Knock, Knock! Boo’s there?

Ever get scared out of your wits by strange noises in your home that you can’t explain?  Like when you are lying in bed or perhaps sitting all alone curled up with your favorite book and then…you hear it.  The creaks, rattles and taps that you only seem to notice throughout the night.

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Your first reaction may be to panic. If you are home alone and feeling scared it may be a good idea to do a quick house check to make yourself feel more comfortable.

• Making sure the faucets are turned off/no dripping • Lock all the doors • Close the blinds • Distract yourself with a project to keep yourself busy • Maybe call a friend • Turn up the TV/Music • Relax and breathe

Whew! Now that you are feeling comfortable and safe, try to identify all of the sounds that might be scaring you. Isolate the noise to narrow down the possibilities of where it might be coming from. The good news is, there is a simple explanation for almost every noise that occurs in a house and it does not involve ghosts. One of the benefits of owning a brand new home is that you won’t have as many creaks and squeaks as you would have with a resale home. However home maintenance is very important to all homeowners and sometimes sounds can be a sign that attention might be required.

Certainly, some of the sounds you hear in your house are totally normal. On a windy day windows can rattle and tree branches might tap on walls or doors. Floor boards can creak as people walk across them, (usually more typical in an older home). Doors can even open by themselves if not secured properly. But there are also sounds that are not so normal and easily identifiable. Here are a few culprits:

Creaking and Popping Temperature change or expansion and contraction can often cause strange noises to occur. Extreme temperature changes in a home can cause noises as the mass begins to shrink (with cooling) or swell (with heating). Houses are made up of a combination of materials that contract and expand throughout the day, all at different rates. This leads to creaking, popping, and other strange sounds that might surprise you when you least expect it. There’s no real fix to these sounds other than putting your mind at ease in knowing where it’s coming from and understanding that it’s fairly common and everything is likely just fine.

Whistling This may be a good sign to check your A/C filters. When an A/C filter is dirty it inhibits airflow. But the system still has to get air, so it sucks what it can from around the filter. That creates a whistling sound that seems to be most noticeable when the house is quiet. A quick filter change will help remedy this noise and relieve your curiosity as to what this sound is. You’ll be off to dreamland in no time.

Humming If you hear a constant humming sound coming from your kitchen, check your fridge. A constant humming could mean a temperature regulation issue. Make sure you haven’t overloaded the freezer with too much food. There might be something blocking the passageway between the freezer and the refrigerator compartments. It is also a good idea to keep appliances at least 2 inches away from the walls.

Banging If you are operating a brand new dryer, make sure that the shipping bolts have been removed to avoid any banging sounds. It’s also a good idea to place rubber or cork padding under the legs or corners of large, heavy appliances to stop vibrations from transferring to the floor.

Hissing This is a dangerous noise that should not be ignored. It could be a possible gas leak. If you hear this noise, or suspect a gas leak, leave the house as fast as possible without touching any light switches or using anything electric and call this number.

Buzzing Whether it’s coming from fluorescent, incandescent, or LED, this buzzing noise usually occurs from vibration caused by the voltage applied.  The bulb isn’t always the cause of the vibration; other devices on the same electrical line can lead to noisy lines or noisy light bulbs.  This is a fairly common problem and usually, this noise is an easy fix as long as you know what to look for. Fixes range from a simple bulb replacement to more expensive tactics like replacing a dimmer or circuit.

All houses need an occasional tune up now and then. Listen to the noises and try to understand what your home is telling you.