Did You Ever Hear Of This Phone Problem?

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
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JW wrote:

I saw this on X-Files once. The smoking man is behind it.
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JW wrote:

\\ sounds like you have an open in the ground somewhere. Is the line in conduit or direct buried? You might make sure it's grounded too, at the service panel.
Rich
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can\'t make them THINK"
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JW wrote:

You've got water getting into line somewhere creating a partial short...start w/ connection box. Can be as simple as a staple through insulation....
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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.
Kevin

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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.
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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.
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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 grounds 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.
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

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SQLit wrote:

Boy, did you blow a money making opportunity! ;)
They say when opportunity knocks, open the door. You had it calling you up!
or
Talk about saving for a rainy day!
R
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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.
Mark
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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.
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It's humming because it doesn't know the words.
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mike wrote:

You must have watched the Letterman rerun last night... :)
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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 ~
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My brother-in-law's phone did that right before he went to prison. It quit right after he got arrested.
Steve
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Worn insulation on one of the outdoor wires. Call the phone company and ask for service.
--

Christopher A. Young
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JW wrote:

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 lines.
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 since then.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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JW wrote:

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 cable.
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