Electrical – annoying vibration, deep humming noise in home


What in my home could possibly vibrate and/or make a very low humming noise?

I have been driven mad by a low droning vibration type noise for nearly two years. I have gone through testing various possibilities; Electric being the first – switch power off at circuit and still hear it. Water- turn off at stop valve under stairs, still hear it.

I hear it worse at front of house than back. Hear it upstairs too. We are in a terraced row of houses so I've been round to the neighbours either side and can hear a faint hum in their houses but nothing as bad. To me it appears very loud as been living with it for so long I am totally tuned in to it!

What can this be? Is it possible for gas lines to vibrate? Could it be a mains water issue? Someone suggested we could have a leak? Electrical problem (but had mains off and could still hear it)? Boiler issue?

We have had gas and water companies out but there was not anything obvious found by them. All appears normal. Gas meter is fine. No pressure issues with gas. No water leaks. Turned off toby in street and it was still audible.

The front room floor does feel like its vibrating but perhaps the noise I am hearing gives the suggestion of vibration (sounds like a bus engine idling in distance or the throb of engine when you are on a ferry but very low level). At night when all is quiet it's horrendous as there are no other noises to mask it. It sounds like a pump running 24/7.

Any ideas? We have had Scottish Power out as I thought it may be one of two electrical substation that are along the road. They were doing work on them when this noise was first noticeable but the new installations are supposedly meant to be quieter models. Think they are 132kv transformers.

At the same time we had to get our shower replaced and ended up withwater hammer, with pipes banging every time we turned tap or shower off. This was sorted by draining down the systm but the stop valve leaked for while after obviously not being used for years. I read about the possibilty of worn/loose washers causing a humming noise but it sounds no louder when right beside stop tap… Hhhmmmm…

In the past 18months it has only been quiet twice really, but there was silence for a good few weeks then it returned. I don't hear a hum when I stand outside in garden or beside the closest substation but the furthest one (approx 180m away) does emit the usual hum but not at a level that you would think would reach my house…

I do not hear it in friends houses and have to escape to my parents or in-laws homes to get away from it. I went for hearing tests and I've got perfect hearing. It's not tinnitus either as it is only in my home I hear this low drone.

Any theories??? What can I try?

Best Answer

This would be a last resort but ridges of ledge underground that the foundation may be poured on top of can transmit vibration from hundreds of feet away if the source, (heavy machinery, road traffic, etc.),is strong enough. Can you pinpoint the area of strongest / loudest vibration? If yes what is it closest to?