggested asking the water Co if the line has a regulator, as it may be malfunctioning. Good idea but then wondered if that would affect such a wide area. Plus there was that 8-hour period when it stopped. Not sure what to ask of the gas/water depts at this point.

All but two homeowners were asked if they had installed a submersible pump or anything that could cause this, or if they noticed anyone else doing so, and denied. I was nice and even mentioned helping to pay for soundproofing.

Any suggestions to add to the good ones already mentioned before on this thread? Can you suggest what type of person to call to find a source of this?

Thank you for reading!


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RE: House is humming, literally

Off track, I know. Sometimes late Saturday night if we had the TV on, we could hear people's voices in addition to the show. We couldn't exactly make out the words,but they were definitely human voices. We decided it must have been picking up either a cell phone or a baby monitor. Luckily it stopped after about two years.


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RE: House is humming, literally

I had the same problem, but could only hear it when I laid my head against the pillow at night, it is more of a vibration and seems to keep a rythum or beat. Turned off all the breakers ect... finally realized it's coming from the frig as the refrigerant flows from the high side to the low side when the compressor is off. Turning off the power makes no difference and that's what fooled me. Now I can relax and don't have to keep checking for black helicopters over the house at night.


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RE: House is humming, literally

There is an Unsolved Mysteries show on this subject:

MYSTERY HUM - All around the world thousands of people say that they are being tormented by the sound of a loud persistent "Hum", that no one else can detect. What is the source of the mysterious hum? Despite the best efforts of scientists and researchers, no one knows what is causing the noise, why only a select group can hear it, or what can be done to stop it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mystery Hum


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RE: House is humming, literally -part two

For even more info, Google 'taos hum'. Some amazing stories there.


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RE: House is humming, literally

If this helps at all, try listening with your bones, that is like gzec said, use a screwdriver or any solid piece of metal and place one end on a surface of the house and the other on your mastoid prominence , which is a bony part of your skull just behind your ear lobe. Because bone conducts sound better than air you will be able to hear it louder this way and possibly determine where it is coming from. Do this and amaze your friends,thrill your nieghbors!


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RE: House is humming, literally

Lola, we haven't heard from you in a while, but your last comment about being near a highway made me think of RF from trucker's cb's and such. my father was a ham radio operator and he had a neighbor come over one night because of a loud hum and a light in the bathroom that would not shut off. he even took out the bulb and held it in his hand! it turned out that my father's amplified antenna was broken from a storm and it was leaking RF signal that was being picked up by the bulb and pipes in his wall. causing the hum and the light to excite into activity.
I don't know how to remedy this type of activity from truckers, other than planting pine trees between you and the signal. the needles form great rf filters.
John


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RE: House is humming, literally

Thanks for the additional suggestions.

Jannie, story in today's paper was about a radio tower and how local residents picked up gospel music from the metal garage door and other metallic things. Something to keep in mind if it happens again.

Beaglebuddy, because of the large distance, doubt it is the fridge but glad that you can sleep at night--NOT being sarcastic, either. Unknown night noises sure can be annoying.

SycamoreGuy, I also thought about the Taos hum but this started suddenly and had an 8-hour "off" period but you never know. There is a sleeping volcano within view. Uh-oh.

Wangshan, as for the screwdriver trick, tried it on the gas meter by the house. Can't say that it thrilled and amazed the neighbors but I bet it scared them! If they thought I was strange before...

VStech, I'm not Lola but liked the HAM radio story. It is something to look into. Lots of open space for waves to travel. I believe that is powered by something other than electricity, which would explain the hum's presence during a power outage.

Thanks again!


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RE: House is humming, literally

I've had these problems in two houses now -- hums and hearing something akin to voices or radio (especially when it is quiet at night.) Of course, my husband thought I was nuts, but at both locations we were/are a. Close to freeways b. Near radio and cellular antennae c. Less than 1 mile from an electrical transfer station.

Also, at our new house we are 6 miles away from two military installations and the airport.

I think all of our noises come through the rooftop AC ducts. It seems to function as an amplifier for both real noise and "phantom" noises.

Oh, and we also have the "singing" toilet -- it makes a happy tune when you flush. Some guests have likened it to a doorbell or a flute. Really, it is just the last overture of lousy galvanized plumbing.


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RE: House is humming, literally

This thread is interesting, weird and funny, but I have a couple of thoughts.

