Random and sudden noises coming from the house when you are trying to sleep can induce some serious anxiety.
Before you start thinking you have an intruder or even a ghost, chances are there are a few more realistic reasons as to why you hear noises. One of the most common complaints about hearing a noise at night is reports of loud popping sounds.
So, what does it mean when your house keeps making popping sounds at night, interrupting your precious sleep? Here is what we learned.
1. Expanding Wooden Floors
If your home has wooden flooring instead of carpeting, you may have just found your answer.
Most people don’t realize that wooden floors can expand and bend when exposed to certain elements. This is most evident when the temperature in your home starts to rise.
When you run your heat in the winter, the elevated temperature pulls excess moisture out of the wood, causing it to shrink slightly. When the heat is turned off, the wood will begin to expand.
It is a common practice to turn the heat down a little bit more at night. While sleeping, we are wrapped up in blankets, and the warmth of our bodies means that we won’t need to heat the house as high as we would during the day.
So, when the heat is turned down at night, moisture will start to find its way back into the wood floors, which will cause the wood to expand once again.
The wood expanding can start to cause pressure between the cracks in your floor board which can cause them to press together and slightly buckle.
While this slight bend won’t be noticeable to the naked eye, it will be audibly noticeable, meaning that the loud popping you hear is simply the pressure forcing the floor boards to press together.
It should be noted that this is only most common in real wooden floors and is less noticeable in laminated floors.
2. Heating and Cooling Pipes Create Noise
One of the reasons you may be hearing loud popping noises while trying to fall asleep is because of either your heating or cooling systems kicking on and off.
Most people program temperature control settings overnight. So, when the temperature in your home drops below this setting, the heat will kick on even when you are not manually adjusting your thermostat.
As mentioned, the heat kicking on can cause your wood floors to pop every few minutes, but the pipes connected to your home’s ventilation can also pop behind the walls.
Between the pipes knocking around to circulate heat and the expansion of the walls from the pressure, you can hear random loud popping sounds, which can be alarming.
But, much like the heat expanding your wood floors, it is completely harmless.
3. You Might be Experiencing a Frost Quake
Ice storms are fairly common for places with all four seasons, and while they are a huge inconvenience to your life, they can also create some pretty weird noises in your home.
When an ice storm hits, it covers everything in its path in a thin ice sheet. This includes the entire exterior of your house and all of the trees and landscaping surrounding it.
It looks beautiful when ice makes everything look like glass, but it doesn’t last long.
When the temperature starts to rise, the ice will melt. As it melts, the layers of ice around your home and trees will start to crack as your home begins to settle.
It can almost sound like glass breaking, explaining the loud popping noise you hear at night.
The noise will only get louder as the day goes on because the weight of the ice can start to bend and break branches around your home.
However, unlike other popping noises you hear, the aftermath of a frostquake can damage your property. Most commonly, the damage is done by falling branches and trees that have cracked under the pressure of the extra weight of the ice.
4. Your Home Is Begining To Settle
It can take up to 2 full years for a newly built home to completely settle into the foundation.
A home settling is simply finding its way into the foundation to give it stability. While the home continues to settle and set into the foundation, you can hear random sounds that have been described as popping and creaking.
Several factors go into why a house is settling and how long you can expect it to settle for. However, the biggest factor is the environment.
Homes that experience all four seasons of weather take longer to settle since the constantly changing temperature affects the moisture in the home. Also, homes that are newly built in areas that experience heavy rain may take longer to settle since the foundation is built into the unsteady ground.
Once your home finds its grounding and stabilizes, the walls and floors won’t constantly shift to find their footing.
So, if you are experiencing sudden loud popping noises in your newly built home, don’t fear. Settling is very common and should resolve itself on its own within a year or two.
5. It May Be Time To Call a Plumber
The plumbing in most homes is designed to pass water and waste through the pipes that are hidden behind your walls. While this design is meant to be a silent feature in your home, these pipes can begin to clash under certain circumstances, making popping sounds on your walls.
The most common reason your plumbing pipes may be clanking together is a sudden increase in water pressure. When the pressure is elevated, it can cause stable pipes to move around, and that pressure will make your walls pop.
One thing to note is that this is usually the first sign of a problem with your plumbing, so it is something that you want to stay on top of.
There could be increased water pressure moving through your pipes because there is a significant clog somewhere in your plumbing.
Most clogs will eventually find their way out with the moving water, but sometimes they can grow and get stuck.
If you find that even the strongest clog drainer isn’t working, it is time to call in the big guns in the form of a plumber.
Not only will a professional be able to remove any clogs by using a snake and a camera, but they will also be able to stop any other problems that may be causing the popping noise in your pipes.