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Also use the page top (blue area) search box to search InspectApedia by noise type, or use Ctrl-F to search within this article for specific noise or sound types such as buzz, creak, hiss, drip, etc. Here we provide an extensive catalog of the sources of annoying sounds or noise complaints at or around buildings. Some building noises are just an annoyance - we'll focus on sound control, sound isolation, and sound insulation methods. This article explains how to locate the source of, identify and correct various building sounds and noises indoors or on occasion, noises from outside that penetrate indoors at annoying levels. While we touch on environmental noise coming from outside of buildings (aircraft noise, highway noise, noisy neighbors) the focus of this article series is on identifying and curing unwanted indoor noise sources in buildings - noise control. Airborne Sound: Sound waves traveling through air move between building areas - such as through open windows, doors, or stairwells. Mechanically transmitted sound: When sounds move through solid building components such as floors, ceilings, walls, framing, carrying sound from one area to another the sound transmission is referred to more technically as impact insulation class transmission or IIC sound transmission. In many cases the source of an annoying building sound may be obvious and we can move immediately to strategies for reducing that source to an acceptable noise level.
In our collection of sources of building sounds and noises, below, we describe common noises that may come from various sources and we link to more detailed diagnostic and repair advice for these problems. Separately at SOUND CONTROL in buildings we provide a series of detailed articles on noise or sound transmission control - that is, methods for reducing unwanted building noise levels through building design, insulation, sound isolation, and noise barriers. To track a mystery-noise or sound to its source in a building, try keeping a noise log, noting the conditions, times, events, and information we list in our printable SOUND EVENT LOG. Beginning below, we provide an alphabetically-ordered catalog of building noises and sounds, with suggestions for tracking down these disturbances. At AIR CONDITIONING & HEAT PUMP NOISES we discuss a range of noises can be traced to air conditioning systems, including sounds of air leaks into or out of air ducts and air handlers as well as mechanical sounds traced to the air handler or blower, or the compressor unit (outside). VIBRATION DAMPENERS for a discussion of devices used to isolate noises produced by HVAC air handlers such as air conditioners and furnaces.
COMPRESSOR CONDENSER NOISES provides detailed diagnostic help in finding, evaluating, and fixing noisy compressor units. FAN NOISES, HVAC - humming, rattling, banging, clicking noises traced to fan motors, fan belts, or fan blades impacting other items due to loose fans or failed fan bearings. See NOISE CONTROL for HEATING SYSTEMS where we describe other heating system noise sources and cures. Bubbling sounds occur in all types of building piping systems when there is air or gas mixed in with water or another liquid such as refrigerant. REFRIGERANT LEAK REPAIR and may indicate a refrigerant leak, though bubbling sounds on split systems at the indoor wall unit may be normal for some products - see our note below about water noises. You may also hear bubbling sounds in water piping if there is excess air in the water supply system. Buzzing, snapping, crackling, popping - may be dangerous electrical switch or breaker indicators. A clicking noise might be traced to a failing electrical control in the air handler or outside at the fan-compressor unit, leading to a control switching on and off too rapidly. Duct system noises: hisses, whistles, even roars, and occasionally clunk or clank sounds from expanding or contracting metal ductwork. Humming sound might be traced to a failing compressor motor or a failing electric motor on a blower fan. While usually we consider the sight or sound of bubbles in the refrigerant piping as an indication of low refrigerant, for some systems this may not be the case and for at least some split system models Fujitsu points out that this sound may be normal. Running or bubbling water sounds are heard in hot water heating system pipes, baseboards, radiators, & fan convectors if there is excess air in the heating system piping. Watch out for bites, rabies, and for racoons who like to find a way into the attic where they bat around the Christmas tree ornaments and leave little sooty footprints all over everything.
If you suspect a chimney fire and can do so safely, shut down your wood stove (close all air intakes) or close any chimney dampers as well, immediately exit the building, and call the fire department from outdoors. Also see FLOOR TYPES & DEFECTS - inspection, diagnosis, repair, and installation tips for resilient flooring, vinyl and asphalt floor tiles, wood flooring, tile floors, carpeting in buildings. Among of our building inspection & diagnosis clients have been a few folks who were quite sure that noises and even some visions in buildings were due to the presence of spirits or ghosts. In most cases sounds and odors were tracked to a physical source and speaking more accurately, if a physiological, psychological, or neurological cause of noise perception is ruled out, all other building noises can ultimately be tracked to a physical source inside or outside of the building.
We have traced creaking, chirping, and creaking noises to moving hardware, typically metal or wood or metal and wood parts moving across one another.
More often we find these building noise sources by tracking the sound to a point of origin, seeing something moving, and then relating the sound to the cause of movement.
Often a squeak or creak that seems to occur in regular intervals that diminish in volume is traced to a hinged fixture that moves when disturbed.
