Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

What the hell is causing that beeping?
November 4, 2005 8:23 AM   Subscribe

When my GF & I lay in bed late at night, we can hear continuous beeping somewhere nearby. The tone & rhythm of the beeping is exactly like an alarm clock, but we don't own one, nor do the neighbors. Is there anything in electrical wiring or plumbing that could possibly make this noise? Has anyone else had this happen? It's driving us insane.
posted by highsignal to Home & Garden (24 answers total)
 
Lots of thoughts and a similar story here in the blue, which links to a guy who had been trying to solve his mystery beeping for a year. How do you get by without owning an alarm clock? Strange.
posted by whatzit at 8:32 AM on November 4, 2005


Do you have any enemies? sounds like the work of a Mind Molester.
posted by cior at 8:34 AM on November 4, 2005


I can't remember where I read about it on the net, but there was some guy who lived with an unexplained beep in his house for about two years and discussed it on an online forum. Finally, people came over to his house to help him diagnose it, and they found an old smoke detector in his couch-side table drawer that was beeping. I wish I could find the link. (I'm not coming to your house unless you give me beer.)
posted by OmieWise at 8:35 AM on November 4, 2005


Damn live preview.
posted by OmieWise at 8:35 AM on November 4, 2005


My smoke detectors continue beeping after I've disconnected them from their sockets, removed their batteries, and thrown them in the cellar for a month.
posted by cribcage at 8:41 AM on November 4, 2005


I had a battery-powered LCD alarm clock in my studio that started intermittently beeping when it's battery went way low towards dead. Do you have any old wristwatches or clocks stashed away in a drawer somewhere?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:52 AM on November 4, 2005


Is the sound coming from your ductwork? I understand some of the electronic air filters release an audible signal when the filter needs cleaned.
posted by tfmm at 8:54 AM on November 4, 2005


I have the exact same thing happen to me (I'll hear a faint beeping, exact same tone and frequency as my son's digital alarm clock).

Unfortunately, I'm about 99% positive mine is totally in my head (since I'll hear it while I'm in the shower, and for it to be that loud, someone else in the house would have to hear it too, right? While I haven't asked them, you'd think they'd say something about it).

So maybe it's a case of you and your GF both hearing things?
posted by gnomeloaf at 9:10 AM on November 4, 2005


Yeah, I've got the same beep. Inaudible during the day, but when the house is quiet and my head is near the wall, I can hear the sound of an alarm clock faintly beeping from somewhere. It's like something from a Poe story. I have no solution, but I'll be playing the home version right along with you if anybody gives a solution.
posted by Hildago at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2005


The one time I had this problem, it turned out to be an electronic stopwatch buried in my closet. Do you have a box of random junk that you never get rid of but can't do anything with it, so you shove it in a closet and hope it fades away? Perhaps your noisy beepy thing is in there.
posted by angeline at 9:51 AM on November 4, 2005


Could you locate it by noting the times you hear it, establishing a pattern, and listening carefully just before it goes off?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:53 AM on November 4, 2005


I have the same problem, except the sound I hear is less alarm clock-y but still a high-pitched and consistent beep. I finally figured out it was coming from my monitor (I own a Dell). When the screen switches to power-save where the screen is completely black that sound starts and the light on the power button on the monitor flashes in time with that sound.
posted by BubbleWrap at 10:17 AM on November 4, 2005


Yeah, I've got the same beep. Inaudible during the day, but when the house is quiet and my head is near the wall, I can hear the sound of an alarm clock faintly beeping from somewhere. It's like something from a Poe story. I have no solution, but I'll be playing the home version right along with you if anybody gives a solution.

That's exactly how it is for us. Inaudible during the day, but very noticeable at night when it's quiet. And nowhere else in the house is it audible. In fact, if you walk ten feet from the bed you can no longer hear it. Only when lying in bed do we notice it. I just moved into a new house and there is virtually nothing in our room yet, so there are no piles of stuff through which to rifle. And the closets are empty.
posted by highsignal at 10:22 AM on November 4, 2005


Are you sure it's not a phone you've packed away? I once unplugged a cordless phone and stored it in a box in the closet, and the phone beeped for days as the battery wore down. Had to drown the damned thing to get it to stop.
posted by mochapickle at 10:29 AM on November 4, 2005


It is worth noting that electronic "beeps" are fairly high frequency which means they bounce around a lot as they reflect off of hard surfaces. The result is that the beam can be quite localized even at considerable distance from the source. I have a beeper on my computer battery back-up, and this beeps when the power fails. I can hear it two floors up in some places, yet there are places in the room where it is located that the sound is inaudible.
posted by RMALCOLM at 11:02 AM on November 4, 2005


Not to worry -- it's just a Homeland Security monitoring device.
posted by LordSludge at 11:10 AM on November 4, 2005


Omiewise, the story you are talking about happened on the tivo forums.
posted by daviss at 11:34 AM on November 4, 2005


We had a "mystery beep" for about three weeks.

Finally tracked it down to (yep) a smoke detector that (for some reason) we'd packed with some other things when we moved, and not yet unpacked. Sure enough, the battery was going dead.
posted by mrbill at 11:42 AM on November 4, 2005


So your in a house....I'm thinking crawlspace below with some kind detector battery gone flat, irrigation timer, fireplace remote control receiver? Something in the water heater closet?
Perhaps a stethoscope or a ear to a glass near your bed to see if it is from in the room or under/attic/outside?
posted by blink_left at 11:56 AM on November 4, 2005


Do you have any alarms (particularly motion sensor ones) installed? I recently moved somewhere that has them and they have quite the subtle beep all the time.
posted by Sparx at 11:56 AM on November 4, 2005


I have crazy sensitive ears (or brain) and this sort of thing happens a lot. My suggestions are;

1. Confirm for certain that both of you are hearing the same thing at the same time by squeezing each others hand in time to the beep.

2. Map out exactly where the sound is and isn't, don't stop with the obvious, I've had to sleep in other rooms for a night or two to help track down location. Take a picture of the room and mark where you can and cannot hear the sound and any rise in volume.

3. Stethoscope, get one, they are great, I found a beeping car starter remote buried IN a wall once with one.

4. Cut all power to the house, do you still hear it? If not then bring circuts back online one at a time, when do you hear it again?
posted by Cosine at 3:10 PM on November 4, 2005


I had this too. Couldn't hear anything during the day, could only hear a very faint beeping noise at night. Turned out to be a mobile phone charger which was plugged in to a socket by my bed. When the phone wasn't plugged in to it, the transformer was making these high-pitched hi-low sounds (anyone care to tell me why?). I threw it out and bought a replacement which didn't make any noise.
posted by blag at 3:54 PM on November 4, 2005


If the noise can be heard only in the vicinity of the bed, try moving the bed to another location. In this way, you can determine if the noise is bed specific, or location specific.

And if all else fails, get a white noise generator or play a radio at low volume so that it masks the beep and you can get some sleep.

Eventually the power source will die and the beeping will go away -- the question is whether your sanity will last that long.
posted by Seabird at 6:32 AM on November 5, 2005


I have a stereo in my room with a clock on the display. I never bothered setting the clock, so it flashes 00:00 constantly.

And it creates a very very quiet buzz when it does. Sounds almost like a beep.

Got anything similar nearby?
posted by lemonfridge at 6:10 AM on November 8, 2005


« Older Anybody know of a good softwar...   |  Help me skip this whole "... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.