Tuesday, June 23, 2015

RV singing telegram

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I love living in our small, secure, warm and dry space. Sometimes I feel like we live in a space capsule. We find these incredible places to park. The weather can turn sour, yet we are still warm and happy in our 5th wheel home.

This might sound petty, but it is driving me nuts. My problem is noise pollution. It doesn't bother my husband, but I can't take it any longer.

Because of our small square footage, I can't escape the annoying sound coming from our water heater. It is a high pitch, constant squeal. My husband insists it is normal because the water heater still works fine. But I never heard this before. It only does it when we have electric hook-ups.

Am I being too fussy? Is this something I should try to block from my mind? Is it a sign that something is about to happen? Should I sing in a high pitch to my husband to demonstrate how annoying I find it?
--Sounding Board in Bozeman

Dear Boze:
Singing to your husband will just complicate a very simple situation. It should never come down to solving annoyance with annoyance. What you have is a failing heat element. It could be solved by flushing the tank and cleaning the element, but if you are going to the trouble of pulling the element, you might just as well replace it for twenty bucks.

It really doesn't make any more noise than when you are heating with gas, but I agree the pitch could drive you nuts.

I would explain to your husband that he will be dealing with the problem sooner or later. There is no time like the present. Your husband is in hot water right now, but the singing telegram you are getting is a sign you will soon be changing your tune to the "Sound of Silence." I can't remember all the lyrics, but it goes something like this, "Hello darkness, my old friend, there's no hot water once again..."

It is a good idea to flush the tank at least once a year. If you have a tank that is not aluminum you might want to consider adding an anode rod to help prevent future buildup on the heating element.

--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


Anonymous said...

You may have missed the boat here. The water heater electronic control box makes a high pitch whine that some people hear very well and others not at all. With a cold tank of water, stand by the control box and turn the switch on. If you hear the whine right away, it is the control box. I've never thought it was all that annoying but possibly some sound insulation would help in these folks case.


Tink said...

There is nothing worse that being sound sensitive and gearing sounds that others do not hear. People and even family members look at you like you are crazy because they don't hear it. I have both, I hear the really high pitched sounds and also the very low sounds, this is called hyperacusis. It can drive you insane! When road workers work on the road 2 miles away in the middle of the night I can hear thei generators and their drills. Some can hear refrigerators running on the other side of the house. Earplugs don't work. The only thing that helps during the night is the so called pink noise. There are different kinds, white noise, black noise, pink noise all have a different purpose. The pinks noise cancels out some of the sounds that bothers you.
Of course this is not a solution for during the day.
Hyperacusis is a neurological condition. Google it, and let your husband read the appropriate parts than contain the information about high frequencies. I hope for your sake he will have it fixed whatever is causing the noise. Don't let anyone tell you ite nit true, it doesn't exist. Just because they can't hear it doesn't mean it's not there.