Sensitivity to HVAC-Induced Floor Vibration

I know that on the internet the answer to “am I the only one who…” is always “no,” but so far no one I’ve ever mentioned this to has the same sensitivity. I just changed desks at work (from a cubicle to an office) and it’s happening again, so I feel the need to vent/see if I’m alone/ask for solutions.

When I’m in an office building, sometimes – depending on my desk location – I can feel the floor vibrating from the HVAC system. It seems like every time I ask anyone else if they notice it the answer is “no,” but eventually the vibration will make me feel sick to my stomach. I don’t get motion sickness or anything else like this, and I generally don’t care about the temperature in the space, etc.; it’s just the floor thing that bothers me.

I started a new job in August, but there were renovations happening in our space so I’ve been in a cubicle until today. I was finally able to move into my new office this morning, and…the floor is vibrating. There is an empty office right next to me, but it has the same issue. All of the other offices (there aren’t many to begin with) are occupied.

I have the idea that a thick rubber pad might help; like, the kind you’d put under a washing machine or something. I’m going to ask my boss if I can try that out (they’re kind of picky about how the offices look). Has anyone else with a similar sensitivity found something that works for them?

Many moons ago, I worked in a cinema in the mall. We were the third floor, and the box office was down on the second floor. The second floor that was, that is, suspended from the walls of the mall. Some of the boxoffice staff were on Dramamine.

Years ago someone in my office had the same thing. (You didn’t work with subtitles, did you? in CA?)

I switched locations with them. I noticed it only at night when less people were there, but I wasn’t always at my desk as much as my co-worker. The vibrations are real, though.


Nope. :slight_smile:

Thankfully, my boss agreed with you! She sat in one of my visitor chairs and could immediately feel what I was talking about. whew She agreed to let me try getting a rubber mat. Worst case, I will move back out to a cubicle. I *really *don’t want to give up my office, so I’m hoping there’s something I can put under my chair that will help.

It seems that most foam padding, etc., is designed to keep things on top of it from vibrating; not to muffle vibrations from below. I was just doing a Google search on possible other solutions, and discovered that I posted this same question four years ago! :smack:

Oh well. :slight_smile:

You might have seen this already and I don’t really know if this could help with your problem, but this helped with my insomnia.

It works both ways though I agree that putting a piece of wood under it helps.

I appreciate the link — I actually found that article myself the other day — but I’m not sure how to get wood blocks and small foam squares to work under a rolling desk chair. :slight_smile:

I was in a hotel in Minnesota a few months ago. I suddenly felt nauseated and disoriented, but the symptoms vanished when I walked a few feet…and then came back when I returned to the original location. It was, of course, some sort of vibration in the building. It’s weird because I’m basically never motion sick, but this affected me more or less immediately if I stood still in a particular spot. So another vote for “definitely real,” although I’ve never experienced it anywhere else.

I’ll take it! :smiley:

I’m back in the office today. A little while ago I emailed someone from facilities, and am wondering how long I can put up with being in this office while we look for an answer. If there’s no fix, I’d rather know right away so I can move on to Plan B. But some other moves are still happening in our space, so there won’t even be an available cubicle until later this week.

If you have to stay in that office, look into “vibration isolation” solutions. In lab environments, they often want the experiment tables to be stable and not pick up vibrations from the floor. You may be able to use one of those kinds of solutions.

Another thing you could try is noise blocking earmuffs. It may be that your inner ear is picking up the vibrating sound and that is what is affecting you.

Interesting! I’ll definitely look into that…thanks! :cool:

Not an option for me. I don’t even like using headphones. :slight_smile:

You can also get sound/vibration dampening mats for automotive use, like this stuff. It’s peel-and-stick, so you could probably attach a layer of it to the bottom of a rug or office mat. It might help, and it’s probably easier to implement than a lab-grade vibration isolation system.

Regarding the earmuffs, it might be worth trying just to see if you notice any difference. It will help determine if it’s the vibrations from the floor or the sound waves that are bothering you. If you don’t notice any change with the earmuffs, then it probably means the floor vibrations are the problem rather than the sound.

Instead of earmuffs, you can try some of those foam things for the ear canal. They’re pretty cheap.

Dopers are the best. :cool:

Innnnteresting! The stuff in your link doesn’t look like it would do much under a chair mat, but I wonder if something like this might…

None of the car stuff is designed to bear any weight, so rolling a desk chair (plus my considerable body weight) over it may well destroy it, but it’s cheap enough that I might just order a roll to try it.

Does it matter, though? I’m not going to wear ear muffs/noise-cancelling headphones all day every day, so if none of the vibration-directed solutions work I’ll still have to sit somewhere else. Right? Or am I missing something?

(P.S. All of the lab vibration isolation solutions seem to be standalone tables and trays, etc.; nothing that can be put under an existing piece of furniture.)

It’s just to identify the source of the issue so you know which type of solution you need to come up with. If it is sound, then trying to dampen the vibrations under your workspace might not make a difference. It probably is the physical vibrations, so it would just be to experiment to see if your discomfort is from one thing or another. Moving to a new office is likely the best solution regardless, so hopefully that works out.