Oh snap! Is my house haunted? Here are 7 common mysteries and advice to make them poof!- disappear!


  1. What’s that clanging or knocking sound in the walls?

The problem: A loud sound inside the walls especially when you are turning on and off the shower or sink is sometimes called “water hammer”. This happens when there is too much air in the water system. Another possibility is the straps that hold long runs of pipes in place inside the walls have come loose, so pipes are knocking against the framing structure when the water is turned on or off.

The solution: One expert says to eliminate water hammer by draining the pipes to get rid of the   air bubbles in the pipes causing the banging. Turn off main water valve, where the water comes to the house. Next, turn on all the faucets and flush the toilets until there is no water running out of them. Then turn off all the faucets before you turn the main water back on. If you still hear the knocking then it’s time to call the plumber.  If the straps that hold the pipes have come loose then it could be a tricky fix and you might have to open up the wall.

  1. The stairs are creaky.

The problem: Over time, constant usage- along with wood’s natural expansion and contraction can cause the nails and screws to move and that wear and tear can cause the loose spots to creak.

The solution: Most of the time you have to take up the carpet to get to the treads and stringers in the creaky spots. It’s best to use screws to tighten down the tread. Great time to do this is when you decide to change out the flooring!

  1. One of my doors won’t stay open.

The problem: Over time, the screws holding a door to the hinges can become loose and the door becomes “out of plumb”.  This can cause the door to slowly close.

The solution: Check out the outer edge with a level and you can tell which way the door has to move to hang correctly. Replace the screw from the hinge that is loose (top or bottom), and replace it with a longer screw, at least 2.5 inches long. This should tighten up the hinge and the door to the wood frame so it functions properly.

  1. I hear a bubbling or crackling sound from my hot water heater.

The problem: A gas-fired hot water heater works pretty much like a boiling pot of water. A fire is lit and the water inside is heated until it’s ready for use. A lot of sediment builds up at the bottom of the hot water tank forcing the burner to work harder. The strange noise is the bubbling sediment- a sign the tank may be need to be replaced.

The solution: You are supposed to flush out your hot water heater every few months but not many people do. If you are hearing these noises draining the tank may help but most likely you will need to replace the hot water heater. The normal life of a hot water heater is 8 – 12 years but less with hard water.

  1. The windows rattle and whistle

The problem: The window sashes (the frames holding the glass) or poor weather stripping around the sashes allows the windows to move back and forth when it’s windy or during changes in pressure between inside and out.

The solution: Check the weather stripping and trim holding the sashes in place and replace it if you see that it’s damaged or missing.  Also check the caulking outside- because this can deteriorate over time.

  1. There is no one in the house and I hear water running.

The problem: The sound may indicate many things- leaky toilet or an outside faucet left on accidentally. Worst case scenario is a busted pipe!

The solution: First check the toilets- you may need to replace the flapper or other insides of the toilet. If this is not the problem, turn off the main water at the street and see if the noise goes away. If you still hear water running then you have a leak somewhere and I would say to call in the experts! The plumber- again.

  1. There is a strange scratching sound coming from behind the walls.

The problem: Well- you probably have squirrels, mice (rats) or even a raccoon! Wild critters like the attic especially when it starts to get colder outside. Unfortunately they can tear up your insulation, wiring and poop all over the place!

The solution: Set live traps. For one you don’t want the smell of a dead animal in the wall or attic! Also it’s more humane. Take them far away! There are companies that will come out and do this for you! Then make sure they can’t get in by sealing up any vents on the roof or even tiny places that they could get into the attic. I would make sure vents and chimneys are secured with mesh or something that lets those spaces still breathe.