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My Hot Tub Is Driving My Neighbor Nuts!


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I'm no expect but low frequency sound waves aren't felt within a the first few feet, it usually takes 15-20ft plus before they are noticed. It might be possible that they aren't lying. You know how it is when you hear a noise in your car but no one else can because it's so slight, well this might be the case here, your neighbours are now tuned in to the vibration.

It might be worthwhile considering lifting the tub when it's next time to drain it and setting it on something up 2"~3" polystyrene. It's cheap as chips and get the right one it won't even compress that much.

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I'm no expect but low frequency sound waves aren't felt within a the first few feet, it usually takes 15-20ft plus before they are noticed. It might be possible that they aren't lying. You know how it is when you hear a noise in your car but no one else can because it's so slight, well this might be the case here, your neighbours are now tuned in to the vibration.

It might be worthwhile considering lifting the tub when it's next time to drain it and setting it on something up 2"~3" polystyrene. It's cheap as chips and get the right one it won't even compress that much.

This is correct. Lower frequencies have longer waves. And you (actually "they") could be in the unfortunate situation where the peak of the wavelength happens to coincide with their physical distance from the vibration source. I'd work to determine the source first - by visiting their home and then testing weather it's jets or pumps (and which ones) through the process of elimination.

Once the source is identified, you can investigate solutions - repairing shock mounts, replacing pumps, isolation pads etc.

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  • 1 month later...

We have these neighbors that have always been reasonable and not uptight. But they claim that when our hot tub is running is vibrating their house and they can hear it!

Here's the details:

We have an older hs prodigy 1 horse power. We run the jets for maybe 20-30 about 5 times per week. Usually we go in sometime between 9-11pm.

Our tub is right next to our house (2 feet away) on a deck that sits 18 inches off the ground. Their bedroom sits about 50 feet away on a second floor. No obstructions between my tub and their house except for a 6ft wood fence.

I've checked in with other neighbors, no one can hear it. We can barely hear inside our own house! They claim that it vibrates their whole house/bedroom in particular, and drives them nuts. They were cool about it, but definitely emphasized how major of a disturbance it is for them. The drone sound and vibration, etc.

I apologized and said that I won't turn on the jets after 9pm. They were cool with that and appreciative , but continued talk about how much of a nuisance it is.

I'm a friendly guy who understands the importance of getting along with neighbors. I kind of question how loud it really is for them (note: their windows are always closed). Regardless, is there any simple solution that will lesson the vibration/sound? I'm not going to stop using my tub or spend a ton of money on solutions. Moving my tub isn't an option.

any ideas or thoughts?

Thanks!

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  • 4 months later...

I was reading this post with great interest because I have a similar problem and don't know what to do either. I live in a town home community. I just purchased a 7 seater Legend hot tub and placed it in my backyard on a cement slab. The slab is attached to my neighbors bedroom sortof. The only thing separating the slab to their house is a spacer. Their headboard is against this wall and they are very upset by the constant vibration and hum throughout the night. I only have the tub on high circulation between hours of 7AM and 7PM or when I am in the tub which is never late and only for a 1/2 hour. I feel terrible because they are great neighbors. I really would do anything to quiet it but it is a 10x 12 and Ican't lift it to do something. Anybody have any suggestions. He can't get the headboard off this wall because there isn't another wall to place the bed. I look forward to your suggestions

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  • 1 year later...

I am also someone who suffers the constant, well, at least 3 or 4 hours a day, 'drone' from my neighbors hot tub motor. Unlike kim0516 it's during the day and only from April to September as he switches it off during the colder months (when we don't go outside!). Chill out, go get a life is my neighbors and probably some guys here response but we've put up with it and asking my neighbor as politely as you can for 4 years now and my patience has run out. Last year I got the local Noise & Pollution chap to write and call round who was very sympathetic but as I thought, the noise isn't loud enough to prosecute. At least he has agreed with what I think is the main cause of the problem: his wooden decking base and the way it is connected to his concrete posted wooden featheredge fencing. I've tried to explain this to my neighbor asking him if he could put his tub on a concrete base or just move it a few feet off the decking onto his blockpaving. No chance. I've invited him round to hear it - for some reason it sounds worse our side of the fence and he has listened. No joy.

