This is a general review of typical noise problems that can occur in a condominium building and some methods to minimize or resolve them. Each noise case is different, so please use the suggestions and comments in this note as only a rough guide. Usually, modern condominiums are built using construction techniques designed to minimize sound transmission between floors and adjacent apartments. But totally soundproof construction is expensive and most condominium developers cannot afford the time and expense involved in crafting a truly soundproof building. Each Renaissance apartment was carpeted and has a sound-absorbing pad under the carpet, further reducing noise transmission through ceilings and floors. In addition, Renaissance construction and remodeling guidelines specify that sound reducing materials (cork, foam, etc.) must be installed under solid flooring materials. Windows are double-glazed, which reduces the noise from adjacent streets and roadways and entry doors have a sweep at the bottom and flexible material on the sides and top to keep out hallway noise.

  • Pet noise: If you hear chronic pet noises (unabated barking, disturbing bird chattering, etc.), you should notify the security desk or the Building Manager.


    • Air handler noise: Depending on the size and layout of your apartment and the size of the air handler in your utility closet, you may be troubled by the sound of the blower and the click when the thermostat turns the unit on and off. Some residents have installed sound absorbing materials on the inside of their utility closet.  Though the louvered doors should not be covered with anything. They are the air intake source for your system.


    • Low humming sounds inside utility closet can be heard when the heat pump compressor is not running: Fluid from the cooling tower on the roof constantly flows through the two stainless-steel braided hoses leading to your air handler and you are probably hearing the sounds of the liquid flowing. This sound is almost imperceptible and is normal.


    • Clicking or whirring sound is heard when cold water is run or a toilet is flushed: Each Renaissance apartment has a water meter in the utility closet and when you use cold water the meter spins and clicks as it totals your water consumption (hot water is not metered). If you can hear the noise and it is bothersome, you can use foam or other sound isolating materials to cover the meter, which are read remotely.


    • Toilet makes periodic sounds indicating that the tank is being refilled with water even though it wasn’t recently flushed: Your toilet probably has a leaking flapper valve that allows water from the filled tank to slowly leak into the bowl. After a while the tank empties enough to trigger an automatic refill and that’s what you are hearing. Do it yourself repair kits are sold at all hardware and home warehouse stores.


    • Voices, cars and trucks, and street noises are sometimes heard inside the bathroom, even though there is no window: What you are probably hearing in your bathroom is street noise (and balcony conversations) that are picked up by the bathroom vent outlet on your balcony and channeled back into your bathroom through the duct work leading to the bathroom ceiling exhaust fan housing. Make sure that the small round flapper doors on the vent outlet housings on your balcony are closing completely when the bathroom fan is not running (they sometimes get stuck in the open position).


    • Strange sounds are sometimes heard from the kitchen area, but they are hard to pin down. What’s the explanation?: It could be coming from your ice maker. From time to time the ice maker automatically refills itself with water and the noise of the flowing water and the “clunk” sound when the electrically operated valve shuts off can be heard. Also, your refrigerator/freezer defrosts itself each day and you may hear a “click” from the electrical unit that is associated with the defrost operation. Also, if you have recently emptied the ice storage bucket in your freezer in order to clean it, you may hear the sound of new ice cubes as they drop into the empty container.


    • Dishwasher makes quite a bit of noise: Make sure that you have loaded the machine according to the directions in the instruction booklet that comes with the dishwasher.


    • Washers and Dryers make too much noise: Make sure that your washer and dryer are level and that they are not touching each other. Check to see that the dryer exhaust hose is properly connected to the dryer and to the wall outlet and that the exhaust hose is not sandwiched tightly between the wall and the dryer without leaving a small amount of space to break the vibration path between the dryer and the wall. Be sure to balance the load in your washing machine.


    • Drilling and hammering occasionally seems to be coming from the apartment directly above: Sounds of drilling and hammering can be transmitted over great distances in our building and chances are that the noise is not always coming from the apartment directly over your unit. Report any extended periods of noise to the manager.


    • Ceiling fan makes a constant clicking noise when it is running: Your fan is probably unbalanced and should be rebalanced so that it does not wobble or make any sound when it is running.


    • Bathroom exhaust fan makes loud buzzing sounds that can be quite annoying: The fan housing is probably not seated properly and is possibly transmitting vibrations to the ceiling panel. A handyman you hire can help with this.


    • Smoke detector makes occasional beeps: You probably need a new battery.


    • Loud TV, music, loud voices, disturbing sounds heard from an adjacent apartment: If you hear music or TV after 11 P.M. or before 8 A.M. but are not sure where it is originating, report the problem to the Building Manager or the on-duty security officer.


    • A “click” is heard when I approach a main building exit door. What is it and where is it coming from?: Above each main door to the building, on the inside, is a small thermal motion sensor that detects when you approach the door as you prepare to leave the building. It unlocks the security latch for a few seconds so that you can open the door.


    • Construction and demolition noise can be heard at the Renaissance in early morning, late in the evening, and on weekends: The City of Sarasota Noise Ordinance forbids any construction noise between 9 P.M. and 6 A.M. on weekdays, and between 9 P.M. and 9 A.M. on weekends and holidays. If you are bothered by construction noise during “quiet” hours, call the Renaissance Security Officer. If the problem cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, or the work also violates the Sarasota Noise ordinance, you may decide to call local law enforcement. If there is an ordinance violation, local authorities will stop the work and may issue a citation to the offending contractor, or the supervisor who authorized the work.


    • A sampling of some basics in the sound-mitigation arsenal: An amazing amount of sound can propagate through even the tiniest opening in your wall. Electrical, telephone and cable outlets can significantly increase the amount of sound coming through a party wall unless every opening is carefully sealed so that the outlet box, and all its wire access knockouts and openings, is absolutely sealed. All openings inside wall boxes should be totally sealed with acoustical sealant.


    • Pick up a pack of foam electrical outlet insulators and install one under every wall outlet plate on the party wall. It would be helpful if your neighbor also installed them on their side of the wall. These are normally used in Northern states to prevent drafts from entering a room through electrical outlets on the inside of an exterior wall. They are available at Home Depot, are simple to install, and they just might help.


    • Obtain some acoustical caulk and apply it around the opening in the wallboard for all electrical, telephone, and cable TV boxes. If you can reach the inside holes and wire access openings in the wall boxes you can caulk them also. When the caulk is dry, stuff some non-conductive, non-flammable insulation material inside the box around the wires, filling all the space. The idea is to completely close all possible air pathways, no matter how small, through which sound can travel.


    Make sure that stereo speakers or televisions are not touching any walls and try to locate them as far away from a party wall as possible. Locate subwoofers away from a party wall and respect the rules regarding evening quiet times. If floor mounted speakers are placed on uncarpeted floors it is important that sound-attenuating isolation pads be used.


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The Renaissance is a condominium located near Sarasota Bay, comprised of 244 residences and comprehensive amenities. With a club room, media room, pool with jetted spa, guest rooms, fitness center and more–The Renaissance is truly elegant living in the heart of downtown Sarasota.

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