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Penthouse Condo ceiling - mysterious noise

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[OP]
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Apr 11, 2009
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Thornhill

Penthouse Condo ceiling - mysterious noise

I'm on the top floor of my building, and I'm dealing with a mysterious noise that I'm hoping someone can help me track down.

The best way I can describe the noise is it's a slight, high pitched 'warble'. Almost like something is slightly vibrating. Almost like if you were to hold a teacup on a saucer, and the teacup slightly shakes you can hear the noise? It's like that.

My condo ceilings are dropped - which means there's pipes that run through and such. The area I'm looking at is suspiciously close to what I assume are the exhaust ducts that run from my kitchen / second bathroom exhaust fan to the outside. I stuck my head inside the vent door in the ceiling above my dryer, and I can see the pipes are suspended from the concrete ceiling via ties.

I'm wondering if the pipe is vibrating slightly, but I'm not sure why. The noise happens at random. For example, we can turn on the exhaust fan and the noise won't start. Or, it'll be a very windy day and the noise won't happen. Or sometimes it does. Other times, it occurs in the middle of the night when nothings going on.

And I am on the top floor but on that side of my condo there is no mechanical equipment above.

I'm not at my wits end, but I am tempted to cut a hole in the ceiling and see what's going on....

Anyone else have similar experiences or thoughts?
4 replies
Deal Expert
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Jul 30, 2007
28465 posts
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Toronto
could it be coming from the penthouse mechanical room ? Elevator shaft tower room ? Although they may not be directly on top of your ceiling, those mechanical equipments noise level can travel a long distance.
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May 30, 2007
271 posts
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Markham
I have experience with this. What you're probably hearing is the mechanical room above you on the floor above, what they have in there includes: elevator engines, hot water boilers, and HVACs. I was dealing with a vibration noise for a long time and I even had the building manager take me upstairs so I could take a look at the unit (though nothing got done sadly, that unit is probably worth my yearly salary and they weren't gonna fix it for me). The hot water boiler was a large device sitting on top of a huge slab of concrete, quite obviously that slab was causing deep vibrations throughout the entire floor.

What's likely happening for you, is that one of the machines is turning on, vibrating the concrete, and whatever is loose nearby is vibrating. Try recording the sound, and figure out if there is a timing in the pattern you hear this. I was hearing the sound in the evening all the time because that's when everyone was taking showers. Try talking to your building manager about it.
[OP]
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Apr 11, 2009
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Thornhill
Thanks (to you and the earlier poster).

Yea, that seems like the right answer. I'm curious because the timing is so random...I did speak to the building manager and apparently there is a part that needs to be replaced.

This is just one of those things where I'm actually tempted to cut open a square and stick my head in, if I of course didn't have to deal with the drywall repair! But at least then I could slap some duct tape on it and call it a day.

I'm also worried that the noise seems to be increasing, not so much in terms of volume but in occurrence. I wonder if the vibration is actually making something loose. Not to the point of something breaking but just that it'll keep happening even if the vibration is lessened.
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Aug 5, 2008
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mkerian wrote: did speak to the building manager and apparently there is a part that needs to be replaced.
There is always a part that needs to be replaced, when someone complains about something to the building manager.

The part is usually on backorder and has to be shipped from a faraway land by beings engaged in a year-long mating ritual which just started.

And even once it's shipped, the particular customs classification causes the part to be confused with parts for a nuclear rocket which holds it up for an additional year.

Good luck waiting for Godot... I mean "the part" Winking Face
There are 10 kinds of people in the world... Those who understand binary and those who don't 💡

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