Noises that actually come from neighboring houses can come through the water pipes. We know when the neighbors flush their toilet! (More than we want to know about them)

Electromagnets hum and transformers are electromagnets. A utlity pole transformer, if it's noisy enough, can send noise through the wires that connect the house to the utlity lines. Door bell transformers can hum and in some old houses a couple of them can be still connected to the power even though they were abandoned long ago.

Because of the description that it sounds like a flute, I have to think it's associated with water pipes. They often have that kind of sound. If a nearby valve in the neighborhood is making the noise you'd never find it in the house, but you could hear it in the pipe where the water service comes in. It can be determined to be inside or outside by shutting off the main shutoff valve and physically disconnecting the inside pipe from the valve. If it's coming from outside, the screwdriver trick will pick it up on the valve but not on the inside pipe.

Just a few random thoughts.

Don


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RE: House is humming, literally

I have the exact same problem in my house, that's only 2 years old! I would describe it in the same way. I've tried most everything and now I'm about to get the utilities involved. Any other new thoughts?


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RE: House is humming, literally

Well not to confuse the issue more but... if it is an old house. If it is near the ocean; in an old whaling or fishing town. It could be your chimmny. In days of yore bottles were placed in chimmnys. In such a way that if a northeast wind was blowing hard they would whistle. This was a warning that a storm was coming.
sheshe


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RE: House is humming, literally

It could be the mechanical vibration from utility wires attached to the house. I have a steel radio tower behind my house, and a long #10 copper wire antenna (approx 450'in length) is strung between the tower and two wooden poles each about that distance from the tower. There is probably 250 lbs of tension on the wire to minimise sagging.

Under certain weather condition, with a light, steady breeze, especially during cool weather, the wire vibrates in the wind like the strings on a violin. This in turn vibrates the tower structure, and you can hear the humming sound sometimes as far away as 100' from the tower.

This is strictly a MECHANICAL vibration, unrelated to any electrical device associated with the tower. I have been hearing it for over 25 years, ever since installing the tower.

A telephone wire, or electrical drop cable from the utility pole to the house could be vibrating in the breeze in a similar manner. This is especially true if the electrical drop to the house is the old fashioned kind with two or three separate wires running from the pole to the house, each attached with screw-in porcelaine insulators.

If the run from the pole is fairly long, there has to be a considerable amount of tension on the wires, so that may be the source of the vibration.

Don


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RE: House is humming, literally

Found this thread through Google. We've got a humming/buzzing house. It started tonight, about an hour ago. What we're hearing is what sounds like somebody using an electric screwdriver (usually ends with the noise a screwdriver or power drill makes when the screw is sunk completely and the drill/screwdriver bit slips). It sounds a little like bees but mechanical bees (if that makes sense and there such things as mechanical bees).

I thought it was coming from the attic but I've been up there and can't even hear it up there. We live in an old house, built in '54. Any ideas?


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RE: House is humming, literally

most of the time when i hear "symptoms" like you describe, it is attic ventilation, usually it is the roof turbin which is used for attic ventilation, do you have one on this house??? if so there is your problem


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RE: House is humming, literally

Does it change based on how windy it is outside?


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RE: House is humming, literally

I have the same problem as cpol1972. When it is windy outside, we hear what sounds like a slipping electric screwdriver on the exterior wall up near the attic. I suspect it is caused by attic ventilation. Any ideas on how to fix this?


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RE: House is humming, literally

we just had this happen to us today. A weird humming in the center of the house. I tried going through every circuit breaker. Nothing. It seemed to peak in the wall behind one of the bathrooms. For some reason I tried turning on the hot water in that bathroom faucet and the humming instantly stopped. It resumed in about a minute. I repeated this a few times, then finally turned on every hot water outlet in the house, let it all run for about 3 minutes, then turned them all off one by one. The humming hasnt returned. That was about an hour ago.

I think its related to the water pipe hammering mentioned above. We had 3 teens sleep over last night and the hot water got a lot of use this morning, 4 hot showers. Combined with very cold weather I'm guessing there was some kind of pressure issue.

Good luck to yall.


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RE: House is humming, literally

I am so glad I found this post. I've been having a humming in my house for many months now. I had the electric company out, they shut off the electric, but it was still audible. I've checked the water too. The house is only 12 years old, and this only started in mid 2006. There are radio towers about a quarter mile away, no highways near by, and my land is far from flat. The humming is constant and drives me nuts at night. I've gotten one of those alarm clocks with "soothing" sounds to try to drown out the hum, but when I put my head to the pillow, I still hear the hum.

Has anyone come up with any viable resolutions other than electric, water, highway, or insanity? By the way, my son hears it sometimes and someone else has also heard it - so it's not just me. HELP!


