Whenever there is significant rain or wet snow before the ground has
frozen, the dial tone is accompanied by an annoying hum. Calls can go
out and be received, but it is extremely difficult for parties at
either end to hear. Also, when this occurs, I cannot connect to the
Internet. 10-12 hours later when conditions are dry, the phone works
OK. Diagnosis? Treatment? Thanks
I had a similar problem. It turned out that there was an egg sack or cocoon
from some sort of bug or spider strung across the terminals in the
connection box on the side of my house. Whenever it rained the cocoon would
soak up water and cause problems for a day or 2 until it dried up. Note that
the lid on my connection box would not close tightly and would allow water
to run down the phone lines into the box.
I used to get all of the 800 calls to American Express for lost cards when
it rained. I called the phone company and they blew me off. The next time
it happened I called AE and explained the problem to them, they have a local
office in my town. They did not believe me. So I got the guy to use his
cell phone and call the 800 number. When I answered, well they got the phone
company to fix the problem.
As others have said water will create a low grade ground. Now all you have
to do is find it. Check the protector and then the problem is on the phone
companies side. Good luck. Complain when it does not work and get them out
then as they may never find it when it is dry.
The treatment is to check for the hum where the line first enters the
house. If it's present there, which it likely is, then it's the
telco's problem and you should call them to have it fixed. Hums are
quite common and ofter the result of a bad ground somewhere.
Yes and no. If you open the line where
it enters the home and connect
a phone there, that will isolate the
inside from the outside. Newer houses
have a modular disonnect where the
service enters the house. So if a
phone connected here hums when it is
wet, it is a telco problem. BTW, all
on the phone line are "bad grounds,"
except, of course, for the ground applied
at the central office. An external
ground unbalances the otherwise "balanced
line and causes 60Hz to be induced into
the line. A ground leak could be just
about anywhere; underground, in a
connection box, in a crawl space, etc.
That's hysterical !!!! You could have really pissed those people off
by being rude to them and making jokes out of their lost cards.
I just had this happen about 2 weeks ago. The first thing I did was
plug a spare (known to work) phone directly into the telco box on the
side of the house, thus disconnecting all the house wiring. That way
I knew the problem was in the Telco wiring, not my house wiring. They
charge $65 an hour to fix the house wiring, and there is no way I am
going to pay them $65 an hour. I could replace all the wiring in the
house for what they charge for a half hour.
Anyhow, I still got the hum outside. I called the Telco, they came
out and found a lightning arrestor which is in that same box, was
charred. He said "It did it's job of protecting my phone from
lightning". I was quick to tell him the phone was protected, but my
modem had fried two weeks prior.
Anyhow, the hum would get better and worse, and seemed to be real bad
after a rain. He explained the amount of chared "carbon" in there was
attracting moisture, plus the protective cover on the box was cracked
(I did not tell him that my garden tractor got a little too close to
that box and ripped it off the house, a few years ago).
The guy replaced that protector and the hum was gone. Then he asked
me if I still had the wire from the wall to the modem that fried. I
asked him why. He told me to bring it outside if it was handy. I
went and got it, and he showed me how the wires were burned inside the
little plug on the end. He was right. I never looked that closely at
the little plug, but it was all black inside.
So, if you got the hum at the Telco box, call the Telco. Then look
for black on the ends of all the phone wires.
Hope this solves your problem.
First is to determine if it is your problem of the phone company. Most
homes have a box outside that you can get into. This is where the house
connects to the telephone company lines. Disconnect the house and plug a
phone in directly. Is the hum still there? If so, call the phone company
and let them worry about it. If not, it is in your house phone wiring.
Assuming it is in your house, look of any no longer used jacks or perhaps
cut wires that would be affected by moisture or water. This could be an old
unused line in the basement or garage. Disconnects the phones one by one
and see if that stop sit. If so that phone is the problem or the connector
it is using. This is based on my experience with similar problems. Once it
was a portable phone, another time is was where a jack was cut off and the
wires just cut, not terminated properly and moisture (coupled with some
corrosion) caused a mild short in very humid weather.
That is very basic and as far as I can go with the diagnosis. A pro has all
sorts of equipment to find these things. If it is your house, you may do
better calling an independent guy rather than the phone company as they are
usually $$$ cheaper.
Sounds exactly like the problem we had at a house we used to live in. We had
overhead lines and lots of squirrels, the squirrels would chew through the
cables and when it rained it shorted across the circuits, at times we could
even hear neighbors conversations (WOW!).
The phone company (Southwestern Bell) was pretty good at replacing the
chewed line when it happened which was quite regularly. RM ~
We had exactly this problem in our home a few years ago. We'd get an
annoying hum when it rained, but only on "electronic" phones, ones which
needed power from a wall wart to work all their fancy functions. The
couple of old style non-electronic phones in the house didn't hum at all.
The problem was a "common mode" 60 Hz signal on the incoming phone
lines, probably leakage from the power lines on the poles to the phone
I put my scope on 'em and there was about a 30 volt p-p 60 Hz signal
relative to ground on all the phone wires when the weather was wet.
The technical explanation for why the electronic phones hummed was that
they didn't have enough "common mode rejection" on their phone input.
The phone company tried switching our lines to different pairs in their
cables, but that wasn't helpful, so we switched our phones over to
Comcast, who also supplies our cable TV and internet service. Been fine
We had a problem with loud static on the telephone line after a
rain storm. The cause was that a tree branch had rubbed the
insulation off the wire from the house to the first telephone pole.
The problem stopped when the repair crew installed a new piece of
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