Homes make strange noises. They’re built from many different materials — glass, concrete, wood — that expand and contract at different rates.
“[But] the most noise your house should make is a popping sound, like your knuckles cracking, and only once in a while,” said Bill Richardson, former president of the American Society of Home Inspectors and owner of Responsive Inspections in Bosque Farms, N.M.
If your home is making noises that rival the best of Metallica, then it may be sending you signals that there’s a problem. We asked the experts to catalogue some of the more worrisome pops, hisses, groans, creaks and knocks, and tell us what they mean and how they can be remedied.
Here are the top seven problem noises and how they can be solved.
1. What is that clanking sound when I turn on the heat?
The problem: When most homeowners first turn on their heating system in the fall, they hear a little moaning and groaning as the heating system expands and rubs against the frame of the house, says Mike Kuhn, the New Jersey owner of HouseMaster inspection service and coauthor of “The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Home Inspections.” With a baseboard hot-water system, you can also expect “normal clinking and knocking,” says Kuhn. The circulator pump or pumps to the system, however, “should be silent when they run,” says Kuhn. If you hear knocking or clanking, typically located at the boiler itself, it might be a sign of impending failure of the circulator pump, he says.
The solution: Get a repairman out to check on it, pronto.
2. There’s a strange scratching sound coming from behind the walls.
The problem: If you hear strange noises like scratching and possibly chittering coming from places where no one lives in the house, you could have mice, squirrels, raccoons or even bats sharing your quarters, says Richardson. “Any kind of wild critter could be up in the attic,” he says. And these freeloaders aren’t just a nuisance; bats can carry deadly rabies. In the Southwest, the droppings of mice can spread hantavirus. Some animals will tear up insulation to nest or chew through siding and even electrical wires, causing fires.
The solution: As soon as you suspect an intruder, get on it: Set traps. (Call in a pro if the animal is stubborn or large.) Finally, prevent the problem from reoccurring by sealing up the entrances to your house with steel wool, metal sheeting, caulk and/or hardware cloth.
To keep raccoons away, put garbage in sealed, secure metal cans that can’t be tipped. Bring pet food inside. After pests have been removed, make sure vents and chimneys are securely covered with mesh or a grille, so those spaces can still breathe.
3. There’s no one in the house and I can still hear running water. How can that be?
The problem: “You definitely don’t want to hear water running if nobody’s using anything,” says Richardson. The sound could indicate many things — a busted pipe in a wall, under the floor or even in the irrigation system.
The solution: If you hear running water when you shouldn’t, shut the main off and see if the noise goes away, says Richardson. If it does, you’ve got a leak somewhere — and a problem in need of fixing. Unless you’re really handy and ready to do surgery on your home, call in a plumber.
4. I hear a bubbling (or cracking) sound coming from the water heater. Is that normal?
The problem: A gas-fired hot-water heater works pretty much like boiling a pot of water: A fire is lit and the water inside is heated until it’s ready for use. “A lot of sediment builds up at the bottom of a hot water tank, and that sediment works like an insulator,” forcing the burner to work harder, Kuhn says. The strange noise you hear is the bubbling sediment — and a sign that the tank is probably experiencing fatigue and may be facing premature failure, he says.
The solution: Ideally, you should flush out your hot water tank every few months, using the drain valve near the bottom of the floor. “However, nobody does it,” says Kuhn, because it can be a pain to do. If your water heater is already making these noises, draining it might help. “It could (work) a little bit longer, [and] it could go a lot longer,” but the damage is probably done, says Kuhn.
5. My furnace is making a whistling (sucking) sound that it’s never made before. Is it going to need to be replaced?
The problem: “What that can connote is that your filter hasn’t been changed,” says Richardson. “And your furnace is trying to pull in air from around it.” That’s not good, he explains, because it means the furnace is working too hard. “What it will do is start sucking exhaust gasses from the furnace into the house.”
The solution: Install clean filters regularly — “anywhere from three months to monthly, depending on atmospheric conditions,” says Richardson.
