Things That Go 'Bump' in the House
Is that noise the foundation settling, the wood cooling after a hot day, or does something need investigation? While seasonal creeks and light pops can mean nothing, here are some of the noises homeowners definitely should NOT ignore:
Problem: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
Noise: Dirty filters can cause whistling that will stop once cleaned. Or a high pitched squeal/grinding noise could be a loose or unseated part.
Solution: Restart the system. If the sound return, shut the system off until an HVAC professional can take a look. Frequent clicking sounds could mean an electrical relay is malfunctioning and an HVAC pro is needed to inspect
Problem: Electrical systems
Noise: Humming or buzzing from outlets or switches usually indicates a loose wire. This is a fire hazard and requires an electrician.
Solution: If the noise is coming from a light fixture connected to a dimmer, make sure the bulb is designed to work with a dimmer. If it isn't, replace your current bulb with a dimmer-friendly one to see if the noise stops before contacting an electrician.
Problem: Walls, ceilings, and Attic
Noise: Scratching, scurrying and squeaking shouldn't be ignored. Birds, bats, and rodents may cause damage to wiring, create odors of all kinds and lead to more advanced infestation.
Solution: Ask your pest controller to locate the entry points and seal them once the pests are abated.
Problem: Water Systems
Noise: Dripping or hissing inside a wall indicates a water leak, which could result in destroyed wallboards, ruined insulation, as well as mold and mildew problems.
Solution: Contact a plumber first. A contractor may be needed second. Gurgling or popping coming from your water heater is a sign that it may fail soon. Check your heater's manual for instructions on draining and flushing sediment buildup.
When it comes to house noises, the best advice for protecting your investment is to keep your eyes open and your ears alert.
Sources: Bob Vila, Bottom Line