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Over the years I have been asked to look at a lot of properties where the home owner has thought they had strange noises, or indeed ghostly goings-on. Here is what they turned out to be:

Someone scratching at the floor – this turned out to be central heating pipes that were not correctly sleeved.

Someone knocking in the night – this turned out to be a TV aerial that wasn’t correctly fixed to the chimneystack and when the wind blew it vibrated and made quite a loud knocking noise because it amplified on the inside.

A strange smell – this turned out to be a defective night storage heater which was quickly identified because we recognised the strange odour as being a burning socket – a quick inspection by touching all the sockets of the house we realised which one was the hottest and at fault.

Someone playing a trumpet – this turned out to be water hammer. When the toilet was flushed or the taps switched off the pipework vibrated at a high frequency and it did actually sound like a high-pitched trumpet being played – a very interesting one, yet a common fault.

People hearing voices – this is by far one of the most common problems that we find in houses now, and it occurs more in modern houses than older ones. Usually it is due to sound transmission, particularly in blocks of flats where the walls are constructed in a particular way that allows sound to channel through them. We have visited many properties, houses and flats, where you can quite clearly hear what the people next door are saying. Sometimes it proves rather interesting, not just when they are arguing.

Buildings are complicated items made out of thousands of components. It is all created by human effort, so there are bound to be things that go wrong. Remember, it pays to pay a professional and have a survey to look at your property whether it is new or old.