Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Things That Go Bump In The Night: Strange Sounds In Your Home Solved

Are weird noises in your home driving you crazy? Don’t worry – it’s probably not a ghost. Many strange noises can be logically explained, although the causes aren’t always obvious. Certain noises could be signs of faults that could need urgent repairs whilst others may be perfectly normal sounds that are nothing to worry about. Here are just a few strange sounds in your home diagnosed.

Scratches in the walls

In most cases, scratching sounds in the walls are a sign of a pest infestation. Mice are the most common pests to lurk in walls and will make noises by chewing and scratching at the plaster and brickwork. That said, it could be another type of creature such as a trapped bird or even a bug infestation such as cockroaches. If there are no signs of droppings or sightings of pests, you may want to hire professional pest control services to take a look at it. They can try to work out what kind of pest is causing the trouble and how to get rid of it. Removing the pests could be urgent if they’re making very loud sounds as they could be causing a lot of damage to the walls (some of this damage could be dangerous).

Banging noises in the pipes

If you’re hearing loud banging noises in your water pipes, it’s most likely ‘water hammer’. You’ll usually hear this sound when a faucet is turned off – this could be a tap or a faucet leading to a washing machine. Water hammer occur when water slams against the closed valve. All modern pipes have an air chamber that is supposed to cushion this water when a faucet is turned off. However, over time this air chamber can become full of water, preventing it from acting as a cushion and causing water to slam loudly against the valve. Water hammer can cause damage to pipes if not fixed - the slamming could cause vibrations that loosen up pipes and joints. To get air back into the pipes and prevent water hammer, you may need to drain all the pipes in your home. This is something you can do yourself – unless the banging persists, you don’t need to call in a plumber.

Whistling air conditioning

If your air conditioning unit is making a whistling sound, it could be because the filter needs cleaning. Air conditioning units should ideally be serviced on an annual basis, otherwise the filters can get clogged up with dust and dirt. This dust and dirt could be making your air conditioning less effective, and could even be affecting your health by affecting your home’s air quality (serious respiratory problems such as Legionnaire’s can be caused by unclean air con filters). Hire an HVAC repair contractor to take a look at your air conditioning unit and clean it.

Gurgling radiators

Gurgling sounds in radiators are common and are a sign that your radiators may need to be ‘bled’. Radiators can sometimes get air bubbles in them – these bubbles cause the moaning and gurgling sounds that you can hear. These bubbles could be affecting the heating quality of your radiators, so you’ll want to get rid of them. Check your radiators to see if they are hot at the bottom and cold at the top as this is another sign that they need to be bled. Bleeding a radiator is an easy DIY job – you’ll simply need a radiator key, which you can use to let the air out. Occasionally, bubbling could be the result of a pressure problem or it could be a problem with a water heater – in which case you may want to call the help of a plumber.

Clunking heating

This is different from the gurgling sounds you may be hearing in your radiators. Whilst not as common as they once were, clunking hot water pipes are often the result of the pipes expanding and hitting other objects. This could be because the pipes were fitted too close to a joist or a wall so that there isn’t enough room for expansion. To fix this, you may need to reposition the pipes or make adjustments to the joists/walls that are coming in contact with it. Clunking noises may simply be annoying and may not actually be doing any damage, but you may want to get a qualified plumber to take a look just in case.

Buzzing electrical sockets

If a socket is buzzing, it’s usually always a bad sign. You should turn the socket off immediately and unplug any appliances that are running off of it. The buzzing could be the result of old or faulty wiring, which could have become loose or could even be burning - continuing to use that socket could potentially result in a fire. You should get a qualified electrician to come around and take a look at this noisy socket straight away. Similarly, you should be wary of appliances of light fixtures that suddenly start making loud uncharacteristic buzzing noises (the odd humming is perfectly normal, but any loud noise could be a sign of wire damage).

Mysterious running water sounds

If you hear running water in your home even when none of the taps are running, it could be a sign that there’s a leak in one of the pipes! This is something you also want to get checked out straight away - an audible plumbing leak could result in heavy water damage to your home. An emergency plumber will be able to find the source of the leak and get it fixed quickly. Alternatively, running water could be the sound of rainwater leaking in. You’ll be able to more easily tell if this is the case as you’ll only hear running water whilst it’s raining outside. The leak could be inside an interior wall, which you may need to get a specialist contractor to take a look at - the source of the leak may not be obvious and could be anything from a small crack in the wall to a loose seal around a window frame.

Random popping noises

Windows and floorboards may make random popping noises throughout the door, especially if there’s been a recent change in climate. This is because materials like wood and glass expand and contract as a result of heat changes. As a result, they may make these popping noises. Such sounds are nothing to worry about in most cases. You should only worry if visible cracks are forming.

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