Four Spooky Home Problems with Surprisingly Simple Explanations

Four Spooky Home Problems with Surprisingly Simple Explanations

It’s Halloween time, and that means frights and spooks are multiplying throughout the month of October. In fact, it may even appear as though your home is getting into the act with some frightful and spooky flavor. While flickering lights, creaking sounds, strange smells, and sudden chilly drafts may make you think your home has become haunted for the holiday, the truth is that most of these spooky issues actually have some pretty simple explanations.

Here are a few of these issues and the most common explanations for what they might mean.

Banging Noise in the Walls

Do you notice a loud banging noise in your walls? Does it seem to have next to no explanation? You don’t have a wall poltergeist, but more than likely have a common plumbing issue known as “water hammer.” Plumbing hammer is an issue caused by high water pressure suddenly being cut off by shutting off a faucet or tap. When the faucet shuts off, the water pressure in your line has nowhere to go, which makes the pipes themselves vibrate and shudder. If your pipes have even a small gap they can move and collide with wood or drywall, creating the banging noise. The reason most people don’t put the shutoff of the faucet and the banging noise together is that the noise could come from a pipe clear on the other side of your home, far away from the tap that was shut off at the time.

The easiest way to get rid of plumbing hammer is to make sure your water pressure regulator is working correctly—ideally you should have water pressure between 60 to 70 PSI running through your home. It’s not a good idea to leave this issue untreated, as repeated shaking and tapping could create costly leaks. That’s a terrifying thought no homeowner wants.

Flickering Lights

We’ve all seen the horror movie trope where the dim lights flicker on and off, casting an eerie sort of light that makes it difficult to see. Sometimes the lights even flicker out completely, enveloping the protagonist in darkness (usually right before a big scare). However, your home shouldn’t be dimly light and stricken with flickering lighting—if it is, you could have a problem that needs to be fixed right away.

Flickering lights can have several different causes. One of the most prominent is a faulty or dying light switch, usually caused by faulty or corroded contacts which limit how much current can pass through. If your switch feels warm a few minutes after turning it on, this is the cause of your issue and you should replace the switch right away.

However, you could also have a more serious issue. You could be overloading a circuit in your home—drawing too much current when your electrical panel doesn’t have the ability to provide it. This could result in electrical fires or excessive strain on your panel. Your problems could also include loose, worn-out, or outdated wiring, a problem in your meter box, or fluctuating voltage, which may be an issue with your electrical provider. The only way to know for sure is to have your home professionally inspected.

Strange Smells

October is traditionally the season where you fire up your furnace for the first time, and that could lead to all sorts of interesting smells that you may not understand. Has something died in your furnace? More than likely not—strange smells are actually somewhat normal. When you turn on your furnace for the first time, any dust which has accumulated on your heating elements and heat exchanger will begin to burn from the heat. This releases a strong burning smell into your home which should dissipate within five to ten minutes or so and then not return for the rest of the season. You can avoid this strange issue with a preventative maintenance and tune-up service for your furnace, which will also provide you with better energy efficiency and system dependability.

But what happens when the smell doesn’t go away? What if you continue to smell something burning even after your first several minutes have passed? This could be a sign of a number of other problems. One explanation could be that the electrical equipment in your furnace is drawing too much current, and that’s causing the wires and connections to overheat. Overheated wire and connections causes plastic insulation which shields wires to burn, creating a burning smell that’s extremely strong and difficult to get rid of. If you experience this problem, shut off your furnace and call for help right away—you could risk serious damage including a possible fire if you don’t get professional attention as soon as possible!

Phantom Toilet Flushing

You’re home alone and all of the sudden the silence is broken by your toilet turning on and refilling. Did a ghost just relieve themselves in your lavatory? (Do they even have to?) Not at all; this problem is a strong indicator that your flapper in the bottom of the bowl has worn out or corroded over time. Because flappers are made from rubber or soft plastic (a material that flexes to form a tight seal), they eventually wear out from exposure to water, which makes cracks or leaks that cause your toilet to run even when it hasn’t been used. Replacing a flapper is extremely simple! Simply drain the tank, remove the old flapper, attach the new one to the hooks which secure it, and then attach the new flapper to the chain. Once you turn the water back on, your tank should refill and the dripping, leaking sound should disappear!

However, if you change the flapper and the trickling or leaking sound doesn't go away, then you're probably facing a more serious problem that needs professional attention. leaks in your tank need to be tracked down and sealed, or you may have to completely replace your toilet. We strongly advise having a professional plumber inspect the issue and figure out the best course of action for getting it fixed.

If you’ve got a spooky problem in your home, let our team at My Plumber Heating Cooling & Electrical get it fixed for you. Contact us by calling (844) 294-8999 today.