Sometimes Houses Make Funny Noises

Houses sometimes make funny noises in extremely cold weather. In extreme cold wooden members can swell, shrink, twist or creak. Sidings made of steel, aluminum and other material will buckle, bend and pop. Screws, but especially rusty nails, will back out of their respective holes. No, the house isn’t haunted – anything, any material at all, even stone or metal, that contains a modicum of moisture, will shrink, swell or distort in extreme temperatures.

From time to time a plume of ice can form on or in the house stack vent. A sink trap or toilet trap, the water-filled bend in the drain, is intended to prevent the build-up of noxious and explosive sewer gas in the house. The stack vent is there, not just to vent any odorous gases but also to equalize air pressure within the plumbing system.

An ice plume growing on a house stack vent

An ice plume growing on a house stack vent

If the stack vent ices up or gets plugged up completely and you flush a toilet or empty a sink, the sudden gulp of water down the pipe creates a vacuum in the system that sucks the water out of the other traps and sets them to draining, gurgling, bubbling and belching; a very strange, unexpected and funny noise.

There are cures for the problem of a plugged stack vent, the easiest of course is waiting for a spring thaw.

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About The Twentieth Man

Age 66
This entry was posted in Humor, Noise, Observations, Short Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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