Thursday night, we turned off the the bathroom fan in my roommate’s bathroom. This was done after discussing the issue with our apartment manager, who apparently visited our downstairs neighbor and heard the humming noise. Why’d we turn off the bathroom fan? Because it was the only thing left on over the past week–neither of our bedroom fans have been running.
So this afternoon, I saw the apartment manager outside and asked her if she had heard anything. She said that our neighbor had called her and said he hadn’t heard anything since Thursday. Thus, I would logically deduce that the noise he was hearing was our bathroom fan (we leave it on all the time to vent out odors, etc.). Now, you may be wondering, why didn’t we turn off this fan sooner? Well, over the past three months, the neighbor was fairly explicit in his beliefs that it was one of our bedroom fans. In fact, he said that he couldn’t imagine it being a bathroom fan when I asked him. So, we just assumed that it wasn’t the problem.
Now, given the conversation that I had previously with the apartment manager, where she stated that bedroom fans would be considered “major appliances” and thus subject to the community guidelines that prohibit their usage from 10 p.m.-8 a.m., I was concerned about what this meant for the summer months, when most sane, normal people, run these types of fan in the evening (and overnight) in front of their windows to circulate cool air into their apartments. If we were going to be unable to run these fans at nighttime during the summer, then this was going to be a major issue for me.
Therefore, I asked my neighbor if it would be feasible for us to isolate the noise by running a little test this weekend: running my bedroom fan tonight, my room mate’s bedroom fan tomorrow night, and leaving off the bathroom fan the whole time. If, he didn’t hear a noise either night, then we’d definitely know that it was the bathroom fan that was the culprit. And then I’d ask the management company to replace it with one that is less noisy, so as not to disturb other tenants. You’d think, that after all of the concessions we made this summer: moving fans around, placing blankets, styrofoam and bubblewrap underneath them, turning stuff on/off, that our neighbor would be willing to run this final test with us. Well I was wrong. Here’s the text message conversation between the two of us.
Me: Hello. Spoke with Doreen [apartment manager]. She said you haven’t heard anything since Thursday night. In order to isolate the issue, and determine if it truly is the bathroom fan, I’d like to run the stand fan in my bedroom tonight, and the one in my roommate’s bedroom tomorrow night, to ensure its not them. As per a prior conversation with her, she said they would be considered “major appliances” which concerns me when it gets to the summer again.
Crazy neighbor: It’s not a big deal in summer cause the windows are op en. Yeah, I’ve had 3 full nights sleep in a row. It’s been great. The floor fans can be completely insulated from transducing. But not w/ blankets, it needs styrofoam. This all started in july. So whatever changed then is the culprit.
Me: I’m 90% sure it’s the bathroom fan. That’s the only thing that’s been running for long periods of time. So I’m going to try each of the stand fans. One tonight. Another tomorrow. Please let me know if you can hear either and I’ll turn them off. We’ll keep the bathroom fan off as part of the test.
Crazy Neighbor: ok, I’ve gotta ask. What’s the deal with the fans?
Me: The bedroom fans? It’s not that we need to run them now. I’m thinking ahead to the summer. And also believe that it’s highly unlikely that a bedroom fan would generate enough noise to be heard below us. That’s why I want to test it. We started running the bathroom fan around the same time, but in our earlier conversations you said you didn’t think that would be it. So we never turned it off. And if it is the bathroom fan, I want it to be replaced because that shouldn’t be an issue. This whole ordeal has made us out to be “bad guys” when it now seems to be a management-provided feature that’s caused this all along.
Crazy neighbor: The “bad guy” in all this is a bldg w/o adequate insulation. We all had to learn to remember that pretty much everything can be heard by tose below us. E special ly things like washers, dryers, dishwashers, vacuums, & apparently now, fans. Exhaust fans are loud, they have to be to move that much air. Perh aps you’re the first of my neighbors upstairs in 6 years to use them. But probly not. You are the first to leave them on all the time. I’m pretty happy with the 10-8 quiet rule. The noise our stuff makes is much less significant than the transduced noise it produces in the floors below us. Not having an yone above you you wouldn’t realize just how loud it is.
Me: Our exhaust fans are pretty loud and they make some that are quieter. You pay more for those with less decibel ratings. The fans we have in our bedrooms really aren’t all that loud. Now, for my own sanity, I’d like to test that.
Crazy neighbor: Transduction means it’s not noise, but vibration that matters. How about you just keep them off from 10-8 and when summer comes back we can deal insulati ng the floor fans effectively? For the first time in 3 months, I can go to sleep when I want & I’d really like it to stay that way.
I didn’t respond to his last text message. I figured, what good would it do? So, tonight, I’m running my fan. Tomorrow night, I’m running the room mate’s fan. Both nights, we’re keeping the bathroom fan off. Then, on Monday, I will text him and ask if he still hasn’t heard anything. My assumption is that he’ll say “no” and then we will have logically deduced that it is indeed the bathroom fan that made the noise the whole time. Upon making that conclusion, I will write a letter formally asking the management company to replace the fan, as it creates enough noise to bother other tenants and is their responsibility to replace. Also, the community guidelines regarding “major appliances” read as follows:
Major appliances inside the unit, specifically (if applicable) dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers, will be operated only between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Tenant shall not install resident-owned major appliances except in locations that have been specifically provided for them. Also restrict your vacuuming to these hours.
Note that no fans of any kind are referenced in that guideline. So, I believe, that if they want to consider our floor stand fans a “major appliance,” they must add it to the contract and have us sign, as it does not include the clause, “including but not limited to,” unless they can somehow demonstrate that these are considered “major appliances” due to some other precedent.