Robert Lamoureux | Figuring out source of noise requires detective work

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question No. 1A


Hello. We could use some advice or help with an unknown annoying noise that has been happening in our home for several months. Our house is two stories and is 32 years old. 

The ongoing issue is a vibrating motor sound coming from the wall in the main bathroom (recording attached). The vibrating motor sound happens randomly, but often. The duration of the sound varies, but never lasts more than two or three minutes. It is sometimes much shorter. When it stops, it sounds as if a valve is closing three times. 

We have had the plumber out and he replaced the water pressure regulator, but it didn’t fix the problem. 

We also had our attic fan checked to see if that was the issue, but our air conditioning people said it was working fine. 

Needless to say it is very frustrating, and we would like to find out what it is so we can have it fixed. 

Thank you for the help. 

— Cary M. 

Answer No. 1A


Thank you for being a loyal reader. 

Wow, this is a strange one. This is going to be one of those things that you’re going to have to play detective. 

When it occurs, I would tell you to turn off power to the bathroom to start with and see if that stops it. Go to your power panel before this starts, identify the breaker so that when it occurs someone can be in the bathroom and someone can go to the power panel and turn it off. If it stops, then it’s something electrical within the bathroom. This could be an exhaust fan power supply, if you have one in this bathroom or, if there is an attic above the bathroom, check for any power supplies in the space above. 

The sound tape you sent sounds like a power supply. 

The doorbell transformer could be in the attic causing this noise. 

I don’t have any other suggestions other than turning power or water off one at a time until you isolate the white noise. If that doesn’t work, then go to the water and turn it off until you isolate the source. Perhaps it is sourced there. 

Keep me abreast of your findings. I’m curious to see if this works for you. Best of luck. 

— Robert

Question No. 1B 

Hi Robert, 

Thank you so much for getting back to me. We will start with shutting off the bathroom power to see what that does. You also mentioned the doorbell transformer — it is located in the downstairs closet. I noticed that it was making a humming noise a few days ago and wondered if it was related. Is it possible that could be the issue? Best to you.

— Cary M. 

Answer No. 1B 


Yes, it could be that doorbell transformer making the noise if it’s in somewhat close proximity to the bathroom. 

There are two external tiny wires on the face of your transformer; unscrew one of them and see if that noise goes away. 

Might take a period of time, as you described it was intermittent. 

Feel free to keep writing to me. Have a great weekend.

— Robert

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