HELP! High-pitched whine in my living room

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  #1  
Old 11-29-08, 02:03 PM
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HELP! High-pitched whine in my living room

Hi folks,
I really hope someone can help me with this. My sister and I were moving furniture this afternoon in my living room. We moved the couch, and suddenly there was this high-pitched whine in there. Can't really tell where it's coming from, but appears to be from front corner of LR or from light fixture in middle of room. It's very high pitched, like those old TV monitors used to make before they died. So high-pitched, in fact, that neither my older landlord nor his wife or her friend could even hear it.

I unplugged everything in the LR, even went down to the circuit box and turned off the switch until the overhead light went out. I also eventually turned off the switch to the whole house, but still heard the whine. There's a smoke detector in the ceiling next to the light fixture; pulled it down and removed the battery, didn't help.

We can only hear the whine in the LR; not in the room above it or in the basement below. Can't hear it when I stand outside at that corner of the house.

What may be remarkable is that corner of the house has the main electrical box directly outside and the junction box directly below in the basement. Again, though, standing next to both boxes I cannot hear the high-pitched whining noise.

The house is a really old cape cod (from the 1700's), if that helps. The floors are all wood (except linoleum in kitchen).

I don't know what else I can tell you - I shut off all the power inside the house and made sure there was nothing in the room that was running off of batteries, but could still hear the whine. We even tried moving the couch back to its original spot to see if the noise would go away, but it didn't.

It's driving me bonkers! It's just high-pitched enough to give me a headache; when I leave the room, my ears feel like they're ringing. My landlord almost doesn't want to do anything because he can't even hear it - he doesn't realize how truly obnoxious it is. At any rate -- who would we call? An electrician, even though the whine persisted without any power being on in the house?

Please, if you have any suggestions, let me know. I'm just glad my sister could hear it, too, or I would think I was going crazy for sure.

Thanks for reading this,
Nicole
 
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  #2  
Old 11-29-08, 02:14 PM
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Just a thought, but do you have any natural gas appliances in the house? Maybe a N.G. fire place?
 
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Old 11-29-08, 02:18 PM
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No NG appliances

Thanks for asking, but no natural gas to house. Stove is propane, heating (and hot water) is oil burner. Everything else is electric. I don't even have a hard-wired telephone, just use my cell.
 
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Old 11-29-08, 02:22 PM
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Put a rubber hose, about 2 ft long, of the appropriate size in your ear....move it around to different areas of the room.

If you can't locate the noise...maybe yer just going crazy...lol
 
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Old 11-29-08, 02:24 PM
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Stove is propane, heating (and hot water) is oil burner
Did you "put your ear" to these appliances? Sometimes sounds may appear to come from a certain area but are really originating from a totally different spot. Some times gas appliances will emit a high pitch whine, which is why I asked.

Are you sure all of the power is off to the house?

Any UPS devices close by?

Is it easy to shut off the water...small water leaks may also emit a high pitch...just throwing out anything that I can think of.
 

Last edited by Buzz; 11-29-08 at 02:27 PM. Reason: To add more
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Old 11-29-08, 02:32 PM
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Any sewer or water lines in the area. A hole from a waterline would probably be apparent quickly but a sewer line drawing air might not but that is a real long shot. Could it be a battery operated toy or something that has been forgotten? A malfunctioning battery operated radio that was hetrodining on a audible frequency could go for weeks on "D" cells. Just wild guesses.
 
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Old 11-29-08, 02:36 PM
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The stove and fridge are in a totally separate room, the kitchen, but I put my ear to them anyway - no whine. It definitely sounds electrical, not like the radiators whistling. When the heat comes on, it doesn't affect the whine sound, so I'm guessing it's not related to the heater or radiators.

As far as power being off - it's back on now, but I threw the double switch at the top of the breaker box which seemed to shut off power to the whole house, and my sister could still hear the whine upstairs. My landlord says it's a brand new (about a year old) circuit breaker box. It doesn't appear that the house has more than one box (the house is three rooms wide by about 2 rooms deep - really small).

No UPS devices in the house. I have a PC tower that's not currently hooked up and a laptop that's as far from the LR as it can get. The wireless router and cable modem are in the LR, but those were unplugged all afternoon (and don't appear to have battery backups).

Not sure how to shut off the water, will need to call my landlord about that if necessary...
 
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Old 11-29-08, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Any sewer or water lines in the area. A hole from a waterline would probably be apparent quickly but a sewer line drawing air might not but that is a real long shot. Could it be a battery operated toy or something that has been forgotten? A malfunctioning battery operated radio that was hetrodining on a audible frequency could go for weeks on "D" cells. Just wild guesses.
I don't think it would be a sewer line, the bathroom is on the opposite side of the house (was a later addition put onto the kitchen - house originally didn't have a bathroom, just a separate outhouse). The only water I think would be running to that side is the hot water for the radiators. There isn't even an outside faucet on this house.

The only battery operated things in the room are the remote controls for the TV and DVD/VCR. I'm going to go pull their batteries right now.

Note: just got back from pulling batteries from all 3 remote controls, but the room is still whining.

It doesn't seem to bother the cat - he's been sitting in there for more than an hour, happy as a clam.
 
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Old 11-29-08, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Put a rubber hose, about 2 ft long, of the appropriate size in your ear....move it around to different areas of the room.

If you can't locate the noise...maybe yer just going crazy...lol
I hope you're joking...but if not, I don't have access to any kind of rubber hose to try this with, sorry.
 
