10 House Sounds You Should NEVER Ignore

6 min read

Those bumps, thumps, and squeaks you hear in the night may be something far more serious than a monster under your bed. Your best bet is to get up and check it out because it could be something that could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs, or perhaps even exterminator bills! That being said, here are 10 house sounds you should never ignore.

10. Scratching in the Walls

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If you hear scratching coming from the walls or attic, there’s a chance your home has some unwelcome guests — specifically mice, or perhaps even squirrels or raccoons! Whatever you do, don’t ignore this sound. The problem will more than likely get worse. Instead, get right on it. Set some traps (humane, of course) or consider calling an exterminator. Then, seal up any entrances into your home so more pests don’t find their way inside. You may also want to look into different repellents so they don’t get anywhere near your home.

9. Running Water

Running Water
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If you hear something in your walls that sounds like running water or water dripping even though no one is using the water, you most likely have a leaky pipe or two. This is especially true if you notice a musty smell along with it. But, before you call a plumber, you should check the house to make sure it’s not something else, like a running toilet or a sticking flapper. “Next, check if your sprinkler system, dishwasher, or washing machine is running,” Alfonso Jimenez, master plumber and president of Mr. Rooter Northern Colorado, told Good Housekeeping. “If you’re still stumped, I would turn off the house’s water and check for visible water damage throughout the home, and look for water pooling in the yard, around the outside of the house, or in the crawl space.”

8. Squeaking Floors

Hardwood Floors
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Squeaky wood floors aren’t just a sign that your home is old. It could mean that you have termite damage! If that’s the case then you need to call a pest control company and a carpenter right away. In the meantime, you can do a test to see if termites have indeed invaded your home. According to Reader’s Digest, Ed Padilla, founder and director of the Association of Certified Handyman Professionals, says that if you hear tapping in the walls, it’s a sign you might have termites. Also, if you notice a floor starting to slant, it’s a sign that you have termite damage near a floor joist.

7. Rattling or Whistling from the Windows

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If a window in your home is rattling, it could mean that a sash needs to be adjusted, repaired, or replaced. If this is the case, get on it right away, because you could end up with a cracked window if you don’t. If you hear whistling sounds, it’s possible that the windows aren’t installed properly or your weatherstripping is worn. It could also mean that the glazing (i.e. the putty strips that hold the glass in place) might need to be re-sealed. If that’s the problem then you need to re-seal it right away to keep the heat (in the winter) and the cool air (in the summer) from escaping, and, in turn, driving up your energy costs.

6. Clanking in the Pipes

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If you have radiator heat in your home, that clanking you hear in the pipes could mean that your steam radiator isn’t draining properly. If this is happening, Geico recommends that you do the following:

Step 1: Make sure the radiator inlet valve is fully open (a partial opening could be causing the clanking sound).
Step 2: If the radiator inlet valve is fully open but the sound persists anyway, place shims under one side of the radiator to tilt the excess water back toward the pipe or steam trap.

5. Noises from the Furnace

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A furnace can make noises from time to time, but if you hear any squeaking, squealing, banging, popping, clanking or whistling, it’s likely a sign that something is wrong. For example, squeaking or squealing may mean that the bearings in the motor need to be oiled or that a piece of one has broken off, which can cause the motor to fail. If you hear banging, the fan may have shifted or may be bent and is clipping the cage surrounding it. If left unrepaired, this can damage the entire system. A popping sound could indicate moisture or a clog in the gas line. Any clanking sounds you hear could be caused by metal that has rusted and chipped off or soot that has fallen down from the flue. Lastly, if your furnace is making a whistling sound, it could mean that the filter is dirty and needs to be cleaned or changed. According to BobVilla.com, you should change the filter once a month.

4. Banging or Squealing Sounds from the Air Conditioner

Air Conditioner
Source: Wikimedia Commons

There’s primarily one of two reasons why an air conditioner would be banging or squealing. One, the filter could be worn or dirty. “If the air filter isn’t replaced regularly, it will ultimately get totally plugged with dirt and dust,” says Dan Deardan, owner of Just Right Heating and Cooling, told Good Housekeeping. “This could cause the air handler to make a high pitched whining sound, and the same is true of your furnace filter.”

Two, some of the parts may have come loose. “Squealing could mean your fan belt is loose, and gurgling could mean you need to refill the refrigerant,” Scott McGillivray, contractor and host of HGTV’s Income Property, told Good Housekeeping. “Bottom line? Have your unit serviced by a professional.”

3. The Lights are Buzzing

Ceiling Light
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A buzzing sound coming from your light fixtures could mean that there’s a loose connection. Whatever you do, DO NOT ignore this problem. A loose connection can cause sparking, which could lead to an electrical fire.

On the other hand, that buzzing sound might be coming from an electrical short. And, if that’s the case, you will need to call in a professional right away to repair the problem. Another cause could be that there’s not enough voltage being applied to the bulb due to other devices sharing the same electrical line.

2. Hissing

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If you hear hissing in your home, it could be that there’s a snake inside, or perhaps your cats have gotten into a fight. But, on a more serious note, that hissing could indicate a gas leak. If that’s the case then you need to vacate the premises immediately. DO NOT, I repeat, do not touch the light switches or use anything electric, like a telephone. Don’t start your car either. Instead, go to a neighbor’s house to call 911 and warn your other neighbors so they can get as far away as possible before an explosion occurs.

1. Rattling from the Dishwasher

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According to an article published by Reader’s Digest, Scott McConnell, board member of the United Appliance Servicers Association and owner of Lake Appliance Repair based in Sacramento, California, says that those rattling sounds coming from your dishwasher are caused by debris in the drain pump housing. “And, it will either damage the drain pump or propeller so your dishwasher won’t be able to drain,” he said. But, don’t attempt to fix the problem yourself, McConnell warns. You will most likely end up doing more harm than good. Call in a professional to do the repairs instead, he says.


So the next time you hear a strange noise in your house, take our advice and don’t ignore it! Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment below.