Ask the energy advisor

It’s a g-g-g-ghost!

Posted on Mar 05 2020 in LaGrange County REMC
Enerty Advisor

I love the imagination of a child. 

Recently I listened to a conversation between two kids about the noises they heard in their home and the applied logic they used to deduce the residence of a ghost. Once I stopped laughing and could focus on their stories, I began to piece together, in my mind, the mechanics of their homes and what was taking place. 

My very own ghost hunt.

The first part of the story consisted of a groaning sound taking place very early in the morning, before the sun comes up. 

My first thought was one of two things: the sound was coming from either the water softener or the furnace. 

Softeners are usually scheduled to operate in the very early hours of the morning when everyone is asleep. They often make noises that sound like groaning. 

Furnaces are often on a programable thermostat, which would cycle on just before the household starts to get ready in the morning. And, if they have an air source heat pump, they sometimes run a defrost cycle that can also sound like groaning. 

The second part of the conversation was centered around weird clicking or popping sounds. The easiest explanation? The heating system. 

Many systems operate less frequently at night, allowing the metal in the duct system to cool to the same temperature as the rooms. When the heating system cycles on, the air handler forces hot air (around 110 F) through 60-70 F ducts. As the metal heats up, it has to expand quickly. That means the metal has to move against its restraints which makes clicking or popping sounds. 

It’s amazing how a child can pick up on the little things that, as adults, we lose track of.  

If you have any sounds or other issues with your home that you may need help diagnosing, please give me a call. I would love to help.