LESLIE: Well, if you’re suffering from things that go bump in the night you might be sharing Terry’s problem in New Jersey. You’re hearing some weird noises?
TERRY: Yes. Actually I moved into my 1966 split-level about three months ago and the first night I moved in I heard these crashing noises. The hardwood floors – there was no furniture in the living room and dining room so it echoed and I actually was so scared I called 911 …
TERRY: … and I walked through the house with the police on the line …
TOM: Oh, no.
TERRY: … and it was nothing. But then I continue – in the evening, generally, at night – all of a sudden I’ll hear crash-crash.
TOM: Have you considered whether or not you had like rodents or squirrels or something like that like up in your attic?
TERRY: Do you know what? Actually, I had some work done in my attic recently; I mean literally in the last two weeks. So I think the contractor would have (audio gap) if that was it.
TOM: It sounds to me like you’ve got some animals running around somewhere.
TERRY: I do know I have groundhogs living under my deck in the back.
TERRY: Could it be the heating system? It’s forced hot air and someone told me that maybe it’s just not put together correctly and when the heat goes on …
TOM: Well, when the heat goes on – and you can do this as an experiment – you can take your thermostat and raise it and then listen very carefully. Sometimes when your heat goes on and then the blower kicks on and the air expands in the duct system, if the duct system is not strong enough it can pop. It’s called oil-canning; sort of a tin can sound like a bang.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and if a room is empty with a wood floor it could be a ruckus.
TOM: Yeah, and the sound will echo through all the duct systems. But you should be able to reproduce this. You should be able to turn the heat on and off and hear this banging sound and if that’s the case then that’s easy to fix. We’ve just got to get to the duct that’s causing the problem and reinforce it.
TERRY: OK, and I guess the heating and cooling guy could do that for me.
TOM: Yeah, but again, this should be very reproducible. You should be able to make this happen by turning the heat on and off. So do this and think about it and listen; and it could take five minutes.
TOM: But if you hear that, you put two and two together and you’ve got the source of your noise.
TERRY: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Wow, a house noise that qualifies as a 911 emergency. (Leslie chuckles)
LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit and springtime is home improvement season and we here at Team Money Pit can help you get prepared. So give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day; seven days a week; whenever you are working on that project list, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.