You Don’t Want to Hear These Noises Coming from Your House
1. I hear a bubbling or cracking noises coming from the water heater
The problem: A gas-fired hot-water heater works pretty much like boiling a 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 a hot water tank, and that sediment works like an insulator,” forcing the burner to work harder, Kuhn says. The strange noises you hear is the bubbling sediment — and a sign that the tank is probably experiencing fatigue and may be facing premature failure, Kuhn says.
The solution: Ideally, you should flush out your hot-water tank every few months, using the drain valve near bottom of the floor. “However, nobody does it,” Kuhn says, because it can be a pain to do. If your water heater is already making these noises, draining it might help. “It could (work) a little bit longer, it could go a lot longer,” but the damage is probably done, Kuhn says.
READ MORE: Top 10 DIY Mistakes by Home “Handymen”
2. I hear a switch turning on and off regularly, but I can’t isolate where it’s coming from
The problem: If you’ve got a well for your water, you’ve got a well pump — either in the house or above the well in your yard. “If you are sitting in your house and hearing the pump switch click on and off, you may have a problem,” Kuhn says. The pump pulls water from the well and into a holding tank, where it’s stored for your use. If you’re hearing it when you, say, turn on the faucet, something may be wrong. The pump “should not operate every time there is a call for water. The wear and tear would cause the pump to fail prematurely,” he says. It’s likely that you have a leak in the system. “The leak is either going to be in the well equipment itself, or in a fixture” — for example, a leaky toilet — that is causing the holding tank to drain, Kuhn says.
3. What’s that hissing sound?
The problem: If your home has gas, a strange noise that sounds like hissing could indicate a gas leak, Richardson says. Sometimes you can hear a hissing outside at the gas meter or at a home’s outdoor gas light post—places where the line could have corroded, he says. “You should be able to smell it, but you never know.”
The solution: If you smell gas around the gas main, don’t mess with the gas shutoff unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, because any mishandling or spark could make things much worse, Richardson says. If you hear the noise and smell the gas, immediately evacuate the house and call the gas company.