45 Home Mysteries Explained


The 45 home mysteries on this list will help homeowners understand more about their homes. It will make fixing said mysteries a little easier. 

Windows that won’t close entirely

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You lose a lot of heat with open windows and let unwanted heat in, but when your window doesn’t close properly it’s hard to avoid. Check the track for any dust, grit, or other obstructions, or look into getting a new window if the frame is warped due to age or other factors. 

Doors that open or close on their own

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Bend the hinge pin just a little. Yep, it’s that simple, but it’s also a delicate process since you don’t want to compromise the action of your doors. 

Bad smell in the basement 

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This is usually due to a dry pipe. Toss a pitcher or more of water down the trap, along with a small amount of oil to keep it from evaporating so quickly. 

One really cold room


There are several ways to fix this kind of issue. One good idea is to make sure that any heat registers are open, and unblocked, and that the furnace filter is clean. 

Wobbly washer

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This is an easy fix, though you could use a helper just in case. Level the washing machine using a level and keep it from wobbling and moving about by placing something firm and stable under the washer to maintain its stability. 

Dryer not working properly


Your timer is likely broken. While the replacement isn’t cheap, it’s still less expensive than a new dryer. 

Dishwasher not working correctly


You’ll need to pull out the manual and take a look. It could be the temperature, or it could be that you’re not using the right detergent. Typically this is an easy fix. 

Loud fireplace


A lot of modern fireplaces use a blower that can get dusty or worn out eventually. If you can clean it then you’ll save a lot of money, but otherwise, it could be time to replace it. 

Carpet indents

When something has been sitting for a while in one location it’s going to make dents in the carpet. Once it’s moved though, there are a few ways to coax the carpet back into its regular state. 

Noisy fridge


This kind of depends on whether it’s the compressor or the fan. The fan is an easy fix since it requires a new part that’s not hard to install. But if it’s the compressor it’s time to look for a new fridge. 

Vent hood damper


The wind can cause a lot of things to open and shut in an annoying manner. But if you want to fix this it’s easy enough and cost-effective since it cuts down on the effect the wind can have. 

Whistling window

This is typically caused by a loose or deteriorating seal on your window. Run a line of caulking along the edges to see if this fixes the issue. 

Annoyingly loud bathroom fan

Quite often this is due to the age of the fan, since the older they are, the less air they’re moving and the more worn-out they are. If you know how to replace it then this is an easy fix. 

Gurgling water heater

This is typically caused by the buildup of sediment in your water heater. When draining it just remember to toss the runoff outside, since you don’t want to clog your pipes. 

Ceiling fan chain 

Ceiling fans are nice in the summer and when you need added airflow. But that chain does get a little noisy. Slide a thin plastic tube around it and you’re good to go. 

Fixing rattling doors


Too much space between the door and the door stop can cause an annoying rattle. By moving the door stop this issue is easy to fix. 

Squeaking hinges


Hinges usually start to squeak and squeal when there’s dust or rust in their parts. Lube the hinge, check for rust on the pin, and keep it well-oiled to keep it from squawking. 

Clattering soffits


Sometimes soffits are cut a little too short and develop a tendency to rattle. Picking up a package of screen spline to help the soffit fit as it needs to will help in a big way. 

Dripping gutters


As long as you can find a rope that doesn’t clog your drain opening, attaching a rope to a gutter hanger can help this issue. The water will cling to the rope and won’t drip nearly as much. 

Rumbling garage door


Garage doors are noisy, most people know that. But there are a couple of options, such as installing anti-vibration pads or switching from metal rollers to nylon ones. 

Dripping sump pump


It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it is a little annoying. A quick fix for this is to tie a string from the drain tile and extend it into the basin. The water will follow the string and stop dripping so noisily. 

Floors and stairs that creak


Unless your floor is open from the bottom it’s best to call a professional. More likely than not they’ll be able to make quick work of this by using shims or another simple process to stop your floors or stairs from squeaking. 

Ducts that pop


When the air pressure changes you’re bound to hear a popping noise. If you take a screwdriver and score an X in the metal it will help, though it might require you to do this a few times. 

Duct grille whistle


This can happen when the vents start to warp or are bent somehow. Using a hinge to bend them back will help with the noise, and bending them all back to true will make the noise stop for the most part. 

Noisy pipes


Pipes tend to contract and expand depending on their temperature. The solution for this is to pad the hangers with felt or some other type of fabric to dampen the noise. 

