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Question DetailsAsked on 2/12/2017

Why do we hear washing machine drainage sounds from the apartment below us?

We recently started hearing what sounds like the drainage of a washing machine in our laundry closet. We are on the top floor and there is nothing running in our condo apartment. I'm assuming that it's from the resident below doing laundry. I believe the laundry rooms are stacked over each other in the building and drain into a common drain pipe. The resident has recently moved in which, I would assume, is why we haven't heard this before. The sound is only heard for a few minutes maybe every couple of days which again makes me believe it's the resident using the washer.

Would this be considered normal to hear that drainage noise from a downstairs unit?

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1 Answer

Voted Best Answer

Yes this is common - especially with plastic drain pipes as in most modern buildings. The older cast iron drain pipes, being a lot more dense, limited the noise transmission a lot more.

IF you are hearing it once a day when it happens - would more likely be a tub or such empthying. If twice or 4 times or 6 times, with intervals between pairs of the sound about 5-10 minutes apart - likely washer (wash and rinse cycles) - you could probably tell for certain if from their washer pretty easily if you listen at your washer drain pipe or adjacent wall or floor when you hear the noise to see if you hear their washer humming or making agitation/spin noise.

One thing that is likely - new tenant may well have a newer, higher capacity pump washing machine - so it is pumping out the water faster. With the normal 1-1-/2" to 2" washer drain pipe, while the water may have flowed nicely through the pipes before, a high-capacity pump can put out as much as 3 times the flow volume of older washers - meaning the pipe can be filling up as the water goes through fittings - commonly backing up in the pipe partway, then making a glugging or gushing or jetting noise as it goes down, pulling some air with it so you get ann air/waer mixture - which makes noise.

Noise could be coming up the same drain pipe as your washer is on (in which case would sound loud if you put your ear or a cardboard tube or such to the drain pipe that your washer drain hose goes into), or the noise could be coming up the vent pipe that all the drain lines connect into and leads to the roof to vent sewer gases and to provide makeup air to prevent your drains traps from having the water pulled out them as volumes of water go down through the pipe.

I would say nothing to worry about, especially as you are a floor above them - also probably nothing you can realistically do about it. This is a VERY common sound in apartments and condos - not only from washers emptying, but also filled tubs, washtubs, sinks, and any other large-volume water source like hot tubs or jacuzzi's being emptied - hence the only a few minutes at a time of the noise.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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