I'd be interested if anybody has had a similar problem. I suppose if you don't mind the noise of an electrical substation humming away throughout you entire garden (and I have quite a big garden - main reason why we bought the house infact) you won't understand this. But I do.

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  • 7 months later...

Hi all,

I am replying to the original post however my comments may be applicable to many other posts. I recently moved into a new 400K home in a new development. Everything was fine until my next door neighbour installed a used older model hot tub (brand unknown) into his back yard. Initially there was little noise penetrating my house until the neighbour built a PT wood deck around the tub. This combination created a unbearable motor hum that penetrated my house. It was like living inside an acoustic guitar while someone was strumming a string. Two rooms in my two story house were affected the most (the ones adjacent to the neighbours property). The outdoor noise is not offensively loud but you definitely hear it. In fact the motor noise is louder in my house than outside sometimes. The hot tub was set on a crushed limestone base and set back about 12 feet from my property line and about 18 feet from my house. The neighbours are reasonable people (as am I) and they have invested money and time into this leisure activity. I asked them to come over to my house to hear the noise on several occasions, which they did and agreed the noise was heard. They moved at a snails pace to try and suppress the noise while I suffered. I called the noise bylaw officer to visit and have a listen. He agreed the noise was there but there are no bylaws to address the hot tub pump noise...seriously? I offered to my neighbours on several occasions that I would pay in full for a service technician to come and help fix the problem. They eventually said they got a service guy (not sure if this person was a certified technician or just some guy my neighbours new who said he could help) to check the pump. I was told that the service guy said the pump wasn't noisy however my neighbours said they would rebuild the pump anyway. This did not reduce the noise.

After much consideration of my options (surprisingly there are few acceptable ones) I decided I would have to deal with suppression of the noise in my house. This turns out to be the most cost effective and neighbourly option. I used a noise suppression product called "green glue" and added a second 5/8 inch drywall layer on the outer walls in both noise effected rooms. I did the work and saved money. This was the most cost effective way. Fast forwarding to the end. This product help in suppressing the noise by over half. The noise still penetrates but there is no more motor humming focused in the centre of each room. Most noise is getting in through windows and adjacent walls not "sound proofed". The noise has gone from intolerable to tolerable and with any amount of noise in the house (tv, radio, furnace fan running etc.) the hot tub motor noise is not inherently noticeable.

I blame two thing for this noise problem. The first is of course my neighbours hot tub/deck combo, the source of the noise. The second is the construction of my house. The walls of my house have no mass to them. Modern houses in my development have only wood studs, that's it for mass. Vinyl siding, tar paper, Styrofoam, insulation, vapour barrier and drywall make up the rest. There is nothing to suppress outdoor noise. the walls are great for preventing heat loss in winter and thats it. It seems that the walls of my house actually capture and amplify the motor noise into my house. If I had foreseen this I would have bought a brick home. My next one will be.

hope this helps

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  • 2 years later...

I thought for sure the original poster was my neighbor, because they have described our situation almost exactly, only we live in Oregon. Another point, I have no complaints about any of my neighbors for any reason. Also, I would be elated if our neighbor would keep it off during sleeping hours. For those of us who can't sleep through this noise, it is a very REAL problem. We have already spent $2500 dollars to have soundproof window inserts installed. That did not solve the problem. We then had a sound technician out and were told that sound waves travel out and up. Since none of the other neighbors are having an issue, it is apparent that the placement of our upstairs master bedroom to their hot tub puts us in direct line to absorb the vibrations. The technician pretty much told us that there is nothing we can do to insulate our home to stop the vibrations. Our neighbor promised to turn it off by 10 pm and not run it before 6 am as it is on a 6 hour circulation cycle. He sometimes forgets and we don't sleep that night. Sometimes he forgets for multiple days in a row, and my sleepless brain starts going to a conspiracy theory; refer to the poster who said to tell the neighbor you did something and see if they think the problem is solved . When they go on vacation, we would gladly take up the job of turning it off and then back on, but they must not trust us, so they leave it on the entire time...45 minutes of recirculation, every 6 hours. Our solution? Today I am going over and I am going to offer to pay the purchase price of a silent circulation hot tub. We are not rich by any means, but I don't do well with day after day of interrupted sleep. 11 to 11:45 pm and then again 6 hours later. The time can vary, but there is always one or two middle of the night recirculation times. The only other option is to move. I'm all for dealing with the devil you know rather than with the devil you don't know. Moving would cost us probably more money and we love our home. We don't love those neighbors because talking to them about this has deteriorated to the point they turn and walk the other way when they see us. I am sure they think all the things other posters are posting, but his IS a very real problem to us.

