We all hear bumps in the night. But while it could be the restless souls of departed spirits, or the tell-tale noises of the monsters under the bed, in most cases there’s more likely to be a far more mundane explanation. Here’s how to work out what’s causing those haunted happenings, and some quick easy fixes so that you can get a decent night’s sleep!
For centuries, scratching or knocking sounds have been associated with the idea of the dead trying to communicate, especially at meetings like séances. However, unless you’re specifically holding a séance, it’s far more likely that the sounds within your walls are the signs of some far more unwelcome and far more tangible little guests. Pests like mice or rats are an increasingly likely possibility now that the weather has turned chillier, and they’re more likely to try and move to make a warmer nest indoors.
Don’t underestimate their ability to cause serious hygiene problems. Even if you don’t find them snuffling around for food, they’ve been known to get trapped and die within walls or under floors, which is hugely unpleasant when trying to root out the source of the consequent smell.
Luckily, the solutions are relatively simple. It’s mostly just a matter of laying down some traps (preferably humane ones), or calling in a professional to deal with the issue for you. Resist the temptation to take an axe to the walls, Jack Nicholson-style.
This can be particularly unnerving if you’re in the middle of eating or watching television, but don’t worry. It’s almost certainly not the actions of a vengeful spirit about to wreak merry havoc (probably). There are a huge number of reasons why the lights might suddenly go off, but amongst the most common are:
It’s an overloaded amp
This is one of the most frequent explanations for family homes. If too many electrical devices are trying to draw power at once, it will trip the circuit breaker, which usually affects outlets in multiple rooms. Make sure you identify and remedy what caused the trip before you reset the circuit breaker, otherwise it’s likely to simply trip again in a few minutes’ time!
It’s a high-watt bulb
On a similar note, sometimes individual light fixtures can suddenly fail because someone has ‘overlamped’ it with a higher-wattage bulb than it’s rated for. Essentially, this overheats the fixture and its wiring, which can cause it to fail quite suddenly (and sometimes quite dramatically). Again, the fix is fairly straightforward; just replace the fried fixture, and replace the bulb with an appropriate wattage.
The house has aluminium wiring
Aluminium wiring was most used for houses built around the 1970s. It’s notorious for thermal expansion in cold and wintry conditions, and can sometimes abruptly cause issues with lighting when the weather turns chillier. Unless you’re actually qualified with the relevant skills, it’s best to get a qualified electrician to check the connections, and if necessary replace the wiring entirely.
Loud or sustained thumping at night can be particularly scary if you don’t know the source, and can’t think of a possible explanation. Thankfully, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s unlikely to herald an imminent Arrival From The Next Dimension. If the sound is indeed coming from the walls, it’s far more likely that it’s a ‘pressure hammer’ – in other words, the sound of air pressure being pushed through the water pipes.
The sound can be particularly loud of pronounced after someone flushes a toilet or turns on a faucet, and can easily travel all throughout the house. That means if someone pays a visit to the bathroom or gets themselves a glass of water at 3am, you might hear a massive noise upstairs in your bedroom. Before you call the plumber, it’s worth turning the water off at the main, and then draining all the lines. This will reset the water in the pipes, eliminating the hammering sound.
Alternatively, if the sound is coming from the radiators, you might have condensed steam built up in the system. (Most people spot these issues around this time of year, now that everyone’s turning the heating back on again!) Bleeding the radiators is an often underestimated, but effective fix to the problem.
This one’s a spooky issue that’s not limited to the nighttime or oak internal doors. At any time of day you might spot an internal door that’s swinging eerily ajar – or worse, suddenly springing open in your face! Again, don’t automatically assume it’s a vengeful poltergeist. There are several possible causes. Here are two of the most common:
The hinges are incorrectly positioned
If the hinges aren’t aligned correctly, the net result is that the door is often straining to re-open. Sometimes, the mechanism gives, which is when it can suddenly spring open. Fixing it is often just a matter of ‘packing’ the hinges.
To do that, start by removing the screws of one hinge and prise it out of its recess, so that it pivots over and out of the way. Then, place a piece of flat cardboard in the space underneath it, then pivot the hinge back over to its original position. Replace the screws, and then that should fix the problem. If not, try adjusting the amount of cardboard before you start looking at other solutions.
There’s not enough clearance at the bottom
Essentially, this involves your door jamming against the floor or carpet because it doesn’t have clearance, which results in a pressure that gradually forces it out of position. Simple problem, simple solution; just plane a little excess wood off the bottom of the door, so that it’s able to move back into its proper place.
That’s not the only issue that can occur with your internal doors, although thankfully, some of the others aren’t quite as creepy! It might be worth checking out our previous blog on how to fix a stuck internal door. Or, if your doors are past their prime, you can always shop for a replacement at any one of our DIY stores across the North West in Preston, Blackpool or Wigan. Don’t forget, while you’re there, our friendly experts are always on hand to lend a word or two of advice. We’re here to help!