Pipes sticking out of the ground


If you happen to live in a home that was built before the 1970s there’s a good chance that you have a couple of pipes sticking up somewhere on your property. Those are attached to old fuel tanks that were standard at one time. If you can afford to get them removed then more power to you, but otherwise you might need to live with it. 

Chattering exhaust vents


This is hard to get around since unless one wants to use magnets or small plastic pieces attached with silicone, there isn’t a lot that can be done. But if you can use these materials to help lessen the chatter then you’ll be better off. 

Random toilets


It hardly ever looks like they belong where they’ve been sat. But at one point in time this was quite normal, so finding a random toilet in your basement isn’t that much of a mystery. 

Bubbling toilets


Unfortunately, this is one problem that might require a professional. If the lines can be snaked out and fixed then hooray, otherwise it’s time to open up the checkbook. 

Unbalanced toilet


You shouldn’t ignore anything on this list, but seeing as how this is an easy fix, you should take steps to fix a rocking toilet whenever you notice it. A few plastic shims in the right spots will help immensely, and it will preserve the wax ring that the toilet rests on. 

Sweating toilet


This has more to do with the type of tank you have, what environment you live in, and whether or not you have AC. When a toilet starts to sweat it’s a good idea to take note and fix this if you can. 

Razor holes in the wall


It’s one of the odder home mysteries on the list, but decades ago this was fairly common. You can just imagine what a metal detector would pick up in some homes that still have this. 

Toilet isn’t flushing right


Strangely enough, plumbers do forget to take off the cap that they use when testing a toilet. If this is the case all one needs to do is pry the cap off and your toilet should start working properly shortly after. 

Toilet flushes too slowly


You might have mineral deposits in the drainage holes at the front of your toilet. It happens, but it’s an easy fix with a mirror and a coat hanger, and you don’t even need to get your hands dirty. 

Oven temperature isn’t working


There’s a reason that appliances come with manuals. If your oven’s temperature is off then take a look at the manual and recalibrate it the best you can. Should the problem persist then a call to a technician could help. 

Leaking washing machine


Typically you’ll want to look at the hoses and fittings first. If that’s not it, then check the seal and other areas around the main tub. 

Washer won’t cycle


Washers and dryers remain some of the most confounding home mysteries that still confuse people. You could unplug your machine and then plug it back in to see if this helps. But typically it’s best to call a repairman or take a look at your manual to see what’s recommended. 

Leaky plumbing


Sometimes it’s tough to find where something is leaking, but if you find puddles or wet spots it’s important to take the time to find the source. Otherwise, this can cause massive damage to your sub-flooring and cost a great deal to fix. 

Smelly furnace


Depending on what the smell is like meaning burning plastic, mold, dust, etc., you need to contact someone who’s trained in dealing with these issues. There are instances when you can tackle this yourself, but if the smell isn’t alleviated by a quick cleaning fix then it’s time to pick up the phone and call. 

Funky-smelling washing machine


If you’ve opened your washing machine and been confronted with a rank odor of rot then you might need to clean it out more often. Keep in mind, this thing uses a lot of water, and when it’s not allowed to dry correctly, meaning keeping the door open, it can become a haven for bacteria and fungus. 

Leaking roof


One of the more damaging home mysteries deals with one of the parts of your home that needs to remain sound. It’s easy to state that if you have any roofing experience you know what to do when something starts leaking. However, unless it’s an easy fix, it’s time to call the professionals. 

Bathroom mold


For one thing, your bathroom needs airflow. You might need a new ceiling fan, a bigger window, or a remodel. It’s wise to consult an expert in this matter. This and many other home mysteries are easily solved if you pay close attention to a more experienced individual.

Ant invasion


This does depend on where you live and what kind of measures you take. One of the greatest home mysteries is why ants appear in great numbers one time but are scarce at any other time. There are plenty of ant traps out there that do work, but it pays to be diligent in this case and pay attention to what’s drawing them. 

Flooding front/back yard 


As home mysteries go this one plagues a lot of people. There are a lot of ways to keep your yard from flooding from sump pumps to French drains. Typically, depending on where one lives, there are at least a few options that are favored for the environment. 

Dryer isn’t drying your clothes


Out of all the home mysteries on this list, this is one of the most annoying. If you’re mechanically inclined then this could be very simple. Pull the element, check everything possible, and if a part needs replacing, then replace it. If not, then seek a professional or the manual. 



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