Bad wiring could be the source of the phone line noise.

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Finding and Fixing Phone Line Noise

If you're still desperately reading this article, then your landline problems probably aren't caused by weather. A simple way to determine the source of the noise is to remove each potential suspect one by one until the noise goes away. For instance, disconnect all the other phones to see if that helps. If it doesn't, see if moving the phone line away from other electronics gets rid of the static noise.

Another easy way to find the source of your woes is to listen. The type of sound could indicate your problem. For instance, static sounds tend to be caused by cordless sets, answering machines, poor weather and faulty wiring. Buzzing or high-pitched squeals, on the other hand, often result from the high-frequency signals coming from a DSL modem.

Sometimes the phone itself and its related equipment are the issue. Here are some steps you can take if you suspect your phone.

  • Find out if all of your house phones suffer from line noise. Sometimes inexpensive or older phones can malfunction and create problems.
  • Make sure the phone cord plugged into the jack is straight, in good condition and no more than 12 feet (3.7 meters) long. The farther the data has to travel, the more likely it is to encounter problems along the way.
  • Try plugging the phone in a different phone jack; sometimes electrical surges damage jacks.
  • Check that the cord is at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) away from other power cords, speaker wires, and other electronics, and remove all other devices from the phone line.

Other times, your Internet service may be to blame.

  • If you have a DSL device, make sure you have a good quality DSL line filter on every phone and fax machine, as well as any other device in your home that shares the connection. Sometimes the DSL line filters provided by your Internet service provider aren't effective. You can buy better DSL phone filters for wall phones and other appliances at an electronics store for as little as $5; ask the salesperson for a recommendation.
  • You can also try purchasing a line noise filter or phone noise filter. These small contraptions plug into your phone and can help to alleviate some noises.

Lastly, if you think the source of the noise is a radio transmitter, a filter might help you reduce the interference. [source: ARRL] .

If none of the suggestions in this article succeed in clearing your phone line noise, you can always call your telephone company and ask to have the line tested for noise. Many will do it free of charge, and they may be able to help you get to the bottom of your conversation killer. Be sure to tell the phone company if you use the phone line for just voice, or data and voice. As far as other annoying noises -- like those family members of yours -- you're on your own.

For more information about phone line noise and how to clear it, try some of the links on the next page.