A one-bedroom at 33 Riverside Drive listed at $900,000 Nearly half of the Manhattan properties sold during the third quarter traded at or above their listed price, and at the highest level in six years, according to Douglas Elliman’s quarterly report released Wednesday. Despite a 27.6 percent uptick in inventory during the quarter, the report found that nearly half of sales closed for the asking price or more. “The implication is that… inventory is still falling short of what the market needs,” said Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report. Overall, the number of listings during the third quarter is still 18 percent lower than the 10-year average. But the condo market saw a 52.5 percent increase in listings, with resale inventory rising by about a quarter (to 1,578 listings from 1,258) and new development inventory doubling (to 1,409 listings from 701). But even with more product on the market, the number of sales during the third quarter dropped 13.3 percent year over year. Miller pointed out, however, that the number of sales has hovered around 3,300 for the past four quarters, which is 29 percent higher than the 10-year average. “There’s still unusually heavy volume,” he said, citing continued momentum in the market related to the release of pent-up demand in 2013.
The prolonged flat, stable period of mortgage rates came to an end this week as rates on the more popular types of mortgages surged, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.
Fixed mortgage rates’ biggest one-week gain this year pushed them to their highest level since early May.
Rates were climbing even before the Federal Reserve’s announcement Wednesday about its plans to wind down its trillion-dollar stimulus program.
The 30-year fixed-rate average spiked to 4.23 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 4.12 percent a week ago and 4.5 percent a year ago. For the past 12 weeks, the 30-year fixed rate had drifted between 4.1 percent and 4.14 percent. This is the highest it has been since it was 4.29 percent on May 1.
The 15-year fixed-rate average jumped to 3.37 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.26 percent a week ago and 3.54 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate had floated between 3.27 percent and 3.22 percent for the past 12 weeks. This is the highest it has been since it was 3.38 percent on May 1.
Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average rose to 3.06 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.99 percent a week ago and 3.11 percent a year ago. This is the first time in six weeks the five-year ARM has risen above 3 percent.
The one-year ARM average fell to 2.43 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.45 percent a week ago.
“Fixed-rate mortgage rates rose this week following the increase in 10-year Treasury yields being partially fueled by market speculation the Federal Reserve might change its interest rate guidance,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.
Location: Clarks Summit, Penn.
The Skinny: To take the rapturous brokerbabble for this home at face-value would be to believe that this mansion is no less than a nexus of mysteries, a magical place where the mystical traditions of the world’s cultures collide in a supernova of positive vibes and quasi-religious transport rarely seen outside of a William Blake poem or a freshman English major’s well-thumbed composition book o’ poems. Maybe upon entering the place it really does feel like you’re “embarking on a journey,” “floating on a cloud,” or discovering “little pieces of heaven everywhere,” but this kind of runaway prose feels more like copy for a Marin County Reiki retreat than a description of a house, no matter how many statues of Buddha it possesses. The $9.995M manse has plenty of space for exploring your inner space, with 16,000 square feet of “harmonious environment,” including a meditation room, a spa “carved basically out of the earth” and, incongruously, an offer of a $50k bonus to the broker who brings in an accepted offer. Namaste!
Mortgage applications increased 2.8% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 22, 2014.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 2% compared with the previous week.
The Refinance Index increased 3% from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3% from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 1% compared with the previous week and was 11% lower than the same week one year ago.
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 56% of total applications, the highest level since March 2014, from 55% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity remained unchanged at 8.0% of total applications.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 4.28% from 4.29%, with points decreasing to 0.25 from 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.
Location: Houston, Texas
The Skinny: Leave it to an eccentric, high-living Italian baron—who also happened to be heir to the Texas-sized oil fortune of wildcatter extraordinaire Hugh Cullen—to dream up something as fantastically and wonderfully tasteless as this gargantuan mansion/natatorium in the River Oaks district of (where else?) Houston, Texas. The chewy nougat center of this black gold-fueled confection is the 12,000-square-foot mall food court with a swimming pool drilled into its marble floors, around which the rest of the house orbits, trapped in the kind of gravitational pull that only a dense concentration of pure awful can generate. What makes the home truly remarkable is its embodiment of the spirit of the man who built it, the Baron Enrico di Portanova.
