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High Pitched Whistle throughout House

IanH Member Posts: 1
Our house has a mix of radiant floor heating and baseboard heating across 3 floors. We moved in during the summer with no noise issues. When winter came we now suffer from a high pitched noise between 6KHz and 8KHz and a low drone sound, mechanical. The high pitched noise varies but can sometimes be ear piercing. There is no identifiable single source. So far I have switched off every breaker in turn and then everything together so wall mounted propane furnace and all 4 visible pumps are off and the noise persists. Is it possible that the radiant heat piping and baseboards that remain under pressure at 20PSI can make this high pitched noise? We have considered tinnitus but it goes away when we leave the house, eventually, and 3 people can hear it ranging in age from 27 to 67. Sleeping with white noise machines and ear plugs, so any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Try turning off the water service to your house and open a faucet to drop the pressure.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
    edited March 2020
    Are you positive the noise comes from the boiler, or part of the heating system?

    Is there an indirect water heater on the system or is it a combi?

    If no to both, that would explain no noise in the summer.
    But it doesn't explain why the noise is heard when the boiler is off.

    "No identifiable single source."
    Not at all? The noise is not louder or softer at different areas?

    Does the boiler use outside combustion air? Could the inlet maybe have a leaf or something stuck to the screen?

    Did you actually measure frequency?
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,806
    edited March 2020
    Since you eliminated anything electrical macanical in the house .I would check the water supply as Alan mentioned .. Shut off the water main coming in and see if the noise stops ... If it does then shut off service valves like toilets to narrow it down .. Fill valves can cause the noise when they go bad when no water is in use .. Improper charged thermal expansion tanks can make the noise when water is in use ..

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
    Realistically, to make a whistle and/or a drone, there has to be energy. It could be, as @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes suggests, pressure in a pipe. It could be electrical (particularly if the "drone" is at 60 hertz or one of it's overtones). It could be a pump. Further, that energy has to be being expended.

    I will agree that both very low frequency drones and high pitched whistles can be very hard to localize. So...

    Remove the energy sources in your structure. Don't guess. Remove all of them. Turn off the water service and drop the pressure in all the domestic piping. Turn off the electricity. Lower the pressure in the radiant tubing as low as you dare without actually draining the thing. Turn off the gas. Disconnect cable TV or internet. (Land line telephone is probably OK).

    Now turn things back on, one at a time, until the whistle or the drone reappears and you will at least know to what it is related. Then you can turn everything else back on and set about what, in that particular energy source, is making the sounds.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • BDR529
    BDR529 Member Posts: 289
    Had a Tjerlund SS1 power vent motor That made a gawd awful shriek a few years ago. Change tone depending where you stood.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,741
    Switching power supplies cab make the type of high pitched squealing noise you describe. Are you sure both noises are the same source? The compressors in a refrigerator can make a low pitch rumble that travels very well when the rubber bushings wear out and the compressor housing touches the metal mounting bracket.