Watch youtube video to hear noise: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/7oyls5YQ0Mo My issue:

  • Loud vibrating sound coming from ceiling and/or walls
  • It lasts about 30 seconds
  • It sounds like (and is almost as loud as) a washing machine on spin cycle
  • It happens once or twice a day, different times of the day
  • It can happen in the middle of the night, when everyone is sleeping and when nothing is running at the time, including AC, running water, toilet flushing, dish washer etc
  • The room I hear the noise the loudest (the room in the video) is on the first floor. It shares a wall with the garage where the electric hot water heater is
  • I don't feel any vibrations from the hot water heater pipes and the noise is not as loud in the garage

Do you have any idea of the source of the noise?

  • 2
    You'll need to take a peek in the attic and see what mechanical devices might be up there. Maybe triggered by a timer or sensor to do who knows what? Attic air circ, sensor driven by heat or humidity? Since it's random, if there is a device up there, it's almost certainly triggered by a sensor. Just a thought, you'll find it. Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 18:46
  • 2
    Any chance you have a basement sump pump that might be trying to pump water out and it's making noise? Usually they're pretty quiet, but if imbalanced, could make noise. Does it start and stop suddenly, or fade louder and then get softer? That would likely eliminate a helicopter if it starts and stops suddenly. Also, could be some sort of air compressor that keeps pressure up for some sort of device or air storage tank?
    – Milwrdfan
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 22:42
  • 1
    that sounds like a compressor ... could also be related to the water pipe
    – jsotola
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 1:49
  • 1
    It is definitely a compressor. If you have discovered what it is, then please post an answer here. Commented May 28, 2023 at 12:06
  • 1
    Except you say no water was flowing this sounds rather like what happened to us when city water pressure went up. Nothing in the house could trigger it but the one high-flow irrigation line could--even though no water was flowing in the noisy pipe when that happened. Installed a pressure regulator (our house was built a few years before code mandated them) and the problem went away. Commented May 28, 2023 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


So we had the same thing and it turned out to be a bad check valve on our water meter that our town installed. They replaced it today and no more sporadic helicopter sounds. Whew!

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