The late baron exploits, as documented in his Times obituary, are legend: he was a philosopher who once said that the best things in life are “sun, sex and spaghetti,” an international jet-setter who traveled the world in his very own Lear jet (which he called his “taxi”), and a loving husband who once tried to buy his wife a share in the “21” Club, and when rebuffed enclosed the garden of his home in glass, giving birth to the swimming and entertainment center we see before us today. After di Portanova’s death in 2000, the mansion passed into the hands of the current owners, who are asking $18.9M.
Continuing the long-term trend this year, mortgage applications decreased 2.2% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 25, 2014.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 2% compared with the previous week.
“Despite mortgage backed security issuance being up 38 percent from the first quarter average, the MBA index continues to show declines. This suggests that there are fundamental shifts occurring in the market where big players (reporting to the MBA) may be giving up market share or perhaps not holding as many loans in portfolio, thereby pushing up the bond issuance,” said Quicken Loans Vice President Bill Banfield. “In either case, the current level of activity for purchases and refinances has been directional stronger in recent months based on actual security issuance. With home prices stabilizing from a rapid level of appreciation and interest rates either falling or holding steady recently, I expect to see continued improvements in the purchase arena.”
Two decades ago, Dobbs Ferry, then a working-class village in southern Westchester along the Hudson River, was considered by many the poor stepsister of its immediate neighbors — artsy Hastings-on-Hudson on its southern border and upscale Irvington to the north.
While Hastings and Irvington attracted well-heeled buyers from Manhattan and the tonier sections of Brooklyn, Dobbs Ferry, about 20 miles north of New York City, was often overlooked. Its housing stock was limited, and its school system lower-performing than those of its neighbors.
The village’s image has since changed. The turning point came in 1998, when the Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District became the first in Westchester to join the International Baccalaureate organization, based in Geneva — prompting home buyers to take a fresh look at the virtues of the 2.4-square-mile village of 11,000 residents. The Baccalaureate group offers junior and senior high school students a two-year, preuniversity course of study.
“The change in the high school program was what drove the engine,” said Linda Jo Platt, who moved from Manhattan to Dobbs Ferry with her husband, Bruce Platt, in the 1970s. “A lot has happened for the better in Dobbs Ferry,” said Ms. Platt, the director of the Community Nursery School, which is owned by South Presbyterian Church in the village. Mr. Platt is a systems analyst for a data firm in Manhattan.
|Grand Opening Celebration of New Rochelle Farmers Market Tomorrow;
SALE: Fresh Mussels from American Pride Seafood;
Making Berry Love Last + MORE
June 26th-July 2nd, 2014
Click on a Market to see all vendor and event details…
Susan Chasen from the Organic Teaching Kitchen will be at the Croton-on-Hudson farmers market this Sunday from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, creating a seasonal raw kale salad for all to sample. Pick up a recipe to try at home and learn more about organic eating.
New Rochelle – Tomorrow – Grand Opening at 10:30 am
It is time to cut the ribbon and celebrate the 2014 season of New Rochelle’s Down to Earth Farmers Market! On Friday, June 27th, help us welcome several community leaders and market supporters, including State Senator George Latimer and Mayor Noam Bramson. The market now has an expanded selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, pasture-raised meats, local honey, and baked goods. We’re located on North Avenue, at Huguenot Park, in front of New Rochelle High School. See you there every Friday, through November 21st, from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.
RyeCalling all kids! The Rye Free Reading Room will be hosting an ‘Eating Green with Granny Jean’ Storytelling event at the market on Sunday from 11:30 am to noon. Join storyteller Granny Jean as she reads stories and shares activities to inspire curiosity about healthy foods.
For additional events, visit our Down to Earth Markets Event Calendar.
|Berries, Let’s Make this Love Last|
|Rotating* Vendors This Week
*Vendors who rotate through various markets during the season.
They enjoy getting to know many communities, and here’s where to find them this week:
New Rochelle e-Desserts (Freshly baked scones, cakes, and more!)
Ossining Hudson River Apiaries
Nana’s Home Kitchen
Piermont Kontoulis Family Olive Oil
Tuthilltown Spirits Farm Distillery
Kontoulis Family Olive Oil
Down to Earth Markets 173 Main Street Ossining, NY 10562 Phone: 914-923-4837