Is a popping noise normal?

pamcrewsApril 2, 2008

We've been in our house for about 8 months now and it seems that on one side of the house we hear a good amount of popping, especially early in the morning. We have a walkout basement home and the area we hear this the most is in an upstairs bedroom where there is an unheated shop below. Could it just be the difference in temperatures or is the house (still) settling? It gets to be kind of scary at 4:00 in the morning.


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Don't worry, that's just the termites setting up shop....


In our addition, we heard a lot of popping the first and second winter, mostly in the middle of the night- woke me up quite a bit.

I'm not an expert, but I think you have it right, that it's not the house settling, it's the wood "settling" into position, both from the nails backing out a tiny amount and the wood frame shifting tiny amounts.

But boy does it sound loud at 3am!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 8:22PM
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We have had the same thing with our wood floors, popping when we, wanting to save energy, decided to keep the house at 60, yes 60 degrees at night. I noticed it most in the early morning hours. I told my DH that the floors, like me, were freezing our *butts* off and could we kindly turn up the heat....

Still at 60, waiting for spring.....


    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 8:36PM
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I think you guys may be on to something here. This is the first time I've had a walkout basement home and I hadn't given any thought to the floor joists. I think that just might be it...I hope, I hope, I hope.

(Okay, now I can think this is logical (during daylight hours) but at 3:00am I have visions of the house collapsing....)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 8:49PM
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Been in the new house about 6 months now and was wondering the same thing. Sometimes it sounds nearly like a rifle shot going off.

I've got an area of floor that *snaps* about every five minutes or so when the radiant heat is circulating. Plus bits of the ceiling joists/trusses can get verry noisy as the temperatures and winds change. Fortunately the ICF walls aren't adding to the cacophony!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 9:54PM
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I've lived in two new builds in both the north and the south. I've never heard the popping. But then again, I'm a heavy sleeper.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 7:18AM
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decided to keep the house at...60 degrees at night.

Hugh Ellsworth Rodham kept the family home at 50Ë overnight, having, it is said, some lasting psychological effect on his daughter.

When I was growing up, our home in rural Ohio with coal heat probably got that cold too by morning. At least on a "five blanket" night. Later in life, my mother still kept her home at 62Ë all day round.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 9:41AM
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OMG so funny!!! So THAT's what happened to Ms. Rodham!

We keep our heater at 62 at night. PLEASE don't tell me I'm slipping into a "psychological" neurosis too!
And yes, our house pops too. Sometimes I swear it's tuning up for a drum orchestra.

So is everyone totally enjoying their new homes?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 10:57AM
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We keep our house at about 57 at night. I don't consider that cold at all. We used to keep it closer to 54. I'm sitting here in a tshirt and yoga pants and it's 64 in here. If you are cold at night just add more covers, or a heated mattress pad.

Our house doesn't pop, but when it is windy the attic sounds like it will lift off. I'll be glad when we can spray foam it (closing the soffit vents) so that will stop.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 11:40AM
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G.W's home temp. must of been right at freezing! LOL!

Sorry, don't have an answer for the popping, but that would freak me out too!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 12:51PM
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kats, you make me laugh every time I "see" you!! Ok, so the 60 degrees at night I am getting used to, it's really only bad for the 3 am potty run, if you know what I mean. I have been know to yelp. At which point my husband giggles like a schoolboy pulling a prank!! So now that 60 degrees is comfie under the covers, we have started worrying about the by-god-it's-hot maryland summers....

kats, we love the house. I just feel like I still have so much to do!! But I completely enjoy it every day. Even when all I see is the laundry room and the kitchen....


    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 11:00PM
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Omg Amy, how funny! I think I know this 3am potty thing of which you speak....
I had the g-kids for the last 9 days (Easter vacation) plus DH's BD and a dirt bike camping trip. It's almost Friday of this week and I haven't seen daylight outside of the laundry room yet! June is normally our foggy season but I couldn't even see my backyard grass all day today (I lie!! I did see it from 3pm-3:30pm today). But tonight it's 42* outside- damp and foggy- and I'm sitting in my light PJ's typing on the "net". And, though I'm close, I'm not an ice-cycle just yet. The fireplace is cranked with eucalyptus while DH is under 2 heavy blankets on the couch freezing to reruns of NORTHERN EXPOSURE.
Hell... life if good and I love my home!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 1:58AM
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Sort of embaressed after reading these messages. We err ... keep the house at 50 degrees F. Home heating fuel is through the roof these days. Sort of comical sometimes to watch my daughter, she is bundled up like a ball complete with wooly hat. Spring is here now so that is good, and the heater hardly ever kicks in.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 7:07AM
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Is this popping noise related to the use of hot water? Piping materials change dimension with changes in temperature. It thus moves. Some installers attempt to secure piping tightly to control such movement. That makes the problem worse. When the piping moves, as it most assuredly will do, it makes noise in the tight supports.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:32AM
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I think those of you that are suggesting something is expanding or contracting due to temperature changes are right on. It may diminish over time. One of our DWV pipes did that when the house was new. When you drained a tub of hot water, it would make a popping noise, but it went away after a few years.
BTW, when I was growing up we lived in a farm house where the only heat was a big wood stove in the living room. My mother would get up in the wee hours and build a fire meanwhile my dad would be outside tending to the animals. Being a kid, I would stay in bed until the stove got warm. But then I would have to walk nearly a half mile to catch the school bus. I'm sure when it was cold outside the house was probably near freezing in the morning. Now we set the temperature for 60 at night and about 67 when we are home.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 12:29PM
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...."Sort of embaressed after reading these messages. We err ... keep the house at 50 degrees F."

For real?

That is way too cold. Is that even "healthy"? It's good that it works for you though. I couldn't do it.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 2:53PM
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Vinyl siding pops quite a bit, could it be that?

Y'all are tough!!!! We keep our house around 68-70. We're all electric, though, so maybe that's why our utility bills aren't $$$.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 6:27PM
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It's not the plumbing as we have flexible plastic tubing for our plumbing.....I think it's called "pecs"??? My hubby would know the name for sure...And it's not the siding as we have a hardyboard siding. I'm positive it's the wood and the more I think about it I'm sure it's the floor joists that contribute to the early morning racket.

And for you "lack of heat" highjackers (I say this in the kidding, kindness possible way)....I have NO IDEA how you can live with 50-60 degree...COLD! Burrrr..... I would never make it with those temps.....I'm somewhat hesitant to say we have the heat set at 76 degrees....night and day!..... You must have next to nothing for heating bills.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:05PM
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Actually our last 2 months heating bills were over $400 (one actually tipped $500). And we're on propane for most everything with a bill over $1000 for 6 months of fuel. THAT's why we set it at 62*....


    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 11:31PM
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My house was built in the 20's, and it still pops. I keep the furnace around 58 at night. It makes the most noise in the morning when everyone first comes down the stairs. Everything shifts, pops, snaps, etc.

Once I turn the furnace up and it runs through a cycle, it quiets down.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 11:58PM
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We turn the heat off (close the vents)for the winter in our bedroom and keep the bedroom window open all night. DH did complain when it was 34 one night.

We close the bedroom window during the day.

I can't imagine sleeping in a warm room. Snuggle up to DH, dogs and lots of warm blankets. Hmmmmm..paradise.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 9:04PM
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