5 Spooky House Noises You Should Never Ignore

illustrated houses making noisesWhen one of Bruce Ailion’s clients told the Atlanta-based realtor that he heard a buzzing noise coming from his walls, Ailion cracked the plaster to take a look. He expected it to be the pipes or electrical system making the odd noise. Instead, Ailion was shocked to discover some new residents: thousands of bees.

Houses frequently make noises—a floor creaks, a pipe gurgles, a refrigerator hums—but while some sounds are harmless and even charming, others are early indicators of potential problems that warrant attention.

“Any time there’s something different going on with the house, just like with your body, you ought to consider what that could be,” says Ailion, who has decades of experience diagnosing strange conditions in homes. “Pay attention to the way things work and sound normally; if you hear a change, that could be indicative of a problem.” Here are some potential troublemakers.

Clanking in Your Pipes

Anyone who’s ever lived with radiator heat knows how noisy pipes can be. When not draining properly, a steam radiator can make horrible clanging sounds—like someone hammering from inside. First, make sure the radiator inlet valve is fully open, as a partial opening could result in some noise. If the sound continues, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests placing shims under one side of the radiator, to tilt the excess water back toward the pipe or steam trap.

For those who don’t have radiators, a clanking or banging sound could be indicative of a larger problem. If your boiler is knocking, your circulation pump may be on its way out. Contact an HVAC professional.

Skittering in the Walls

Skittering sounds, squeaks, buzzes and other noises coming from your walls and attic may mean there’s something living in your house that isn’t part of your family. In addition to bees, says Ailion, “raccoons, squirrels and birds have been known to get into attics and cause noises.” And of course mice and rats can do the same.

If you hear something, search the outside of the wall for anything out of the ordinary. If you don’t find anything but the noise persists, consider setting traps or calling an exterminator.

Humming Appliances

If your dishwasher sputters or grinds, something may be stuck in the chopper blade area. A buzzing refrigerator may mean that the compressor is ailing. A humming dryer could mean that there’s an object caught in its blower wheel. These conditions are difficult to diagnose without expert attention, according to Ailion, so consider calling a professional as soon as you hear the noises.

Bubbling in the Pipes

Over time, sediment builds up on the bottom of a water heater as minerals precipitate out of the water and settle in the tank. Excessive accumulation it may produce a popping or rumbling sound, which should be your signal to call in a repair professional. Depending on the severity of the situation, flushing the inside of the tank may be enough to fix the problem, but it could also be time for a new heater. Either way, this isn’t something you want to ignore. Fixing it could prevent water leaks, says Ailion.

Whistling Windows

Improperly installed windows, worn weather stripping, changes in temperature and the simple passage of time can all cause an unwanted whistling inside the house. Not only is the sound annoying, it can also lead to energy waste. If you can’t find the source of the whistling yourself, consider hiring a professional to find and fix the problem.

Want to hear something that sounds great? Get a free quote from the GEICO Insurance Agency for a homeowners or renters policy today.

Read More: For more helpful tips for work around the house, check out our 7 Home Renovation Do’s and Don’ts.

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  1. Monty Howard says

    In Florida it is wise to also listen to creaking, cracking and bangs mild to loud. If this is heard and combined with cracks developing in floors, walls or ceilings and you notice anything outside (like a car on the ground) starting to settle slightly lower day by day YOU SHOULD RUN AWAY FAST. These are all signs of a home settling into a growing sink hole.

    If this happens call your local 911 operator, this is an emergency and can be life threatening to those who remain in the structure. Entire houses and adjacent yards have been known to be sucked into the ground with people inside. It is nearly impossible to rescue anyone caught in this situation.

  2. Karen says

    I think this is a good article. I’m one who heres all the noices. When i first moved into my new house back in’99, i had someone out here every week for noice in my wall. Found out there
    Were some loose siding. A nail would take care of the problem

  3. Reid miller says

    Clanging water pipes associated with faucets are usually caused by a loose washer in faucet or shutoff valve below. Plumbers sometimes overstate difficulty, claiming “air lock” and so on

  4. Anthony R. Salazar says

    I greatly appreciate your showing these possible problem areas that should not be ignored. I am sure that they will be beneficial to some of your customers.


    Question I have in the bathroom for the master bedroom cracks on the joints for wall to ceiling and it wasn’t like that before .but out of 2 bathrooms and 3 bedrooms is the only place in the house has that .is a very small bathroom with a standing shower the sink and the toilet. So if anyone knows what is this please help .thank you

  6. BettyLou says

    The article about new noises in the house was great. Maybe give us a few more hints on preventive maintenance to prevent these.

  7. Leida says

    Last year i experienced a scratchy noise inside my wall on top of my head in my bedroom. Very quickly i found out i had bats because the time of the noise.
    But worse than that,,, it happened this morning while i was on the 2nd floor, in my bathroom, getting ready to go to my doctors app, i heard my garage door motor. My cat jumped and i went downstairs,, my garage was definetely open. The garage door opened by itself.

    • BettyLou says

      Sometimes there are duplicate garage door codes or near enough to trigger your opener. The person is using an opener just trying to see where he can get in and help himself to your tools and other expensive items in the garage and be gone before you know it.


      If the door has a remote control change the code it maybe a neighbor has the same sistem and the same code ..also humidity in the wall switch to open the door .if is a wet location water can do that .you can change the location or waterproof it with silicone