5 Home Maintenance Ghost-Busting Tips

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Written by Guest | Last Updated October 31st, 2019
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Pumpkins, mums, and cobwebs lining front steps of apartment

Guest Post by Cristina Miguelez

Spooks and trolls are on everyone's mind at this time of year. So much so, that you may even find yourself wondering if your home is haunted. Many homes definitely develop or take on a few "ghosts" over time, but they aren't always the spooky kind.

Before you call an exorcist, you may want to try to figure out if there's another, more logical solution to the problem. Below are some of the most common "ghosts" that a home can be haunted by, as well as how to get rid of them.

Mysterious stains

If you have a stain that shows up on your ceiling or wall no matter how many times you paint over it, you may be tempted to think it's exoplasm. But these kinds of stains are actually more likely to be caused by minerals, such as iron, and not a spirit's essence.

The next time you paint the room, consider putting a coat of primer specifically designed to cover these stains first. Primers like Kilz can be used to hide stains so they don't keep bleeding through the paint. Then, you can put your favorite color up, and know that the stain is gone for good.

Things that go bump in the night

Loud banging or knocking sounds, especially at night can be frightening. But if you live in an older home, it's probably not a poltergeist. Most often, older homes, particularly those with radiators, may get air trapped in the water pipes. This air moving around bends tends to produce a knocking or a banging sound, and when the rest of the house is quiet, they tend to sound a lot louder.

To stop the banging, you need to find the nearest valve, often at a radiator, and open it a bit. This will bleed off the air, and quiet down the pipes.

Brown hardwood floor under a red brick wall

Moaning floors

Floors that groan loudly as you walk across them aren't protesting an untimely death; they just weren't screwed down properly. Below the flooring that you can see is a subfloor, or a foundation floor. This is most often covered with plywood before it's covered with your hardwood or laminate. If the plywood wasn't screwed down tightly, it will move up and down. The sound you hear is it pulling at the screws it does have, which sound a lot like moaning or squealing.

To stop the noise, you'll need to screw it down more firmly. Remove the surface covering, find the moving areas, and screw them down more tightly to stop the creaks.

Flapping curtains

Moving and flapping curtains and other fabrics can be very startling. They can also appear ghostly if they're accompanied by a sudden chill. But rather than a restless ghost, the most common reason why you'll notice these things is either air gaps around your windows or an open chimney flue. A strong gust of wind outside can be seeping into your home through gaps and an open chimney. You don't notice it all the time, because the gaps are likely too small to admit large amounts of air without a strong breeze.

Installing some weatherstripping and making sure your chimney flue is shut when you aren't using it will put a stop to your flapping curtains.

Light coming through window and beige curtains

Cold spots

One room feeling colder than the others isn't necessarily a sign that something terrible happened there. It's more likely to be a combination of a shut vent, an air gap, and less than adequate insulation.

If you're not noticing flapping curtains or if you've already weather-stripped, then you may want to first make sure all the heating vents are open, and next make sure the room has enough insulation, especially in the exterior walls. Just a few missing areas can be enough to produce a cold spot. Install new room insulation to ensure that every inch of it is comfortable and toasty warm.

Rest easy when the ghosts are gone

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, reports of extraordinary hauntings tend to be caused by some very ordinary things. Rid your home of these "ghosts" this Halloween and sleep easier at night knowing your home is haunt-free. 

Cristina Miguelez is a remodeling specialist at Fixr.com, a website that connects consumers with service professionals in their area and estimates the cost for remodeling projects. She writes about home improvement tips and trends to help homeowners make better remodeling decisions.

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