Are you being woken up by things that go bump in the night? Don’t worry – your home may not necessarily be haunted. Many strange sounds can be logically explained and may be signs of problems in your home that have until now gone undetected.
Banging noises are some of the most alarming. If the banging is coming from within the walls, check whether it’s linked to times when people are using running water – it’s possible that the mysterious sound could be ‘water hammer’.
This is the most obvious explanation and occurs when water slams against a closed valve, usually after turning a tap off. Pipes usually contain air pockets that cushion this slamming water, but it’s possible that these air pockets may have disappeared leading the water to aggressively slam against closed valves and cause a bang. Turning off your home’s water and running all the taps until the pipes are empty can usually solve this problem, allowing some necessary air to return into the pipes.
Loose pipes may also cause clunking sounds that could also be interpreted as bangs – this may require seeking help from a plumber. Temperature changes may also lead windows and floorboards to contract and expand causing popping noises – these noises are generally harmless and you should ignore them as there’s nothing you can really do about them.
Scratching sounds in the walls are usually a sign that something is living in there. This could be a bird or rats, but it is most likely mice. The scratching is the sound of them eating through your plaster and scurrying around.
To get rid of these critters, you’re usually best contacting pest control. Alternatively, you can try setting up your own traps and using scents to ward away pests. Making sure that there’s no unsealed food lying around could also help to make your home less of a target for pests.
A gurgling sound is likely to be related to your heating. The most common cause is trapped air in the radiators. You can get this air out via a process called ‘bleeding’ which involves using a radiator key to slowly release pressure. Bleeding radiators is something that should be done regularly to help you radiators warm up more evenly and quickly.
Old boilers may also start to gurgle if there is air trapped in them or too much sediment at the bottom of them. You can hire a gas plumber to take a look at your boiler and diagnose the problem – it is not recommended that you attempt to fix your boiler yourself without training. If your boiler is over 15 years old, it could even be time to get a full boiler replacement.
A hissing sound could be serious – it’s possible that there could be a gas leak somewhere in your home. In the event that it is a gas leak, you should open all windows and then turn the gas off at the mains before getting outside. An emergency gas plumber will then be able to attend to the leak whilst you are safe from harm. Gas leaks often come with an identifiable eggy smell, however this isn’t always the case and you shouldn’t assume that there’s no gas leak just because you can’t smell it.
Whistling sounds are most commonly associated with wind. It’s possible that a gust of wind may have found itself into the inside of your wall, causing a loud whistling noise. However, there are other explanations too.
The whistling could be coming from a blocked filter in a fan or air conditioning unit. In such cases, your best option for ending this whistling is to clean out these filters. Air conditioning units should ideally be cleaned out every year as to avoid pumping dirty air around your home. You can hire a technician to do this.