6 Spooky and Strange House Noises, Explained

You can relax. (We promise.)


What do an ice maker, a leaky faucet and HVAC all have in common? They can produce some really spooky sounds. And when those sounds happen, we understand that your first reaction is likely to assume the worst. (Because, well, we’ve been there, too.)

But that’s also where we come in to help, because odd noises around the house don’t automatically mean total danger. Here are six spooky and strange house noises, explained—and what to do about them:

1. Creepy critters running behind your walls

You caught a mouse in the trap you set out just the other day, and now it sounds like the mouse’s friends and family are setting out for revenge. Or, your worst nightmare: It’s actually a creature from Stranger Things. Now, now … let’s not get too carried away. It’s probably the mouse’s family.

Creepy house noises explained (and what to do next): Just kidding! But it does seem like you might have a problem with mice. So here’s what to do: Keep food in sealed containers, and regularly take out the trash. Don’t forget to seal any holes around your home either.

2. Scratching noises coming from outside

No, no, no … What is that? A burglar? An animal? Is it finally time to get your end-of-the-world bug-out bag from its secret hiding place? For now, we recommend staying calm and fully under the covers.

Scratching house noises explained (and what to do next): Due to wind, branches from a nearby tree were scratching across your window. Looks like it’s time for a trim—so be sure to take a closer look at all branches and limbs that hang near or over your windows, siding and roof.

3. Random rattling on a quiet night

Okay, now is it the end of the world? No way. It’s probably nothing, right? Maybe the kids are having a middle-of-the-night dance party and you simply weren’t invited. Yeah, that sounds about right … for now.

Rattling house noises explained (and what to do next): Turns out it was simply your windows rattling with the wind. Now, it’s time to go to the store to get some weather-stripping. Once your windows are nicely sealed, we recommend a real dance party

4. Abrupt chirps in the middle of the night

Beep! You wake up and mutter, “What is that?” and roll back over. Beep! You open one eye, scan your surroundings and drift back to sleep. B-E-E-P. Okay, third time’s a charm. You turn on your phone’s flashlight and cautiously drift around every corner of your house to see where the mystery chirps are coming from.

Chirping house noises explained (and what to do next): False alarm. It’s just your smoke detector letting you know the battery is low. So, reminder: If you don’t keep track of when to change your batteries, you’ll be reminded in a not-so-great way.

5. Persistent knocking coming from somewhere

Imagine waking up so suddenly you sit right up, take off your eye mask and quietly glance around the room without moving a muscle. Then, you hear it: knocking. As you check the clock, you think, “Knocking? At 3:12 a.m.?” It’s perfectly on beat, and you have no idea where it’s coming from. Well, someone might not be going back to sleep.

Knocking house noises explained (and what to do next): In this case, it’s nothing spooky—just the pressure of your home’s pipes moving water around abruptly. Here’s what to do: Turn off your main supply valve and flush the lines by turning on all faucets and flushing your toilets. Once the lines are cleared, turn the valve back on. If that doesn’t solve the knocking, it’s time to call in the pros.

6. Unexplained flushing in every bathroom

You’re sitting there minding your own business—when all of a sudden, a toilet flushes. Minutes later, another toilet follows suit. The weird part? Your entire family (dog included) is in the living room watching a movie. The only explanation, clearly, is that it’s a ghost.

Flushing house noises explained (and what to do next): Well, we have good news: Your house is not haunted. You just needed to replace the toilet flappers—a mere coincidence that each needed to be replaced at the same time. Or was it?

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