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RE: House is humming, literally

We had this sorta thing in our 1970's home when we first moved in here 16 years ago. We were told it was the plumbing and to open all faucets and let run for several minutes to clear the lines of air/pressure. Whatever, it worked. LOL...good luck, that has to be irritating, it was here.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Our neighbors have an outside hot tub that periodically churns and the hum is deafening. I mentioned it to them, and they set it so that it wouldn't go off at night, which was a blessing. I had to sleep in earplugs.


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RE: House is humming, literally

hi i read your humming noise story i have the same problem i have humming noise which has been going on since i have lived here and i have done exactley what you have done ,i am writing this at 04:20 with the loud humming noise in the house which also sounds like it coming from the attick . I also have switched off everything including main circuit the noise can happen at anytime but now again goes away ,i know i definatley have not got tinnitus its driving me mental . this was an old house which we have put on an extention the only thing i havent done is sit in the attick in the middle of the night


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RE: House is humming, literally

Near my home town, a gas powered electricity generating plant was built. The vibrations were so bad that the plant had to buy all the homes within a ten mile radius.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Ridge vents hum and vibrate. Also, the baffles / polyvinyl vents will hum if they are not attached to the attic ceiling because they flap in the wind.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Well, as if enough people haven't already reported this - I have the hum too! It started last week. I have tracked the source down to the copper water pipe that is running from the main to the refrigerator. When I turn on the water at the kitchen faucet, the hum stops for a second, then comes right back. If I turn it off and on several times, for varying durations, sometimes it goes away for a longer period of time. I know the hum is water-related in my house, not sure about everyone else's. Now to figure out if it's air in the line, a leaking fixture somewhere, or a leak in the pipe itself. I haven't found water anywhere, but it could be leaking under the slab (eek).


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RE: House is humming, literally

You've got a residual haunting going on. Joking! or maybe. I belong to a paranormal research group, and I'm also a professional engineer by trade. So, I usually dismiss 99% of cases of paranormal question. But, sometimes, you get ones you can't explain. That's when things get really interesting.

In your case, however, I think this one is explainable. I agree with Oberon. I think you are experiencing radio frequencies and possible electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs). Some produce an audible sound - constant, low-buzzing sound.

Electric blankets do that. Find an old one, lay it down on the bed, and lay over it. You will hear it "hum" through your pillow. Strange, but true.

Keep us posted. Love to hear everyone's opinions.


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RE: House is humming, literally

No suggestions to stop the humming, but a band-aid that may help some: at some point in his business travels, my husband bought noise-cancelling headphones. Fortunately he came clean when I had to do some travelling myself and I was seated near the back of the plane on a full flight. I hate the loud engine noise at the back of a plane; I always try to sit near the front. Anyway, I put these babies on and they made a huge difference. Showed them to the stewardess and her eyes nearly popped out when she put them on. So, if humming is disturbing your sleep, these might help until you can track down the source and remedy it.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Have had exactly the same problem.
Problem so bad its been giving neighbours headaches-sleep pattern depravation etc etc.
A low resonant humming getting stronger at night etc etc.
Not caused by traffic,electricity etc.
Humming caused by water pipe vibrations causing all sorts of low frequency bass like wooing noises.
Have found the problem tonight - pressure variance in water mains pressures.Too much pressure causes pipes to hum.
Possible causes - pumping station pressures too high - pressure reducing valves malfunctioning - mains pipes causing transient noise due to a "Dead end" section of the mains pipe.

Symptoms that can be checked - when the hum is at its loudest turn one of your taps on - the hum may reduce if the pressure lessens in the mains supplying the house - have you noticed any high flow/pressure rates from your taps?
Not certain but a loss of water pressure may have similar properties also.

If in doubt get your water utility company to do a flow/pressure check on the mains /in your house etc.

The turning tap on trick will only work if its sufficient to
reduce the mains pressure - if not try to get neighbours etc to turn theirs on at the same time etc.

I live in england in wales in Newport.
I will now update my posts when the utility company is made aware of the cause of my problem and tells me how they are going to fix it.

This is a problem with humming that for me has been caused by mains water supply pressure problem - not necessarily your problem.Simply turning the stop cock to your house off is not enough - the problems still there because the pipes are still singing to the pressure problem.

Hope this helps somebody.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Along the lines of the "Taos hum", your house could be on a ley line. Those are lines of energy that criss cross the Earth's surface. Lots of strange things can happen on ley lines, especially at points where two or more come together. Native Americans have many stories about the energy meridians, including audible signs such as a humming or "singing" type noise.


