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Loud chugging noise from under the floor

I recently moved into a flat. It's an old building and there is a flat beneath me. From time to time at random times of the day and night there is a really loud chugging sound like a pump. It lasts for short bursts of a few minutes to up to 15 or 20 mins. It's so loud it wakes me in the night and is coming from a specific area beneath my bedroom. When it stops off it sounds like something shutting down. It's not banging pipes. My new boiler is in my bedroom and is super quiet and the noise occurs when my heating is off and no one is using the water.

I don't know the people below but I sent an email explaining as I believed it must be coming from them. They didn't think it was from their flat. When it happened the next time I messaged them and they said there was definitely no noise coming from their flat. So I'm flummoxed. Could it be my pipes? If so why are they making random awful noises at crazy hours of the night when the heating is off and no one is using the water?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much for the replies I really appreciate it. I thought I'd be able to reply to your relies but can't see how.

So the spoon idea is interesting. I'm a freeholder so I want to sort this out for my own sanity. I'm still puzzled as to why this would happen when the heating is off and no one is using the water. The shower pump actually crossed my mind. But firstly, wouldn't they hear it in their flat and why is the noise coming in short bursts as well as longer durations. That makes me think water in general.... Taps, toilet and shower. One morning the noise was prolonged at 5 in the morning and I know the occupant starts work early so this might fit. But if their shower room is located beneath my bathroom then it's in the same place as mine and nowhere near the location of the noise.

The set out is front room with the entrance hallway adjoining. There is no one on the other side. Behind is another bedroom, behind that is the bathroom and then the living/kitchen. The noise comes from the bedroom /entrance hallway area. It's the top left area of the flat. I don't know if this helps to paint the picture 😁

Chris Peters I honestly think this sounds right. I haven't heard of them but it all adds up. I will venture to question the neighbours and see what they say. Reading about issues with macerators doesn't fill me with hope. They don't appear the type to care about replacement! Thank you for the advice everyone and I'll post an update when I hear 😊

Hi all who posted...have been in email contact with my downstairs neighbour. It turns out his bathroom is directly below my bedroom, which I hadn't realised! It's the extractor fan. Being positioned on the ceiling means it's right below my floorboards.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions. Fingers crossed he'll replace it for a quiter one!

3 Answers from MyBuilder Plumbers

Best Answer

Hi Pixierose. That's an interesting question. May I suggest putting a wooden spoon against your ear and against each water tap next time it starts... sometimes if it's water based noise it's possible to narrow it down... the same goes for pinpointing it under the floor.
If the property is leasehold then anything in a cavity or beyond the surface of your walls and floor will likely be the landlords responsibility... therefore, you could perhaps hold back half (plus £1 added to half payment) of any due payments like maintenance etc until noise is rectified, allegedly. You will need to pay the held back portion when you are satisfied with the result, allegedly.
Make a fuss... get others involved such as environmental health. You need your sleep and a place of peace.
A ceiling extractor fan with a propeller whose bearing are warn can sound like what you mention... perhaps from someones bathroom? The owner of the fan may not notice each time they turn on the light / extractor but the fact it's attached to their ceiling (your under floor) could exaggerate the sound like a loud speaker.

Hope this helps.

Dear Pixirose. We are all pleased you found the problum. May I suggest that you offer to pay and arrange for an electrician to install a new "ultra quite" fan. That way, it gets sorted to the very best it can be. Regards Bob


Answered 7th Nov 2019

Could it be the flat below have a shower pump that only makes a noise when they have a shower. Just a thought.


Answered 6th Nov 2019

Hi it could be a macerator pump that services their bathroom below the short burst would be when the toilet is flushed during the night, and the longer duration one when they had a shower before work they are most probably use to macerator sound and not giving it much thought,fingers crossed that's it.


Answered 6th Nov 2019

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