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Question DetailsAsked on 1/19/2018

I have a humming and vibration from with in my walls from behind washer and bathroom that are close to each other

Humming and vibration that shuts on an off behind washer and bathroom within the wall. Who do I call or what do I do

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Here are a bunch of links to previous similar questions with some fairly detailed responses, FYI:

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In trying to track this down, a stethoscope is commonly helpful in tracking down the source, which may be some distance away from where the pipes are humming. If nothing else, saves your neck and back from bending to listen at wall, floor, faucets, pipes, etc. First thing is to tie down whether this occurs only when water is being run or not and if only with cold or hot and if only with high flow or low flows too (so a pipe noise if so, likely a mechanical source or occasionally a leaking pipe if only when water is not running). Normally a leak, unless so large as to cause pretty much immediately visible water on a floor (or maybe outside faucet or sprinkler system leaking heavily due to freezing), will not cause vibration - just a whishing or gentle water flowing sound like if a faucet or toilet is dripping.


See if turning off whole-house fan or furnace/AC or any other ventilation fan stops it, if a furnace blower or exhaust eductor fan or boiler circulating pump is the cause, possibly (if you have such) a constant-hot water circulating pump in the hot lines or a well/tank supply pump is causing it, etc. Turn each of those off, and any other noise-causing device you can find in the house, to see if those stop it.


Also, listening at incoming line at water meter or shutoff valve can tell you if it is due to a restriction in the supply line (if loudest out there and only when water is flowing) or maybe a loud pump in the supply system outside the house causing it. If on a well and/or septic, a noisy (maybe bearings starting to go out or running dry because the float switch is bad) pump or septic lift pump can sometimes cause this.


Also listen around outside - sometimes a neighbor's attic fan or A/C starting to run noisy can cause this and carry through pipes.


Also check sump pump and any water treatment/sotening/filtration system you might have which might be running noisy - or sounding an alarm. Some use a water-pressure powered alarm so the sound carries through the pipes.


Ditto to any fire/smoke/CO/water flooding alarms which might be sounding or alarming a low battery condition.


If this is NOT correlated with water being used (by yourself or in adjacent unit in the building maybe, if multi-unit building), then if it is turning on and off almost certainly furnace/boiler, A/C, or some type of fan or pump causing it. Or something like a dishwasher turning on and off - some modern dishwashers take an hour or two to run the cycle, running a bit of water then sitting for some times to let it soak into the food residue and soften it before starting the water flow again for the next part of the cycle.


If you have a high-efficiency water heater or boiler or furnace, it will almost always have an eductor fan - a fan which helps push along the exhausst gases through the plastic exhaust flue - this will run whenever the unit is firing (gas or oil fired) and occasionally even in between if you have a standing (constantly burning) pilot, thguh standing pilot is rare in a high efficiency unit.


Some high efficiency water heaters have a heat pump (with electrical connection) mounted on top of them) scavenging heat from the surrounding air to provide some of the water heating and to maintain temperature when sitting idle - this can run at odd intervals. Ditto to a heat pump - air-sourced or running off a roof-mounted orin-ground water based heat source system.


If you can't track it down with a stethoscope immediately, once you eliminate a lot of the above possibilities that can simplify finding what is causing it, and whether you need a Plumbing or Heating and A/C or Electrical or whatever contractor to solve it - or DIY. Or if you are totally stumped as to possible sources, a Handyman and some Home Inspectors will also do this sort of tracking down for you - though Home Inspector wouldnot be able to fix anything.

Answered 10 months ago by LCD




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