LESLIE: Geri in Massachusetts is on the line with a very mysterious noise. What is going on?
GERI: Well, I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or what but I get this loud, loud bang in my house. It’s not a certain time of day. It can be at night, it could be in the morning. And I would say it’s a corner of my house and I can’t figure it out.
TOM: Does it happen when your heating system kicks on?
GERI: No. It’s just random. It can happen at any time of day and I can’t figure it out.
TOM: Do you have a duct system or do you have radiators that give you heat?
TOM: Baseboard radiators. OK. Do you have central air-conditioning?
GERI: I do.
TOM: And does it happen in the summer, as well as the off-season?
GERI: No. I only detect it in the winter.
TOM: OK. Well, a couple of things here. First of all, if your boiler is not tuned up properly, you can get a condition called “explosive ignition.” Like if too much gas comes out and then the boiler ignites, it can do so with a bang and that’s generally disturbing and very unsafe. So I would make sure that the heating system was serviced.
And the second thing that often causes noise that far exceeds its damage is something called “water hammer.” And this can happen when water is running through the pipes of the house and stops suddenly. The centrifugal force of that water continuing down the pipe will cause it to move or shake and that can result in a bang that goes almost end-to-end on the house. And the solution is both to secure loose plumbing pipes and install something that’s kind of like a shock-absorber for your plumbing system. It’s called a “water hammer arrestor.”
So those are the two most common in your type of heating system and plumbing system, areas where I think sound can originate.
Alright, Geri. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.