I have a loud electrical sounding humming noise that is vibrating through my house, and appears to be coming through the adjoining wall of my neighbour's house. It starts and stops at any time of day or night, even with my electricity / heating / water turned off at the mains.

I have asked my neighbour to flick off his mains switch to try and determine whose house this is coming from, but he is not willing to do this. How can I detect / monitor where exactly the noise is coming from.


Your neighbour must be hearing it as well then, correct? Can you hear it from outside?

First culprits I would look at:

  • furnace fan or forced exhaust fan
  • forced exhaust fan of a high-efficiency gas water heater
  • HRV unit
  • attic fan
  • bathroom fan

Ideally you or your neighbour could stand in his/her utility room while the sound is happening, and hopefully narrow it down. Turning off one of those at a time may also help narrow it down. Either way, you're going to have to work with your neighbour to solve it, if you are positive it isn't coming from in your house.

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    A bathroom vent fan may also be a culprit -- these can get relatively loud and you'll never know when your neighbor might turn it on. Do you know what room is on the other side of your wall? – Shimon Rura Apr 6 '11 at 17:20
  • @Shimon Rura: very good point, I added it to my answer. The really tricky bit is the neighbour wouldn't even correlate that as a "buzzing" noise, since to him/her, it's just the fan noise – gregmac Apr 6 '11 at 21:37

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