Things That Go Bump In The Night | Toolstation

Is your house going bump in the night?

Now we’re approaching the colder weather, this is the season to carve pumpkins, sip on your spiced latte, and settle down in the dark to a horror film that’s going to get your heart pumping. But fuelling our minds with all things spooky can cause our imaginations to run wild. Suddenly, a normal creak, crack or bump in our home makes the hairs stick up on the back of our necks and gets us thinking – is my house overrun with ghosts?

No matter the age of your home, they can make all sorts of noises. Whether it’s something to do with the structure, or your boiler and pipes needing some attention, it’s probably not a ghostbuster you need to be calling, but rather your local tradesperson.

We’ve collated some of the spooking sounds you might be hearing in your home to reassure you that it’s not the job of spirits, but potentially your home calling out for some much-needed TLC.

We’ve joined forces with a trusty trade expert to bring you what the noise could actually be, what you’d need to do to fix it (no Proton Pack required), and how much it could end up costing you. With a lot of scary noises in our home, it’s very easy to let fear get the better of us and bury our heads in the sand. That’s why our expert has also let you know how much damage it would cause if the problem was ignored – now that’s something scary.

So grab your spirit box and EMF reader and let’s debunk some ghosts!

Whispering Walls

It may sound like long, witchy fingernails scratching from the inside of your walls, but we’re here to reassure you it’s not. But the reality, for some, might just be as scary.

This type of scratching coming from within your walls at night most likely means you have a pest problem. This could mean little critters like rats or mice have found their way into your home via an opening or small hole in your foundations. This might be paired with finding small droppings around your home, teeth marks or pungent smells.

The first port of call would be to get on the phone with pest control so they can assess and help solve your problem, for an estimated cost of £90-£240.

Here’s what our trade professional, Mark from Cheshire says:

“To me, this does sound like a likely case of a rodent infestation within the walls. If this is ignored, the pests could create a nest within your walls and start chewing through important wires. This could cause more serious problems and raise the cost to fix as you’d have to call out an electrician.”

Whistling Window

Ghostly whistling and moaning seemingly coming from nowhere is enough to make anyone hide under the covers. But you’ll be glad to know it’s not the work of the paranormal.

This sound is most likely being caused by a draught pouring through badly fitted doors and windows, or broken seals and draught excluders. When the wind or a big draught blows through the small holes, it makes a ghostly whistling noise and might create an icy chill in your living room.

Fortunately, there’ll be no ghost in sight and resolving whistling draughts is usually an easy and cheap fix. Readily available window sealants and draught excluders can be installed straight onto your doors and windows, costing approximately £5-£10.

Here’s what our trade professional said:

“Stopping draughts is a simple fix, but if ignored it will only get worse. Plus, as well as letting the cold air in, you’re also letting the warm air out so it’s also making your home much less energy efficient.”

Disembodied Drips

Is it vampire blood? Is it gooey ectoplasm? Nope, it could actually be the beginning of a DIY disaster, especially if it’s coming from the ceiling or from your boiler.

Hearing dripping water in your home could be a multitude of things so it’s always good to investigate. Anything from a dripping tap to a busted water pipe, switching off the electrics and calling a plumber to find the source of the problem is always a good first step.

Research shows that calling in a professional and having the problem fixed could initially cost anywhere from £160-£360, but leaving the problem to worsen will only increase that cost.

Here’s what our trade professional said:

“To me this sounds like a dripping tap. The least serious problem this could be, and also the easiest to fix. The source of the dripping could be either a failed washer or a broken tap. Although a simple fix, ignoring it could lead to increased water bills due to continuous dripping. So to save money in the long run, it’s always good to tackle it straight away.”

Hair-raising Hissing from your Radiator

This may sound like a scary serpent hiding in the corner but hearing hissing in your home, especially if it’s coming from your radiator, will need your immediate attention!

A hissing radiator means you have water or air moving through the heating system. Sometimes, too much air can get trapped in a radiator and stop it from heating up in parts, or even altogether. Bleeding your radiator is the best way to fix this issue, and this can be done at home with a radiator key.