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RE: House is humming, literally

My house does the same thing! Idk wat's going on in my house, either. I can hear it the loudest in my bathroom, but you can also hear it in the kitchen...
...it started just a couple hours ago, and it isn't an insectish noise. it's more of a creeking sound, like a small earthquake but without the vibrations. it really sounds like a pipe is shaking or something...
...maybe there's a sinkhole collapsing, slowly, and the stress put on the pipes is causing the noise? I honestly have no idea..??
Oh, and the house isn't old, so I dont think that's the problem.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Wow, I do not believe that so many people has the problem I have been having for three years. I am amzed when someone suggests tinnitus. I have explained I hear hummjing, not ringing. It is a sound and not a noise. Mine sounds like a low hum of a refrigerator or a motor lowly idling.

I have had plumber, water, gas, power, and anybody else you can imagine here in my house in Georgia. This is a 1970s house and the hum began about two weeks after having a new water heater installed. The pressure was too high and the plumber came in and corrected it. Two weeks later, the hum began.

I don't get a complete night's sleep at all. What little sleep I get comes from le4aving the tv on late and then turning the radio on. Now, I can run the attic fan all night so I don't have to hear it.

Some people have heard it and others haven't. I stopped mentioning it for fear people thought I was losing my great mind-lol. People still ask me time to time if I still hear it. I tell them yes. When the power is out, it's just me and the hum. Drives me nuts. It is 24/7, never stops and in every room of my house. You can't escape it.

I had a client in my office and he asked, "what is that". I said, oh you hear that. He said yes, what is it. I said, I wish I knew.

There are a couple of things here that's given me some hope. I will try the water trick, though I believe my plumber did all of thesse things. I will have the telephone company come out to check the lines. Everything else, I believe I have done.

Good luck to all of us living with this in all areas of the country.

Peachie


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RE: House is humming, literally

My house use to hum. Some days it would drive me nuts, but my husband could not here it (he's a bit deaf, so that was no surprise).

It was most noticable in the 1.5 story section of the house. I don't have a basement and no ductwork. I would wander around and try to pin point it. One day I went so far as to go out to the power pole by the shop and shut off the power to the entire farm - still heard the noise so I know it was not electircal. Shutting off the water at the incoming line didn't help either. I use to get up at night and go outside and see if I could hear any grain dryers in the distance, but I could only hear the noise from inside the house.

My house is an old farmhouse, and had lots of rot damage and previous remodel issues and - well, it was a mess. Over the years, we have completley gutted the house.

In the course of it all, we have rebuilt walls, rebuilt roofs, jacked up the house and rebuilt foundations, all new windows and doors, housewrap, insulation and new siding.

And after getting it all done, the house no longer hums. The only thing I can think of is air currents moving through the walls caused it some how. BTW - I could only hear it on calm days, but that is because when it was windy out, there was so much airflow in the house that noise drowned out the hum. I grew up in a different old farmhouse, and use to think whistling windows was the norm. The first time my husband and I spent the night at my folks house (where I grew up) my husband woke me up in the middle of the night to ask what that horrid noise was. I said it was just the wind in the windows, and he asked how I could sleep with that. I told him that was nothing, he should hear it in the winter.

But back to my current old farmhouse, either we plugged up the holes causing the hum, or there was a spook attached to some part of the house that we removed and took to the dump. Wonder if they now have strange humming coming from the landfill site.

Cathy


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RE: House is humming, literally

We have been hearing humming from inside the walls in our 100 year old home. It sounds like doves cooing, or the sound when one blows over the end of a soda bottle, or a flute playing a single note with varying force, or a squirrel cage fan making a rotational sound with resistance.
We can stop the sound if we turn the water supply off, but the sound returns as soon as the water is turned back on. We can flush a toilet and the noise stops until the toilet tank fills back up, then the noise starts again.
My local plumber thought it was a friction between the water pipes and tie downs to secure the pipes (especially those that could touch wood structure.
The noise has progressed over the past several months and it can be heard while watching/listening to the TV.
We turned off the water heater and it made no difference. We turned of the electricity and it made no difference.
I'm thinking the ghost theory is as good as anything else at this point! We think we can see them moving around in the evening.
Seriously, this is getting on our nerves. Any ideas out there?


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RE: House is humming, literally

"We can stop the sound if we turn the water supply off..."

Go check the water meter and see if it is running when everything should be off.

