Quiet-List 1997

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Re: Refrigerator hum from adjacent room

On Thu, 11 Dec 1997 20:32:17 -0800 (PST), 
Kalonica   <lonnie@dnai.com> wrote:

>I subscribed to perhaps acquaint myself with resources for dealing with a
>corner-store refrigerator motor that hums without ceasing just the other
>side of my (and my roomates') bedroom wall.
>Can we measure decibels in some way? What is the name of the device that
>can measure this? Is there a zoning code being violated with this unceasing
>noise or are we doomed to endure it?


   Radio Shack sells decibel meters for measuring noise which cost 
less than $50 (U.S.).  One model which has been discussed here is  
the Techcessories 33-2050.  But I doubt you'll get anything close to 
prohibited levels, which I believe are about 40-50 dB at night in 
most cities.  This is about the level of normal conversation.
   Some who live in apartments have successfully invoked the 
"habitability" clause in their lease or local by-laws which requires 
the landlord to keep the apartment in "habitable" condition, which 
includes the tenant being able to sleep.  If the noise is such that it 
disturbs your sleep, you may be entitled to withhold rent until the 
problem is fixed.  There is a 1992 article in New York Times magazine 
which discusses this option.    

   Here's a message from someone with a similar kind of noise problem, 
i.e. low-level hum, except that the noise source is outdoors and can 
be heard throughout the neighborhood.  I recommend you contact him 
directly to see what he's found out.  Note that he is _Mayor_ of the 
town and so probably has much greater access to information than the 
average citizen.  

==================== Begin Forwarded Message ========================= 

>  I am the Mayor of a small town near an airport which hosts a defense
>contractor who works on JSTARS jets.  They use heating and air 
>conditioning machines on carts to cool/heat the interior of the 
>aircraft.  These contraptions emit a constant, maddening (to some) 600 
>Hz coherent whine which can be heard a mile away.  We hear this up to 
>16 or more hours per day, day and night.
>  After our complaints, they claim that they are running below the safe
>noise levels permitted by law and industrial regulations.  True, the 
>level is very low in our neighborhoods, and the danger to our eardrums 
>is negligible, but the impact on the psyche is very evident in some 
>residents (elevated blood pressures, inability to sleep, etc.)  The 
>constant, pure, unchanging tone can be like Chinese water torture to 
>some.  Like a mosquitoe flying around your head continuously every 
>night which you cannot swat.  It can pierce its way through closed 
>windows and doors.  It is especially noticable when the ambient 
>background noise is otherwise very quiet. 
>  Does anyone know of any studies or information sources which reveal
>the hazards of such unrelenting sounds, even at low levels, with 
>regard to sleep, blood pressure, psychological effects, stress, 
>concentration, etc.? 
>  I need some good research references and some solid, health-related 
>arguments we can take to the authorities to get them to muzzle these 
>things.  Are there any publications or studies related to the health 
>or psychological effects of constant, unchanging, pure tone noises of 
>a relatively low level (i.e., below OSHA or gov't norms for danger to 
>the ears)?
>  Please email to "jam2904@aol.com" or "james119@digital.net".
>  Thanks!  Jim M.
===================== End of Forwarded Message ======================

   You may also want to contact:

   Tim Lannan <tlannan@pipeline.com>, President and founder of the NYC 
based, Neighbors Against N.O.I.S.E. dedicated to eliminating noise and 
other pollution in the Tribeca West Historic District.  His group has 
been working on noise from "air conditioners and diesel-powered 
emergency generators" associated with a commercial facility in his 

   Michael Wright <Sorrento95@aol.com>, who has consulted with a group 
working against the expansion of a dairy and the increased noise from 
refrigeration trucks. 

David Staudacher - quiet@igc.org

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