This cheap fix would only cost you between £1-£3 however, if the hissing is accompanied by banging and thumping or other louder noises, then this calls for a heating engineer to investigate further.

Here’s what our trade professional said:

“Leaving your radiator to hiss and not bleeding it can lead to other problems that are worse than your original one. Firstly, trapped air means your heating will reduce despite you having it on, wasting your money. Leaving it for long enough will cause knock-on problems to the whole of your system and you’ll eventually have to call in a plumber. This will substantially increase the cost to fix.”

Rustling in your Guttering

You’re laying in bed, trying to get to sleep, and it sounds like something or someone is scratching and dripping above your window – that’s enough for anyone to want to sleep with the light on! But it’s not all that it seems.

Noises coming from your guttering could be a range of things, but it’s most likely pests, birds or worse, a leak. Our expert tells us a leaking gutter can be put to unwanted holes in the pipes, a broken bracket or a failed seal.

This would call for a gutter servicing professional to come out and take a look, costing an estimate of £120-180 to fix. Fixing the issue straight away could save you a lot of money down the line, as our expert explains:

“Leaving the gutter to leak could mean causing further damage to the outside and the inside of your home. A continuous stream of water can cause damage to the external brickwork, and if left long enough, could eventually cause internal damp. This would cause damp patches, bubbling wallpaper and other water damage.”

Bizarre Buzzing

Could it be some cheeky poltergeist activity, or spirits trying to get in contact? Nope, not this time! If you’re hearing a buzzing in your home, especially when the lights are on, you could have an issue with your wiring.

If your light fixtures are making a buzzing sound, this could be a number of issues ranging in severity. From a loose connection coming from the outlet or fixture, or a failed switch as our expert suggests, the first step would always be to switch off the power and call an electrician.

As the problem ranges in severity, so does the price to fix it. A new lightbulb or switch could cost an estimated £5-£20, and calling in a professional to help replace provided fixtures could cost an estimated £35-£55. But this is a minimal cost compared to the damage it could cause if the problem was ignored.

Here’s what our trade professional said:

“Dodgy fixtures and wiring should never be ignored and always checked. If left, you run the risk of blowing a fuse and losing your electricity or worse, starting an electrical fire.”

Peculiar Popping

Is that the sound of ghostly spirits teleporting from one room to another? It’s more likely your boiler that’s demonstrating some strange activity.

This could either be low water pressure or, more seriously, kettling. This is when the heat exchanged overheats and produces steam bubbles. When the bubbles move to a colder area, they make this bubbling sound. If it is the latter, this would require calling in a heating professional.

Kettling repair can cost an estimate of £75-£300, but if it’s simply just low water pressure, our expert explained what to do:

“If you do hear a peculiar sound coming from your boiler, it’s always good to call a professional either way just to double-check. Low pressure in your boiler usually just requires topping up.”

Creaky Floorboards

Creaky floorboards – a quintessential haunted house sound that is bound to make anyone’s blood run cold. But don’t fear, this problem can be debunked!

Temperature changes in the home can cause wood to expand and boards to rub against each other. This is what can cause ghostly creaking without anybody there. If there is some creaking going on whilst you walk around your home though, our expert explains that this can be put down to something else.

Here’s what our trade professional said:

“This sounds to me like a floorboard that has been incorrectly fastened. This just requires going in and refastening it – a very quick and simple job! The only thing that will come of leaving this is it becoming more and more annoying!”

Ghosts and ghoulies might not be to blame for the spooky noises going on in your home, but the real reason behind them could end up being just as scary! To avoid any disasters, make sure you’re actively tackling strange noises or something that doesn’t seem quite right in your home – whether that means calling out a trusty tradesperson or tackling it on your own. If you’re in need of equipment to ensure you’re prepared to tackle any issue that comes your way, be sure to check out our extensive range of hand tools and power tools.


Desk research was conducted to find the most common noises in the home that indicate an underlying issue. Toolstation then found sounds that replicate these common noises. Additional desk research and commentary from a trade professional has been used to provide guidance on how these potential issues from around the home can be fixed, as well as an estimate of costs and what might occur if the issue was leftover time.

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