Noise when water flows (like the tank filing) is a lot more common problem, but you may have a leak.


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RE: House is humming, literally

I, too, have had a humming house for nearly a year now. No one hears it but me. My husband gets angry when I mention it, but it keeps me awake. It drives me crazy, especially at night. I hear the sound upstairs and downstairs in most rooms. I can't determine the direction the sound comes from, and it is not louder when I put my ear or a glass to walls. I have turned all electric and water off for hours to try and make the sound stop. I was two when this house was built approximately 50 years ago. I have lived here for more than a decade as an adult. The sound began about a year ago. It doesn't seem to matter whether the wind is still or blowing. It does seem to get very loud on hot days. I don't hear the sound in places other than my house.


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RE: House is humming, literally

We have the "humming". On reading posts it looks like it might be a water pipe issue? Has anyone found how to solve the problem?


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RE: House is humming, literally

When I was out of town 2 weeks ago, my husband heard a vibrating sound a few times and chalked it up to one of kids' toys. Sometimes they dig through the toy box in their room and something gets turned on or woken up.

It stopped until yesterday afternoon. I heard a brief, 5 second humming/vibrating sound while standing in the hallway outside my daughter's room. I'm painting in there and the window was open so I thought it was either the plastic drop cloth or the tape around the door frame.

At the time, I didn't even remember husband's earlier comments about a noise.

Last night, in the middle of the night, I heard the same sound. Again, very short in length. The first time it was on my side of the bed, very close to me.. the second time, way across the room. After thinking about it for a while, I was positive it was a ladybug!

We get them in the fall and spring and for some reason, they get stuck on their backs and spin around, making a weird vibrating noise.

I heard it a few hours later, again in the hallway. There's carpeting there, though, so I don't think it would make a sound or even get stuck in the first place.

I'm going to vacuum the entire house today... we'll see if that stops it. ??????


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RE: House is humming, literally

I have heard the humming in my house for several months, it sounds like a generator or diesel engine running. I hear the humming noise inside and outside my house. I turned off all the breakers and still heard the humming. The next day I went accross the street to listen to the transformer box...thats it I thought; it was buzzing, so the next morning went over to my electric meter, put my ear up to it and heard the humming or buzzing. I called the power company and they came out turned off everything in the circuit breaker box ...still humming.They said that in their 25 years on the job they never came across anything like this. Now they are sending an engineer out to take a look. can it possibly be that the humming at the transformer box is resonating though the wires buried in the ground and therefore coming through my walls? I can't sleep I hear it at night and early morning.


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RE: House is humming, literally

I thought I was going crazy! SO nice to read I'm not the only one who has a house hum problem. This has been going on for only two weeks now (that I can figure)and I'm already going out of my mind. My husband and I have been reading through all of these posts and have ruled out several factors.

This noise is not wind, bees or insects, it doesn't go away when the power is all turned off,it's not trucks from the nearby highway, or water leaking. After hearing all of these great description of sounds, he nailed the sound exactly. You would have to be as "old" as we are to know the sound, however. Do you remember the way the TV sounded when stations signed off at night followed by the color bars that lived on the station all night accomplanied by that hum sound? That's it exactly, to the point that we think it's the same key or close to it. So it doesn't fluctuate or waiver at all. It's actually an G note on a musical scale.

One internet search I did came up with a great trick to pinpoint the sound. Put a paper towel tube up to you ear and it will focus the sound as you turn around and listen to the direction it comes from. Bizarre! I plugged one ear, did the tube test and it's so strange. In some places it's GONE but when you turn another degree or two it gets louder! It seems to be the loudest in between our kitchen and family room - they are one really long space with no dividing walls. It's not outside the house, in the attached garage, the basement or in any other room in the house. Any thoughts are welcome!


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RE: House is humming, literally

I rent a home and for 1 year I heard a noise no one could identify that is of an Ultra Low Frequency Nature. It was worse when I went to bed; it sounded like I was above a boiler room. I've had plumbers, electricians and such not be able to identify the noise. It ceased after a year and then started up intermittently after a few weeks. Now after 2 years I find that if I run a couple of gallons of water at the kitchen sink (it's an old farmhouse sink) that the noise ceases for several hours. So I do it right before I go to bed.
I've been using the excess water from this procedure to water plants in the garden but when the weather gets to cold I'll just have to pour it down the drain. Luckily the landlord, who was never really interested in identifying the noise, has to pay the water bill.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Beth
Based on what you describe, it could be that one or more fixtures (i.e., sinks, tubs, etc.) was not vented properly.


