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The complete lack of Things in the Walls and what to do about it - Tactical Ninja

Jun. 18th, 2012

09:22 am - The complete lack of Things in the Walls and what to do about it

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This weekend was a weekend of DIY. Well actually it was really only a morning of DIY, and it was more like DIJ (do it Joel). There are many neat things about Joel, but one that constantly surprises me (and I don't know why) is his willingness to climb up in the ceiling to investigate stuff, and build things, and be all handy.

I think maybe it's because my previous experience of people who do that kind of thing is that they are not necessarily versatile in their abilities, and likewise often people who are very cerebral are similarly non-versatile - lots of my favourite brainy people are not so much with the hammer-swinging and chainsaw-wielding. Joel is one of those people that fits well into more than one category - he can be Cerebral and Handy and a bunch of other things as well that I won't go into here, and that's neat.


So there's this strange tapping noise. Well, actually it's a dripping noise. We hear it when we're lying in bed.

Our building has two floors above our apartment, with a service core running down through the centre, which just happens to run between our bathroom and bedroom. So when someone has a shower above us, we hear the water trickling down the drainage pipe. This is ok, it's kind of like having a waterfall running. However, occasionally there's a drip, and it sounds like it's falling from a great height onto a flat surface. So we get:

*peaceful trickling sounds* *TAP* *trickletrickle* *TAP* *TAP* *trickle* *TAPTAPTAP* *gurgle* *TAP*

Sometimes it happens in the middle of the night. We have upper neighbours who get home from being out on the weekend and shower at 3am, and it goes *TAPTAPTAPTAP* and we go *GNNG* because it is 3am and it sounds like someone is going nuts with a hammer in the wall right next to our heads.

I was concerned that this drip denoted a leak that was dripping onto wood somewhere in our wall, and also had one of those ohnodon'teventhinkaboutit notions that maybe it wasn't shower drainage, you know? So on Sunday morning, Dr Wheel climbed up into the ceiling above our bathroom and had a look.

And couldn't see anything. Crap. Turns out there's a large (6 inch diameter) plastic drainage pipe that we all share, and it's encased in sound insulation. There's no damp up in the ceiling, but he couldn't see down past all the insulation to where we could hear the noise. What to do?

This:



This is a special technique we developed yesterday morning using agile methodology and collaboration and trial and error. We both had a go (action shot):



That is the bedroom wall behind where my nightstand normally sits. The service core runs right there and we figured if we removed a bit of wall we'd be able to look in and see what's up. Clever, us. Here's what it looks like inside:



Note the insulated drainage pipe, the bits of leftover rubbish from when the apartment was made, and the distinct lack of anything wet. Just to be sure I shoved my phone in there and took a random picture:



Here you can see our bath, and a patch where it looks like small amounts of water have leaked from around the bath in the past, but it's all completely dry in there. We have concluded that the dripping noise we're getting is happening inside the pipe. I'm not sure how this works but it's a big enough pipe that if a stick or something was in the drain above, most of the water would swirl around the outside *trickletrickle* but some would perhaps collect into a drip on the stick, and drop straight down until it hit the bend where it turns to join the drain from our bath. *TAP*

Crap. This is less simple to fix. So we sealed it up again:



With duct tape, because at some point we want to stuff this entire gap with some kind of sound insulation. If we can't stop the noise, I'd like to reduce it. So being able to get back in sounds handy. Eventually, we'll be putting a large bookshelf up where this wall is, and that will add more insulation. Meanwhile, there's a black square on our wall that I want to draw a picture in.

Also, I admit to having a moment last night after watching Supernatural and some Walking Dead where I was all "What if a THING comes out of there and eats us in the night? There was a breeze coming through and everything!" But I got over that, partly because why would anything want to eat us when there's a nice tender YoT upstairs with his window open, right? Right?

The other thing I did was finally get the hoops out of the hallway, in preparation for installing the balls.




I'm pretty pleased with this development. Now to hang up my balls and build a bookshelf, and insulate our Gaping Hole. Just to make this more interactive, what sort of sound insulation should we use? No, fuvenusrs, the children of our enemies are not suitable as insulation, mmk?

Comments:

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From:ferrouswheel
Date:June 17th, 2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
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I was thinking about some kind of active sound cancellation that would predict the pattern of drips using a recursive neural network, and then create the sound of an anti-drip.

But then I thought that's more a year long project that requires sleep in the interim.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 17th, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
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I want to lick your brain right now.

Also, you have earplugs.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 17th, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
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This is a complex question. The dripping is periodic with somewhat inverse parabolic increasing/decreasing frequency in one event, but closely correlated with the gurgling, which is somewhat chaotic.

The tongue method might be simpler. I have to be on the side with my deaf ear pointing up.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 17th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
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Sadly your munted collarbone is on the same side as my munted ear.

Solution:

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From:pombagira
Date:June 17th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
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mmm happy place

*smirks*
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From:tatjna
Date:June 17th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
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On the upside, you can saw holes in your walls if you want without having to ask permission! ;-D
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From:dianavilliers
Date:June 17th, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
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Home ownership means being allowed to cut holes in the wall. I'd so like to not be renting any more.
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From:kehleyr
Date:June 17th, 2012 10:49 pm (UTC)
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Nice hole :-). Sorry you couldn't identify what the noise really is. I hope the insulation you'll do eventually will block it out so you can have a restful night's sleep if a neighbour showers at 3am again!!
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From:tatjna
Date:June 17th, 2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
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Seriously I have considered running up there and knocking on their door to find out whose house it is (this is when we thought it might be an actual drip). But then I realised just how creepystalkerish that would seem, and luckily I talked myself out of it.
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