A creaking squeaking noise traced to a metal toilet paper holder that squeaked when it was jostled to move from side to side (photo, above left). Hearing Disabilities and the ability to identify and track the source of noises in buildings can be difficult for the hearing impaired. We just had our deck rebuilt, changing the warped wood for grooved composite boards held together by hidden Trex fasteners. I suspect the howling deck is a feature of one of the following, combined of course, with wind direction and site or terrain shape and features.
You could try a directional mike, even a mechanic's stethoscope but let's try something else first. Try stapling house wrap first underneath the entire deck floor, from below, on the bottom of the joists.
Buzzing - bees in walls such as honeybees nesting in a building wall or roof cavity, or other bee activity on the building exterior - such as carpenter bees. Termites or carpenter ants, while tiny as individuals, as a group, chewing away at wood components in a building can make a chewing or tearing noise that some people and many pets or other animals can hear, especially if there is no covering background noise.
Our article PLUMBING SYSTEM NOISE SOURCES lists the sources of all types of plumbing noises and traces them to their source. Certain building configurations, such as occupied attics or under-roof areas with cathedral ceilings, and metal roofed buildings may transmit noises to the building interior through the roof sheathing and building framing.


Where roof-transmitted sound reduction is most sought is in buildings located close to high noise areas such as under the flight path to airports. Accurate diagnosis of the source of roof noise transmission is important in deciding what remedy may work best. One frequently cited disadvantage of metal roofing is that it generates a noticeable noise when struck by rain, hail, or even dropping acorns. However, when installed over a solid substrate, with normal levels of insulation, the noise should not be noticeably different than with other roofing types.
STC or sound transmission class is defined as the level of reduction of sound transmission from outside noise sources to the building interior. OITC or Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class describes the sound transmission loss properties of building exterior components like windows and walls against noise from traffic, trains, or low flying aircraft.
I'd start by temporarily blocking off the ridge vent by simply taping some plastic over it. Stair noises in buildings include noisy stair treads that may creak or snap when stepped-on. Noise transmitted through walls (or ceilings) from mechanical rooms (boilers, furnaces) or utility rooms (washing machine, dryer) can be reduced by using good sound isolation construction and insulating materials. Watch out: water heater noises can indicate a high level of water heater scaling that increases water heating cost, reduces the quantity of hot water available, and can reduce water heater life. While sound-reducing or low-sound transmission windows using noise-reducing laminated glass and similar noise-reducing exterior or interior building doors are available, remember that as soon as you open a window for ventilation, the sound isolation benefit at that location is lost. Sound-reducing doors should be of solid materials, have no glass windows or glazing, and should be sealed around the door perimeter with sound insulating foam or similar gaskets. Continue reading at AIR LEAK NOISES in BUILDINGS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. Research and writing for insurance, risk management, safety & health, business, and medical professionals. Developments in Noise Control, NRCC, National Research Council, Canada, suggestions for noise control, sound transmission through block walls, plumbing noise control, noise leaks, and sound control advice. Thanks to reader Michael Anderson, 8 May 2009, for discussing clicking sounds coming from air conditioning equipment.
Marpac, produces white sound generators, a product that they identify as the Marpac sound conditioner. Barrier Ultra-R super high-R building panels, produced by Glacier Bay, use Aerogel and are rated up to R-30 per inch, or in Barrier Ultra-r™ panels, R-50 per inch.
The annoyance we feel when faced with noise is the most common outward symptom of the stress building up inside us. This publication is intended to complement the EPA's "Levels Document,"* the 1974 report examining levels of environmental noise necessary to protect public health and welfare.
Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore. The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Contamination - Any Material foreign to hydraulic fluid that has a harmful effect on its performance in its system. Contamination: Any material foreign to a hydraulic fluid that has a harmful effect on its performance in a system.
Excessive Heat: Thermal condition above specified limit causing fluid viscosity to be affected. Over-Pressurization: Subjecting a pump to operating pressures grater than those for which it was designed. All manufacturer's names, numbers, & descriptions are used for reference purposes only.
Information is provided about auditory (hearing), visual, historic, medical, or other clues of building condition that explain various sounds heard in buildings. But other building sounds or noises may be a sign of trouble, failing equipment, insect attack, rodent infestation, or other more dangerous conditions. But we also receive queries from people who have difficulty tracing a sound to its source, or who are unsure if a sound that they hear at a known source (say a humming sound at an electrical component) is normal or means trouble. Buzzing also occurs at failing or failed relays such as the relay in a heating system aquastat or circulator controller or in relays used to control HVAC fans, blowers, and compressor motors. If you are uncertain just which appliance is a noise source, or if it is a noise source, just try turning off individual appliances to check for cessation of noise. A squeak or creak may be traced to use of a particular building door such as a room passage door or a cabinet door. Ironically this creaky toiler paper was a cast brass bird that was squeaking in a sound not unlike a chirping bird. Health related noise and apparent noise sources can involve common aging or hearing disorders, dementia, or other serious medical conditions. For example, check during rainfall to accurately determine the loudest sound source - you might find that more noise is transmitted to the building interior through skylights than through the roof surface itself. If installed directly to purlins with no roof sheathing, the noise might be heard in the building interior.
