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Cracking noises

(21 Posts)
BYOSnowman Wed 20-Apr-16 21:16:13

I live in a 200 year old mid terrace. We had an extension three years ago and a new steel beam to hold up the back of the house. May or may not be relevant!!

Anyway, every night between 7pm and midnight there is one loud cracking/popping noise. The kind of Boise you would hear on an old pirate ship I would imagine. The noise comes from the stairwell up to the top floor (attic)

Dh thinks it's the woodwork settling after a day of expanding but I can't see how that explains it as eg it will still happen when the house hasn't cooled down from the heating.

Is my house about to fall down around my ears? Should I do something???

PigletJohn Wed 20-Apr-16 22:16:37

turn the heating off for 24 hours, see if it stops.

BYOSnowman Wed 20-Apr-16 22:21:45

It was happening last summer when the heating was off

PigletJohn Wed 20-Apr-16 23:28:37


Have you got a plastic soil-pipe stack inside the house now? Does it creak and crack when, say, the dishwasher pumps very hot water into it, or when you empty a hot bath on a cold morning?

Do you dry wet washing indoors?

BYOSnowman Thu 21-Apr-16 08:58:07

No to all those. This is the top floor of 5. The pipes from the top floor bathroom run through the floor but they are not in the stairs part. It sounds more wood like than pipe iyswim

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Thu 21-Apr-16 11:52:42

Maybe the renovations freed a ghost who had been holed up for 100s of years grin

BYOSnowman Thu 21-Apr-16 11:54:22

A ghostly pirate!!

Dh thinks it's the skirting boards!

EagleRay Thu 21-Apr-16 12:11:08

I had a cracking/popping/scratching noise coming from behind the dresser in the basement just over a year ago.

I decided it was rats. Then I decided it was something to do with the central heating pipes which ran nearby. Smelt a vaguely plasticky smell.

Got heating engineer over, pulled dresser out of way, looked at pipes then noticed double socket on wall nearby was merrily arcing and burning and smouldering - horrible moment as everyone had been convincing me it was nothing to worry about (am home alone a lot of the time as DP works away and so noises at night can be unnerving)

EagleRay Thu 21-Apr-16 12:15:24

My crispy wall socket

BYOSnowman Thu 21-Apr-16 14:02:24

Hmm, the sockets I have up there are all uncovered so would I notice?

Scary thought!!

PigletJohn Thu 21-Apr-16 14:50:24

I still think it's heat related.

If it was a conservatory or roof, it would tend to shrink around sundown, or when the sun went off it, but you would not hear much on a cloudy day. Same with solar collectors.

Maybe pipes between boiler and cylinder (if any) because it would relate to the last bath of the day, or the timer on the boiler.

BYOSnowman Thu 21-Apr-16 15:29:51

Boiler is in the basement

Maybe I will keep a track of the times of day and see if there is any correlation to kids bedtime/sunset/heating going off

It is quite loud and scares the living day lights out of me!!

EagleRay Thu 21-Apr-16 16:32:37

My noise was loud too - kind of like a snapping noise. Not saying yours is the same but my fears were dismissed by everyone and it was really scary when we found the cause - was trying to ignore it as was working f/t and also had a toddler and partner away all week so was too much to deal with!

Cressandra Thu 21-Apr-16 16:59:16

Ooh we had this in a holiday home and put it down to the solar panel on the roof. Very scary to think it might be more sinister.

BYOSnowman Thu 21-Apr-16 17:05:16

But would I notice if I can see the socket or do I need to open them up?

badaboom Thu 21-Apr-16 17:08:47

The main door was the culprit for mine. Got me jumpy for the first few months getting used to the noise...thought someone was trying to break in. It's mainly during the warmer months and occasionally during winter.

ABetaDad1 Thu 21-Apr-16 17:12:22

We live in a 200 yr old house. It makes noises all the time at night.

Its heating and cooling.

These noises will happen in summer because the heat of the sun make roof and walls boiling hot. In winter because of central heating.

It could be the steel beam is expanding and contracting because of this. Your stairwell will also tend to transmit and magnify noises like an ear trumpet.

Can you see any new cracks on inside or outside?

BYOSnowman Thu 21-Apr-16 17:16:28

The steel beam is in the basement - noise is definitely coming from final stair case

We've had settlement cracks (I hope they are) but nothing beyond hairline

PigletJohn Thu 21-Apr-16 17:17:16

steel beams are (supposed to be) encased in two layers of plasterboard to protect them from heat in the event of a fire, so should be protected from extremes of temperature.

Plastic conservatories move around a lot, as do plastic pipes, they usually tick or creak as they move.

PigletJohn Thu 21-Apr-16 17:22:31

btw, overheating sockets and switches usually have a pronounced fishy smell. It usually happens when there is a heavy load such as a tumbledrier or fan heater in them. In EagleRay's example, I think there was a badly-connected spur with some heavy load on it.

Comfortingly, sockets and their boxes are made of thermosetting plastic which, when overheated, chars and smokes but does not melt and is difficult to make flame. It starts by going brown, usually around the pins of the plug.

BYOSnowman Thu 21-Apr-16 19:02:53

No plastic conservatory and Windows. Only plastic would be the bathroom pipes upstairs I guess

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