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  • 1 month later...

I too am having problems with sensation of vibration in my house.

If anyone thinks vibration and low frequency noise in your home is a joke ... this is really a nuisance. Have a look here:

http://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2004;volume=6;issue=23;spage=73;epage=85;aulast=Schust

My studies so far indicate the problem is due to low frequency noise. As per LFN report UK here:

http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/158512/0042973.pdf

I purchased a Tascam recorder. It was designed to record low frequency music and has a flat frequency response to 20hz. The cutoff is somewhat lower. The recording is saved as a wav file.

The wav file is processed using Virtins Multi Instrument software that is used on a personal computer. The pro version includes an oscilloscope and a spectrum analyzer. The oscilloscope includes a bandpass filter.

When I process the recording I can conduct spectrum analysis on the signal. It shows a spectrum of noise frequencies and the relative power at each frequency. So far I have 18, 21, and 60 hz showing as prominent bands.

I have purchased an infiltec seismometer. It shows there actually is vibration at 18hz. So how does noise cause vibration? Noise travels through various media. At some frequencies it travels through building material where it becomes structure borne noise and is experienced as vibration.

So the problem now becomes finding the source.

Two Behringer measurement microphones connected to the recorder and set on tripods at a fixed distance apart. I find it helps get a better signal to work with if you aim at the suspected source. The bandpass filter can be used to isolate and observe the signals on the oscilloscope. Measure the time difference between the signal and multiply by the speed of sound ... then measure out the resultant on the ground and get a direction to the source. Do this from at least two locations to get triangulation.

The final bit is about how to cause the noise to stop. Its against the law to interfere with the enjoyment of your property. In Canada its called criminal mischief. More frequently the matter gets settled in civil tort of acoustic trespass and tort of nuisance cases ... which are quite prohibitively expensive ... but its the polluter that pays ... the problem lies in proving it. So if your neighbor continues to operate the hot tub after you've made your legitimate complaints ... remind them about the potential costs of continuing to cause a nuisance in your home.

My problem is not resolved ... it turns out there are two sources ... and in one of those the direction finding indicates it lies between two buildings ... I can't resolve it any closer. Yet.

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Your hot tub is exciting the natural frequency of your neighbor's home. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_frequency

It's possible the wood deck is being excited by the hot tub producing just the right frequency that your neighbor's home needs to resonate (drum analogy above is good). your deck is the speaker, and your hot tub is the voice coil (magnet thing at bottom of speaker). An analogy is your hot tub and deck is the striker while your neighbor's house is the triangle (think musical instrument). Basically the frequency of sound waves your deck/hot tub combo make, couples with his home and perturbs its natural frequency.

You need to change the natural frequency of your deck/hot tub combo and or change the natural frequency of your neighbor's house. Imagine giving a large and long wind chime tube a thump. It rings at it's natural frequency (this is your deck/hot tub combo). Those sound waves then proceed to thump his house and it rings itself. Imagine what happens when you grab the tube on either end or in the middle and give it a thump. The frequency is higher and amplitude is reduced. You can't mess with your neighbor's home, but you can attempt to not excite its natural frequency.

It's possible the hot tub all on its own is generating the frequency, but changing the stiffness of what it's sitting on will likely change that. None of this may work, but it's pretty cheap to try.

1. Look for the largest unsupported span of your deck.

2. Have your neighbor call you on his phone and locate himself in the offended location.

3. Run the hot tub in the manner that offends him

4. Tune your deck by jamming columns under the largest unsupported span or under your hot tub.

5. Maybe you will be able to tune your deck and hot tub combo such that the sound waves they generate won't excite his home's natural frequency.

Adding mass to his wall would change the natural frequency too (very long shot) and possibly fix the problem if indeed it's the wall and not the floor. Second story floors have a lot of stiffness due to their requirement to carry the load, so it's likely the exterior wall that is line of site with your tub. have him push on the lower story wall and his house mate listen for the noise. Maybe he could put a heavy wall ornament in place and dampen the vibration/sound.