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RE: House is humming, literally

Thanks, kudzu9. I'll mention to the landlord. Think good thoughts.


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RE: House is humming, literally

I hear a humming noise which I think comes from telephone wires. It is sometimes there in the day and I can hear it outside especially when standing under wires which makes me think its coming from them. Earplugs dont help. i f I turn my head it stops but immediately starts again it keeps me awake. Its not every night and when I sleep somewhere else I dont hear it.


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RE: House is humming, literally

My house is 16 years old and has had a humming problem since it was built. It usually stays the same pitch, may pause for a second or two, and sometimes intensifies in loudness. I hear it throughout the whole house but notice that it stops when the refrigerator kicks on. Thinking that it had something to do with the refrigerator, I have unplugged the refrigerator but the humming still occurs.


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RE: House is humming, literally

I had to laugh when reading some of the posts here. I too have this problem. I actually called 911 just because. The first time, I was told that some nearby fort I'd never heard of was doing some work and that others had complained, but after a couple of weeks, I again called 911 and no one knew anything about that. Twice I called the police, and the first time, no one could detect the vibration/humming. they suggested I call a contractor or house inspector to track it down. (all I could think was: great! expense, expense, expense!) The next time I called, at 3:00 am and I couldn't sleep and was thinking of an old enemy that I was concerned had invented a brand-new way to torture me!!!, the police, who consisted of 3 young officers, arrived and not one could hear this--to me--very obvious low-level humming.
I'm just so glad to know there could be a non-enemy explanation!!! I know I'm not crazy, but it was quite embarrassing when those 3 young men told me they couldn't hear anything, and I just know what kind of conversation they had about me later!
My humming seems to occur randomly, goes all night for sure, and I have wondered whether it could harm the house. All that humming/vibrating, you know.
Anyone know about this aspect of it?
I can live with the humming if I know it's just benign.
Thanks for any ideas, although I have to say this thread has opened up all kinds of possibilities--yikes! I just had to laugh over the 'black helicopters hovering' comment. Must have been written by another woman!

aurora


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RE: House is humming, literally

House is humming: Check
Hums when power is off: Check
Hums when water is shut off to the house: Check
Bled water pressure: Check
Hum is louder when I try to go to bed: Check
Turned power off during bed time: Check
Turned water off during bed time: Check
Constant low frequency: Check
Driving me nuts: Check
Doesn't bother wife: Check
Can't sleep: Check
1:05 AM: Check


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RE: House is humming, literally

My house is about 12 years old. We bought it 5 years ago. At about 4:30 AM in the morning I can hear a low hum in the walls, especially in one room of the house if I press my ear against the exterior wall. The strange thing is that it is on some sort of time sequence, starting early in the morning, then the hum goes for exactly 8 or 9 seconds, then is silent for a few seconds, then hums for exactly the sale amount of time, starting and stopping at specific times intervals. Eventually it stops altogether, but comes again at other times on the same exact timing. When I go upstairs near the attic and the air handling unit, the sound is less pronounced. So it does not seem to be emanating from upstairs.


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RE: House is humming, literally

It may be the sub woofer. Salt can cause electrostatic interferance with the conection of the sub woofer of your home stereo or surround sound. Even sweat can trigger the sub woofer interferance. It does not have to be on to do this because lots of sub woofers have a separate power conection. Also, your suround sound may be left on even and even if the tv is off the surround sound will still have a hiss or humm coming from the speakers. If you find this is the problem you can leave the cable box on and insure the surround system and tv are off. The cable box ony sends a small signal and not power to the speakers. It could also be a transformer or power lines outside echoing into the attic vents vibrating the home. Also, some bugs outside could be humming at night. Cyclids crickets and locusts could sound diferent inside the home. It could also be your neighbors air conditioner.


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RE: House is humming, literally

bumping up for mamarazzi


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RE: House is humming, literally

This exact same thing is happening to me - I can here a constant bass type sound in my house from most rooms but most promenantly the master bedroom. It doesn't go on 24 hours a day but the times it is silent is maybe about 10-20% of the time, the rest of the time I can hear it. My finance says he can't but his hearing isn't the best and background noises don't bother him. At first I thought it was the wind but I went outside when it was really noisy and I can't hear it at all from outside. I feel maybe then it's either an electrical issue or something in the attic. All I know is its driving me absolutely nuts and I can even hear it over the TV! I noticed today there are some cables running directly from a telephone pole to the roof and reading some of the earlier posts I'm wondering if this has something to do with it. Who can I call to figure it out?


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