Stop…Hey, What’s That Sound? 7 Sounds You Should Worry About

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The average house makes a lot of noise. Some noises are harmless, but some are telltale signs that something is wrong. In either case, you should never let a strange sound go unchecked. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Here are seven sounds you should worry about — and what you can do to stop them.


A distinct hissing sound is one of the most concerning sounds you might hear in your house. The hissing can come from two possible sources. In the best-case scenario, a radiator or air duct in your HVAC system is leaking water. You need to find the source of the leak and fix the damaged part, which might require extensive repairs or a replacement part. 

In the worst-case scenario, there is a leak in your home’s natural gas line. Exposure to gas leaks can lead to unconsciousness and death or even cause an explosion in your home. If you hear a hissing noise, you need to turn off and inspect your gas lines immediately. Fixing gas leaks on your own isn’t a good idea, so you need to bring in a professional. 

Running Water

If there’s no one else in the house and you still hear running water, it could mean several things. One of the faucets might be dripping water, but it usually means a busted pipe in the walls or floors. There might also be a busted pipe underground in your irrigation system. If you can hear running water from an underground pipe, you know the leak is serious.

Start by turning off your home’s water supply and waiting for the noise to go away. If the running water noise stops after a few minutes, you can be 100% certain there’s a leak somewhere. Unless you have experience fixing water pipe issues, it’s best to call a plumber. The last thing you want to do is make the leak worse with a botched DIY repair. 

Scratching Behind the Walls

A loud scratching sound coming from behind the walls can only mean one thing — pests. Some sort of animal has gotten into your house and made itself at home. The most likely culprits are mice, squirrels, raccoons, birds or bats. You need to take swift action so the animals don’t do severe damage to your home’s siding, insulation and electrical wiring.

There are several methods for getting rid of unwanted critters. You can make a natural animal repellent with ingredients such as peppermint and chili pepper. Playing loud music is another effective way to disturb the animals and force them to leave. If these efforts are unsuccessful, you probably have to call animal control.

Rattling Garage Door

It’s normal for garage doors to make some noise when opening and closing, but excessive rattling is a bad sign. Assuming the door is properly installed, the most likely problems are worn rollers or poor lubrication due to a lack of maintenance. An off-balance door or damaged door opener might also be the source of the problem.

When rollers wear down, they can cause the door to become misaligned or slip off the tracks. Poor lubrication leads to rust and corrosion, which affects the door’s alignment even further. DIY garage door repairs are difficult and dangerous, so you should leave them to a professional service.

Clanking Heating System

If your home has a central heating system, you might hear clanking noises when you turn it on for the first time during the fall. The clanking should go away after the system warms back up. If the noise persists, that means there is likely something wrong with the system’s boiler or circulator pump. Turn off the heat and take a closer look at those areas.

You can live without centralized heat, but other problems will arise if you leave the system unchecked. The air ducts will fill with dust and impact your home’s air quality, and your home will quickly get cold and uncomfortable. Call a professional for an inspection and diagnosis to get the system back up and running as soon as possible.

Whistling Windows

A whistling noise is a strong sign that you have drafty windows. This problem isn’t as significant as the other issues discussed above, but you can’t afford to ignore it. Drafts work directly against your home’s HVAC system, increase your energy bill and make indoor temperatures extremely inconsistent.

The simplest solution is to replace the weather strips around the windows to block out strong winds. If that doesn’t work, you might need to repair the problematic windows or install replacements.

Squeaky Floors and Stairs

It’s normal for hardwood floors and stairs to make squeaking noises, but if you notice the sound getting louder and more frequent, you need to take a closer look. A loose floorboard is the most likely cause. When the wooden plank loosens up, it rubs against adjacent planks and nails to create that distinct squeaking sound.

You need to tighten the loose floorboards and replace the nails around the problematic area. A flooring contractor can make these repairs in no time. Don’t wait too long, or else the loose board might break under the pressure.

When in Doubt, Check It Out

Houses make a wide range of noises. If you hear something that doesn’t sound right, trust your instincts and look for possible sources. These seven noises, in particular, are telltale signs of underlying problems. Check out the noise as soon as possible and be prepared to bring in professional help.

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