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  • 1 year later...

Yes, your neighbors really have the problem which you may not experience! I have exactly the same case right now. The owner of hot tub and the closest neighbors have no problems with it but houses far from the source have. The reason is in the physics and I am surprised that no one on the net i searched so far got it as if i am living in the middle ages. The explanation is of course simple: the interference of different channel sound waves  while they reflect and deflect traveling in the ground. These noises may reach  very distant places, like in my case I go at night to the next block 1000-1200 feet away and I feel how earth is shattering. When these waves sum in right phase the amplitude growing substantially. Since these ducts permanently change you experience zero or very loud noise level. This change acts like you switch hot tub on and off constantly making people nuts. You can take vibration analyzer and see couple peaks around 10-15Hz and 60Hz. First one you do not hear but feel. Second is coming from motors running on 60Hz currents. People living close to vibration sources like highways live 5 years less, children get worse at school, probable also other health problems, see research and even Wiki

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  • 3 years later...

I have the neighbors from hell who run their stupid hot tub 365 days a year all day and night. I hear a buzzing sound in my bedroom EVERY night. Drives me crazy. I am going to buy rock wool insulation and also install MLV under the 5/8” quietrock drywall. Then I am going to install “indow” window inserts to block the window noise. I’m also going to install new siding over my existing exterior siding. Then I will install a storm window on the exterior wall. 

That should I hope solve the problem. Turns out the neighbors are two dumb teachers who don’t have a clue. Talked to them DOZENS of times and they just don’t give a crap.  

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A well maintained spa should not make excessive noise, and virtually every spa has the capacity to be programmed in one way or another. Perhaps if they came here and posted a few pics we could offer them some advice to quiet things down. 

Worst case, are there noise ordinances in your community? Maybe they will be more cooperative if they get a letter from the local code enforcement.

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On 10/17/2020 at 9:22 PM, Chi-chi said:

I am going to buy rock wool insulation and also install MLV under the 5/8” quietrock drywall. Then I am going to install “indow” window inserts to block the window noise. I’m also going to install new siding over my existing exterior siding. Then I will install a storm window on the exterior wall. 

Cheaper to pay a qualified service tech to fix the issue. Sometimes it's a simple fix. A new rubber mount under the pump or the main power wire is laying on top of the motor and vibrating. I see lots of spa packs where if you just put your hand on it the vibration stops. Copper ground wires laying on or touching the pump. Something touching the black plastic equipment surround. 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, 

I am a neighbor of a hot tub owner. I can assure you that the night time noise is a real issue. I have experienced the same thong that some responders to this conversation have  noted. I sleep 50 feet from the hot tub location, on the same level, ground floor. When this tub turns on at 4-5-6 am it wakes me up like an alarm clock. I have tried ear plugs, they provide no help, I have moved my bed to different walls, some relief unless its really quiet which it usually is during the overnight early morning hours. I run  a air cleaner during the night , providing white noise, which does mitigate the sound but its like the vibration, tub noise just rides over the top of it. During the summer it is not really an issue as long as I keep the fan noise on, but it starts to get more noticeable around now, in November.  

The noise is much louder in other rooms of the house but I really only care about the bedroom during sleep hours. Ifb they were using the tub and enjoying themselves I wouldnt be as bothered but they are never in it, yet it runs 3 times a day/night , every night, all year long. 

I would love to hear of an idea that would mitigate the sound and then I wouldnt care when or how long the tub motor ran.

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14 minutes ago, Tradman said:

Hi, 

I am a neighbor of a hot tub owner. I can assure you that the night time noise is a real issue. I have experienced the same thong that some responders to this conversation have  noted. I sleep 50 feet from the hot tub location, on the same level, ground floor. When this tub turns on at 4-5-6 am it wakes me up like an alarm clock. I have tried ear plugs, they provide no help, I have moved my bed to different walls, some relief unless its really quiet which it usually is during the overnight early morning hours. I run  a air cleaner during the night , providing white noise, which does mitigate the sound but its like the vibration, tub noise just rides over the top of it. During the summer it is not really an issue as long as I keep the fan noise on, but it starts to get more noticeable around now, in November.  

The noise is much louder in other rooms of the house but I really only care about the bedroom during sleep hours. Ifb they were using the tub and enjoying themselves I wouldnt be as bothered but they are never in it, yet it runs 3 times a day/night , every night, all year long. 