  #10  
Old 11-29-08, 02:48 PM
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The only water I think would be running to that side is the hot water for the radiators
AHH, check out the hot water radiators very closely, there is a very good chance that the whining is coming from the hot water heat, it may be drawing in air to prevent a vacuum (water cooling) or relieving pressure (water heating).

I strongly suspect it is your hot water heating
 
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Old 11-29-08, 02:52 PM
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Air bleeding from a radiator relief valve could make this noise. Air dissolved in water could bubble out of heated water.

Yes, he was serious about the hose. An old mechanic trick similar to a stethoscope.
 
  #12  
Old 11-29-08, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Air bleeding from a radiator relief valve could make this noise. Air dissolved in water could bubble out of heated water.

Yes, he was serious about the hose. An old mechanic trick similar to a stethoscope.
The heater has gone on and off several times since the room started whining this afternoon - wouldn't that cause a pressure change and increase/decrease the whine if it was air bleeding out of the valve?

Should a heater/boiler guy be the first person I call?
 
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Old 11-29-08, 03:00 PM
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Yeah..I was serious...not about the crazy part..lol

It helps isolate the noise.

Doesn't have to be a hose, but that works best. How bout a paper towel tube?
 
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Old 11-29-08, 03:14 PM
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My story is too long to tell here, so;;;
Even rolling up a piece of paper like a small megaphone, like the old deaf people used to use, will allow you to turn in different directions and perhaps determine the direction of the sound. I'm one of those old deaf guys so I can attest to it working.
Also, you said it started around the time you moved the couch, check under the cushions??? you never know!
Bud
 
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Old 11-29-08, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Yeah..I was serious...not about the crazy part..lol

It helps isolate the noise.

Doesn't have to be a hose, but that works best. How bout a paper towel tube?
Gunguy, if I could kiss you I would! I found a paper towel roll and went around the room. You're gonna die when you hear what it was - a stinkin' cat toy! Looked like a plain stuffed mouse, but it had electronics in it - I think it used to make a chirping sound when it was batted around. The stupid thing must have been dying. I cut apart the mouse, pulled out the little sound box, took it outside and smashed it apart, and now the house is blessedly silent once again.

Oh my lord, I really though I was going to have to spend the night at my mom's house!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!

Thanks also to Buzz and Ray2047 for your assistance - thank goodness I found it before I called an electrician or heater guy!
 
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Old 11-29-08, 03:59 PM
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Kissings good! Let me know when you come to Vegas...I'll arrange something! It's only 2-3 hrs from here........lol.

Glad the problem is solved.
 
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Old 11-29-08, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Kissings good! Let me know when you come to Vegas...I'll arrange something! It's only 2-3 hrs from here........lol.

Glad the problem is solved.
MWAH! Consider yourself kissed long distance.
Don't think I'll be in Vegas anytime soon, sorry! But thanks for the offer, and especially thanks for your help. My sanity thanks you, too.
 
  #18  
Old 01-07-09, 02:23 AM
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High pitched frequency in my walls

There is a high pitched frequency in my wall that just appeared out of no where and all of a sudden that decreases in pitch when power is used from a light or appliance plugged in to that circuit. The more power used on that line, the lower the frequency, turn things off / unplug things, and the pitch goes up. Very loud, very annoying, I am concerned that it could cause a fire or something. HELP!!! I'm calling an electrician but would love any input here. In my 36 years I have NEVER encountered this.
 
  #19  
Old 01-16-09, 09:58 AM
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Had the same problem today.Look for a toy or battery operated item. The batterry may be low and switching on other electrical equipment will cause it to whine as if trying to come back to life. My daughters toy was doing this.
 
  #20  
Old 05-02-09, 05:19 AM
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Smile

Originally Posted by andyrew View Post
Had the same problem today.Look for a toy or battery operated item. The batterry may be low and switching on other electrical equipment will cause it to whine as if trying to come back to life. My daughters toy was doing this.
Reply:

Man you are the man! I was going crazy for 3 days with that annoying soumd. It tuned out to be my grandaugthers toy labtop. I removed the battery's and walla it stopped. You know computers are a wonderful thing, to be able to google, get some ideas and fix the problem. It's a beautiful thing. Thanks for my peace of mind and now my wife can stop hasseling me. You Da Man!!!
 
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Old 05-02-09, 07:28 AM
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This isn't the only similar themed post we have had. Almost amazed how often this happens. Welcome to the forums.
 
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Old 10-08-10, 10:47 PM
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High pitched ringing in the house - solved!

I used a toilet paper roll tube on my ear to isolate it. Turned out to be a kitchen timer (battery operated) dying a slow death in our kitchen drawer. That was of course, after I turned off the power, the water, and had a miserable dinner listening to the ringing.
 
  #23  
Old 10-27-10, 09:57 AM
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Thank you!!!!

I had the exact situation going on. After reading this forum I realized my son had been digging in the toy chest. the source of my squeal? A toy lightsaber. lol
 
  #24  
Old 02-13-11, 11:10 AM
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Between the suggestion of a rubber hose/paper tube to the ear and be on the lookout for electronic gizmos, I quickly found on old CO monitor with a couple of boxes on it. Before that I would of swore that it was my drains because it seemed that was the only thing that appeared to affect the sound. Being in the same corner as my modem/router/ups system, my circuit breaker box, hot water heater all in the same 25 sq/ft I thought I was in for a day of hair pulling. I usually just use google and use the forums to fix and move on, but this helped so much so quickly that I joined to say thanks for the help. Thanks again
 
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