Troubling Household Sounds Only You Can Recognize

Troubling Household Sounds Only You Can Recognize

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Dabney Frake
Oct 6, 2014
(Image credit: Lizzie Ford)

Once you know (and I mean really know) your own home, there are certain sounds that are imprinted on your mind. Like fingerprints, no two are alike, and — whether you realize it or not — they become a constant part of your days and nights. Any variation from the norm, and your antenna goes up, and you become as hyper aware and worried as a young starlet doing a morning walk of shame with paparazzi on her heels. Learn to trust your instincts, listen for the warning signs, and nip problems in the bud before they escalate.

Consider these sounds the universe’s way of telling you to sit up and take notice.

  • Strange Running Water: You know it’s not the regular sound of the toilet flushing, but something else entirely. It might be the washing machine that disconnected from the wall, or maybe the water heater just busted. It might just be a trickle, but you know it’s just not right. You coil in anticipation, straining to pinpoint the location of the noise. All so you can spring into action and shut it down before things go really, really wrong.
  • Your Pet is in Pre-Vomit Mode: My sister-in-law can wake up from a dead sleep at 3am, sit up straight in bed, and still make it across the room in time to whisk her dog off the carpet and corral her into the bathroom before the puking actually begins. Getting to them in time — while they are still rhythmically arching their backs and making alien heaving noises — means easier clean up. Those little warning noises are crucial.
  • Kids Too Quiet: I’m not a parent, but I’ve heard this is real. You’re used to your kids running around, getting into things, asking questions, and fighting with each other. What happens when you realize you haven’t heard a peep in 20 minutes? It might be time to check and see if they are reading quietly in their rooms, or if they are plotting a coup against you.
  • Beeping Smoke Detector: Okay, anyone with ears can hear this one, but let’s just take a moment to commiserate about the particular brand of hell that is the chirping of those innocuous looking white discs on the ceiling.
  • When the Air Filter Needs Changing: There’s no other way to describe this noise in my household. But when the filter needs to be changed, it sounds like someone with asthma is hiding in the vent and can’t get their breathing under control. The minute we change the filter, it’s gone. As someone who has a really hard time remembering to do this particular chore, I’m thankful for it.
  • Refrigerator Running: The humming sound your fridge makes is a constant, and a part of the backdrop of your life. It’s like a white noise machine that comforts and soothes you throughout the day. If one day you start to notice a slightly higher pitch to the hum, or god forbid there’s a faint hint of a rattle, then it might be time to call for a repair, or save for a new fridge entirely.
What household sounds make you perk up and pay close and immediate attention?
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