Wednesday, November 08, 2017 / by Angela Hunter
Is your home trying to tell you something?
Sometimes you feel like you’re sharing your house with a ghost— or either your home has . It makes the strangest noises; The water smells odd; The lights flicker.
You didn’t notice this when you bought your house, but now it’s starting to make you wonder if you should be concerned.
Usually not, but sometimes, your home really is trying to tell you something’s not right. Here’s how to interpret your home’s strange quirks, and how to solve them:
Bets are, spooky light flickering isn’t Casper the Friendly Ghost. If groups of lights flicker together, it could be something just as unnerving: dangerous, loose electrical connections that can cause power to over the gaps. This is referred to as “arcing”, which can cause fires. However, if lights dim when the refrigerator or other appliances turns on, the circuit itself might be overloaded.
Call in a licensed electrician. The $150 to $250 you’ll pay for a new circuit (or $500 to $700 for a new electrical panel) is much less costly than what you’d spend to recover from a fire.
Peeling Exterior Paint
Moisture is probably seeping underneath the paint. Leaky gutters or perhaps a steamy bathroom on the other side of the affected area are the culprit.
If it’s a new problem, you might be in time to save your siding — and a costly replacement bill. What to do:
-Stop the moisture at the source so the problem doesn’t repeat.
- Scrape off the loose paint, then prime and repaint.
If you wait too long and the siding might rot. Patching and repainting the whole house could easily cost you up to $10,000!
Rustling in a Wall
Naturally, it’s termites and carpenter ants —small creatures that love to feast on your home. Knock on a wall and then press an ear against it. If you hear a rustling sound, it could be termites. A sound like crumpling cellophane could mean carpenter ants
Call a pest-control professional. Cost is $65 to $100 for an inspection.
If the knocking happens when you turn off water, you may have what’s known as “water hammer” — when fast-moving water comes to an abrupt stop and there’s no air to cushion the shock wave. If knocking occurs when your furnace switches on or off, metal ducts are expanding or contracting as temperature changes.
If there’s an air chamber, it may be filled with water and only needs to be drained. If it’s missing, it needs one installed. Call a plumber ($65 an hour) to add one.
A Toilet Tank That Refills All on Its Own
Worn interior parts may be causing water to trickle through the toilet constantly, causing the water level in the tank to lower and trigger the refill mechanism. A leaky toilet potentially wastes over a thousand gallons a month.
Untangle or loosen the chain — it might be too tight and preventing the flapper from sealing fully. Or, try bending the tube connected to the float ball. If those don’t work, replace the valve and flapper inside the toilet tank (under $25).
Creaks and Groans
All houses creak and groan a little as parts expand and contract with the changing temperatures. Changes in levels of humidity can cause it too.
You don’t to do anything — it’s normal for a house to make a few snaps, pops, and groans as it gets older (like all of us). However, if a creaky floor is driving you crazy, get an anti-squeak repair kit.
Mildew is the root of all musty things. Basements are the favorite for this nasty life form.
Keep surfaces dry. A few ways include:
- Running a $20 fan to keep air moving, which creates dryness.
- Adding a dehumidifier (about $175 or so).
Rotten-Egg Smell When You Run Water
A type of bacteria that produces hydrogen sulfide gas. It could be in your water heater or in your drain. To find out which:
1. Fill a glass with hot water.
2. Step away from the sink.
3. Take a whiff.
If you smell it, your water heater is the likely culprit. If not, the bacteria are in your drain.
Pouring a $1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide down the drain should kill the fungus. After 20 minutes, continue with baking soda to fix the smell.
Your water heater is another issue: Call a plumber to disinfect the system.
Strange-Tasting Tap Water
If water tastes metallic, iron or copper might be leaking from the pipes. If you taste chlorine, your water supplier may have overdosed on disinfectant.
If chlorine seems prominent at all taps, or if you taste metals, call your water supplier or have your well water tested. If it’s an ongoing problem, a permanent water purifier ($150 to $200) might be what you need.
If all the bottles on your counter or bar jiggle each time you walk by, or if your floor feels like it gives under your weight, the floor joists might not be sturdy enough. That’s often caused by homeowners who remove walls during remodeling.
Have a structural engineer or experienced contractor see whether you can add more joists, boost existing ones, or add a post to support the floor more. You’ll pay up to $500 for a structural engineer to assess your problem. A contractor will cost less, but make sure they have the experience.