I would love to hear of an idea that would mitigate the sound and then I wouldnt care when or how long the tub motor ran.

Get them to reprogram the spa to only run a 1 hour filter cycle in the am and a 1 hour in the pm. They should be able to also program the start times. A lot of spas whatever time you turn the main breaker on sets the start time others you can program by a clock function. 2..1 hour filter cycles a day will save them money if they don't use it often. Sneak over and flip the main power off and back on at say 9 am then you won't get woke. 

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2 minutes ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

Get them to reprogram the spa to only run a 1 hour filter cycle in the am and a 1 hour in the pm. They should be able to also program the start times. A lot of spas whatever time you turn the main breaker on sets the start time others you can program by a clock function. 2..1 hour filter cycles a day will save them money if they don't use it often. Sneak over and flip the main power off and back on at say 9 am then you won't get woke. 

Thank you for your response, as im  reading other postings i am noticing a pattern with, this tub runs for two hours every 8 hours, so, its on two hours and off for 6 every day and night. This will be the 5th time I will ask them to remedy the situation at night so the more educated I am about the tub the better. Thanks again

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hope after 10 years all of you are on this site and read my reply. I am experiencing the same thing. The vibration in my house from my neighbour’s spa has landed me in hospital twice! The cost for me has been enormous (audiologist/ENT/ cardio electrophysiologist etc) as I have existing health issues that the vibration exacerbates. I’d be happy to pay for a technician to fix it after this expert told me 100% the spa is behind this. He said it is what it’s sitting on, if the spa is on deck or hard surface, if the pump is wrapped in rubber or not etc. if it’s an old pump or attached to the spa and there’s no casing etc etc. Hope you worked it out. I now have to sell as it is detrimental to my health. Sad huh when it’s a relatively easy fix by the spa owner. 

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On 11/25/2020 at 7:59 AM, CanadianSpaTech said:

They don't need that much filtration. Most run at 2 hours out of 12. If they don't use it much 1 per 12 would likely work. It will save them $$$

One of my neighbours are running a pump for 12 hours. One has a spa on the high side of me (could be new addition as just learned they had it).  My other neighbour on the low side has a pool and runs his longer (says at night) but in the three years I’ve lived here I never felt any vibration from his pool. Weird. Another neighbour two doors up whose backyard is high recently installed a hydroponic garden! How would I know where this vibration is coming from to address it? I’ve called an acoustic engineer who I hope can help me identify the direction. Waiting to hear back on cost.

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On 11/25/2020 at 7:50 AM, CanadianSpaTech said:

Get them to reprogram the spa to only run a 1 hour filter cycle in the am and a 1 hour in the pm. They should be able to also program the start times. A lot of spas whatever time you turn the main breaker on sets the start time others you can program by a clock function. 2..1 hour filter cycles a day will save them money if they don't use it often. Sneak over and flip the main power off and back on at say 9 am then you won't get woke. 

Crikey I have same problem but there’s no way I can sneak in to switch it off! 

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On 9/25/2017 at 7:09 PM, s4p said:

Yes, your neighbors really have the problem which you may not experience! I have exactly the same case right now. The owner of hot tub and the closest neighbors have no problems with it but houses far from the source have. The reason is in the physics and I am surprised that no one on the net i searched so far got it as if i am living in the middle ages. The explanation is of course simple: the interference of different channel sound waves  while they reflect and deflect traveling in the ground. These noises may reach  very distant places, like in my case I go at night to the next block 1000-1200 feet away and I feel how earth is shattering. When these waves sum in right phase the amplitude growing substantially. Since these ducts permanently change you experience zero or very loud noise level. This change acts like you switch hot tub on and off constantly making people nuts. You can take vibration analyzer and see couple peaks around 10-15Hz and 60Hz. First one you do not hear but feel. Second is coming from motors running on 60Hz currents. People living close to vibration sources like highways live 5 years less, children get worse at school, probable also other health problems, see research and even Wiki

Yes I have developed heart and hearing problems after 3 years of living next to neighbours running pumps that vibrate my house. Been here three years but only started to “feel” it in the last 50 or so days (body tremors that stop when pump stops)! The pump runs for 12 hours 6pm-6am). 

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