Your home should be a serene environment in which you and your family can relax. And part of being able to relax is unwinding somewhere free from bizarre and sometimes terrifying noises. Not only are sounds annoying while you’re trying to get organized and relax in the evenings, but they can also keep you up at night and scare your kids.
Most of the time, noises are caused by something simple and easy to fix. In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into all the sounds that you might hear emanating from various parts of your home so that you can address the root cause.
Dripping Near the Fireplace
Ideally, your fireplace should be silent, unless there’s a roaring fire blazing in the hearth. But sometimes you can hear a drip-drip noise coming from the fire or further up the chimney. What is it?
Water getting into the chimney stack causes dripping noises in fireplaces. Rain can sometimes get in through cracks in the chimney, or through the top of the chimney cap if it is not securely in place.
The problem with rain coming through the chimney is that it can corrode the metal housing for your fire and create damp. Usually, the problem is cheap to fix. You can often get a handyman to correct a dislodged chimney cap or loose brickwork for less than $100. However, you may have to pay more to sort out of the problem if your chimney stack is cracked or has compromised structural integrity.
The Pump to Your Well Makes A Clicking Noise
Well pumps omit clicking noises as part of their normal operation. It’s a sign that the pump is doing its job. However, sometimes you can hear well pump clicks even if you’re not using any water from the well.
Phantom clicks could have many causes. The most likely culprit is a leak in a pipe under your house. Sometimes pipes can crack as the land around them moves, leading to leaking deep underground. If you suspect an underground leak, then you’ll have to contact a specialist contractor to come and sort the problem out. Digging up pipes from under the foundations can cost a lot of money and usually, there’s no other way to sort it out.
Clicks could also be the result of a faulty relay sending incorrect signals to the pump. Most relays can be replaced easily for a small fee.
Remember, the more clicking from your well pump, the more it’s being used, and the sooner it’ll need replacing.
No, your thumping pipes aren’t the handiwork of a poltergeist: it’s the result of water being brought to a sudden halt and then accelerated again.
Thumping pipes don’t usually lead to long-term damage to your home. Even if the noise is loud, it’s unlikely that the pipes will burst or cause damage to your tank. But the sound can be annoying, especially if you want your heating to come on before you get out of bed.
The solution is relatively simple: get your plumber to install something called a water hammer arrester. The arrester is a simple device that creates a cushion of air, allowing water to come to a stop more gradually. Most DIY stores sell arresters for as little as $10, making this a cheap fix. Experiment with placing the arrester at different locations around your home to see where the best place is to mitigate the noise.
High-Pitched Chirping and Scratching
If you hear high-pitched chirping or scratching noises in your home, then you might have a squirrel infestation problem. Squirrels use attics as shelter, especially during the colder months of the year, and will use yours if you let them.
If you have a squirrel problem, it’s worth finding out how to squirrel proof an attic. Doing so will prevent squirrels from getting in, chewing through all your electrics and generally causing chaos.
Getting rid of squirrels is usually easy, but you may have to contact an exterminator. A pest control company will remove the squirrel infestation and give you advice on preventing it from happening again in the future.
Dripping noises don’t just happen in the chimney: they can occur all over the house.
If you hear a dripping noise that seems to be emanating from a wall, then you might have a leaky pipe. If you suspect a leaky pipe, check the area just below where you can hear the noise for water. If there’s damp or a pool of water, then call your plumber: they’ll have to get in behind the wall to fix the problem pipe. You need to sort the problem out as soon as you notice it. If you leave it, you’ll foster the growth of mold and damage more of your property with damp, making it harder to sort out in the future.
If, however, you don’t find a puddle of water anywhere, then it’s time to go into detective mode. First, turn off the water supply to your home by the mains stopcock. If the dripping stops, then it’s likely that you have a leaking pipe somewhere in your home. If the dripping continues, then check your toilet. Toilets are a common source of unexplained dripping noises, and the dripping can continue even if mains water is switched off because they have their own supply in the tank.
Buzzing Sounds from Switches
Buzzing from switches is usually caused by loose wiring. Electrons jump from metal wires to other material near the plug socket, making an annoying noise in the process.
If there’s a problem with the connection, then you should feel warmth surrounding the socket. Buzzing from switches is a potential fire hazard so call your electrician immediately. They’ll take the outlet out of the wall, examine it for loose connections, and then replace it after repairing the problem.
Buzzing noises can also come from light fittings. Sometimes it can be the result of loose wiring, just as with sockets, but most of the time it’s because the dimmer switch isn’t matched to the lightbulb. It’s a common misconception that all bulbs work with all dimmer switches, but that’s not the case at all. Dimmer switches lower the current reaching the lightbulb, causing it to shine less brightly. But some bulbs are not designed to work at lower energies, and so they make a strange buzzing noise.
The way to solve this problem is to use bulbs designed to work with dimmer switches. Usually, the manufacturer will indicate on the box if a bulb will work with variable current, so check the packaging.
Pings from Radiators
When metal gets warm, it expands. Older radiators, therefore, have a habit of making pinging noises after you turn the heating on. Although this is annoying, it’s usually not something you need to worry about. There are some kinds of radiators that are designed to avoid making any noise when they get warm but installing these could be costly.
Grinding Noises from Your AC Unit
Air conditioning units rely on moving parts to go about their regular operation. So, if you hear a grinding noise, then it is probably because one of those moving parts is not working the way it should. Continuing to run the AC unit could cause further damage and potentially be a fire risk.
The first thing to do is shut off the AC unit. Not only will this prevent any further damage if something has gone seriously wrong, but it will also enable you to hear whether there is something wrong with the unit itself. Switch it off and listen to if you can hear the sound. Then turn it back on again and keep listening: has the noise come back?
It if has, then you’ll need an HVAC professional to come over and sort the problem out. Usually, it’s a simple fix: new bearings or drive belt. But other times you can be looking at more pressing issues – you’ll only find out after it’s been examined by professionals.
Finally, you may hear a clicking noise coming from your air conditioning unit. Just as with your well, this clicking noise could be the result of a faulty relay. Faulty relays need to be replaced otherwise you risk working your HVAC overtime, even when it’s not required. Again, the price of resolving issues with relays is low: usually around $80, including the callout fee.
No Ghostly Explanations Required
Most household noises are caused by things that are easily fixed. Most of the time, sounds are a warning that you need to replace or repair something before it gets worse. Unexplained noises, however, require action. Don’t sit on them. You’ll end up paying out more money to fix a bigger problem in the future.
Sometimes noises can be subtle, like the sound of squirrels running around in your attic or under your floorboards. And sometimes they can be loud, like when your pipes start banging in the morning as your heating comes on, waking you up.
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Disclosure – I have teenagers who constantly need something and a husband who thinks items like race cars and boats are toys. So, throughout the blog you will find affiliate links that enable me to buy a bottle or two or three of wine to keep my sanity intact.