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Cures for the Creaky House

Those aren't ghosts making a racket in your home—it's just normal wear and tear taking its toll. Check out these remedies for common noises.

What's That Noise?

Illustration by Edwin Fotheringham

If you jump awake at every little late-night squeak, pop, and knock, don't call in a ghost hunter. Your house just needs a little TLC. Check out these five common noises and the best way to silence the sounds for good.

Gurgling Radiator

This problem typically arises when the heater isn't pitched correctly.

The Fix

If you have a one-pipe radiator, place shims under the legs to move steam toward the pipe. If you have a two-pipe system, place the shims so that steam moves toward the steam trap.

Watch TOH plumbing and heating expert RIchard Trethewey show How to Maintain a Steam Radiator.

Rattling Pipes

Photo by istockphoto.com/NSJ Images

If they're not secured properly, exposed water pipes can clang against floor joists.

The Fix

To quiet them, wrap the pipes in foam insulation or rubber tubing cut from an old garden hose, then secure them to the joists every 4 feet with nail-on metal pipe straps.

See more on Silencing Noisy Pipes.

Noisy Hinge

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Don't just spritz it with WD-40.

The Fix

Remove the hinge pin and coat it and the tip of the pin slot with a thick lubricant, such as petroleum jelly or marine grease. Then replace the pin, sliding it up and down to work the lubricant along the length of the hinge.

Learn how to Secure a Loose Hinge.

Squeaky Stair

Photo by Russell Kaye

Treads often work loose from their stringers.

The Fix

To tighten them down, drill two starter holes into the tread and stringer at opposite 45-degree angles. Drive 8d or 10d finish nails into each hole to secure the tread to the stringer. Cover the holes with wood putty.

Find out more tactics for Silencing Squeaky Floors.

Noisy Furnace

Photo by Katherine Slingluff

Cold metal furnace ducts rattle and whistle when hot air rushes through.

The Fix

Cushion the ducts against wood framing with rubber pads. Also, check that there's nothing blocking the air register at the return, causing pressure problems.