Higher STC numbers mean higher resistance to sound transmission to the building interior, or as acousticians would describe it, higher STC means greater sound transmission loss between outdoors and the building interior. Water heater noises can also indicate that the heater has been set to a too-high temperature and may be unsafe, risking scalding or other hazards. Harllee, licensed hearing specialist, for discussing noises and noise problems in preparation for this article.
Indeed, because irritability is so apparent, legislators have made public annoyance the basis of many noise abatement programs. It interprets the contents of the Levels Document in less technical terms for people who wish to better understand the concepts presented there, and how the protective levels were identified. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively.
An implosion effect occurs when the compressed air bubbles are subjected to system pressure at the pump outlet.This implosion can cause metal to be removed from the pressure plates, etc.


An extreme system duty cycle, aeration, cavitation, over-pressurization, and contamination are all factors that contribute to excessive heat in turn, accelerates oxidation in the system fluid, deteriorating its viscosity. Over-pressurization creates extreme forces against various internal components and can result in premature failure. Higher than recommended viscosity (as might be the case with very cold oil) may cause pump cavitation. We also discuss methods of sound or noise control in buildings during construction or as a building retrofit. Appliance noises cover a wide range, from humming refrigerator compressors to rattling loose metal parts.
We ruled out the deck balusters and railing, so we know it is something to do with the decking.
During a wind storm I hear a sound coming from the front of the house that sounds like a horn sound. Hartmann, Proceedings of the 13th International Symposium on Hearing, Dourdon, France, 2003. Unlike the appliance insulation panels discussed in the original Q&A above on miracle insulation, these Areogel based panels will continue to retain some, though reduced insulating value if punctured, performing at perhaps R-9 per inch. The more subtle and more serious health hazards associated with stress caused by noise traditionally have been given much less attention. In that sense, this publication may serve as an introduction, or a supplement, to the Levels Document.
Cavitation can be caused by over speeding of the pump, including a restricted or excessively long intake line, or fluid viscosity that is too high. Most contaminants cause an abrasive action in the close mating tolerances between components.
Lower than recommended viscosity can cause increased internal pump leakage and an accompanying increase in heat . The product is used in marine refrigerators, but in the future may be available as a residential construction product.
Nonetheless, when we are annoyed or made irritable by noise, we should consider these symptoms fair warning that other things may be happening to us, some of which may be damaging to our health. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. It also causes components to operate erratically because of the compressibility of the air trapped in the fluid. Therefore, the root cause of excessive heat must be eliminated in order to effectively cure the problem.
Therefore fluid of the recommended viscosity level, to which the manufacturer has added appropriate additives, is one key to longer pump life. Learn about Eustachian tube problems like clearing the ears when flying, Swallowing and yawning cause contractions of these muscles located in.
The company is researching specialized products in medical, transportation, and aerospace applications.
Day and night, at home, at work, and at play, noise can produce serious physical and psychological stress. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home.
Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home.
Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material. Tags: acid reflux, acid reflux relief, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, When their ears finally pop during altitude changes such as during In my ears i have a bubbling and crackling noise. Though we seem to adjust to noise by ignoring it, the ear, in fact, never closes and the body still responds - sometimes with extreme tension, as to a strange sound in the night.
Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order.
Through the eustachian tube to the back of the nose-the tube should open every time we yawn or swallow Ringing in the ears, noises, popping sounds. Tube dysfunction ETD occurs when the tube fails to open during swallowing or I have had a constant ringing in my right ear for days.
Such as a constant sore throat, unexplained earache, difficulty swallowing, And makes a crackling clicking, scraping type feeling when I swallow When you swallow or yawn, the tubes open briefly to let air in to make the pressure in the middle ears equal to the pressure outside of the ears Sometimes.
Ringing or popping noises in your ears Ear crackling when moving jaw chewing Off-Topic Discussion. Sudden deafness at night with constant roaring and cracking Eustachian tubes swell, cracking noise in the ear when swallowing. Suffering with a subacute attack of catarrhal inflammation of middle ear with slight pain It is still about itchy ears, but only about itchiness, no cracking or popping.
Sometimes its so soft, like constant humming in my ear, other times its sharp and annoying. When ever i am swallowing saliva while talking, i am getting some discomfort sounds 20 Aug 2007.
So about a week ago when going to sleep I noticed I had a constant Its been going on and off for the past week but its like, my sinuses are clogged but its on and off, its not constant through the day.
Also I have a tightness in the throat which makes swallowing weird-does anyone else have this.
Also popping and a feeling of blockness in the ear-had whip lash many years ago-this 25 Feb 2009. Hurting, hissing, ringing, help, advice, advise, rumble, rumbling, crackling, popping, For months keeping my ear moist which kept me with a constant infection 21 Jul 2012.



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