Wednesday, March 05, 2014

When your house goes "Snap, Crackle and Pop"

Over the last few days we've had some pretty cold weather in Edmonton. I don't think it's unseasonably cold but after plus temperatures in January, we're all surprised by winter's return.

The other night I was sitting by the fireplace when a loud cracking boom came from the wall beside me.  I got up and looked out the windows and suspiciously at the wall. It happened about 4 other times that night. When the roof didn't cave in I realized it was some kind of settling in the house and Googled the phenomena.  This is what I found:

"Ottawa Police received numerous calls reporting gunshots, noise bylaw violations and feared break-and-enters when the thermometre dropped drastically in late January. While most of these were false alarms, many residents were awakened by noises of unknown origin. The source may have been the very enclosure that protected the residents; their houses were quaking.

In extreme cold weather conditions we can learn rudimentary lessons in physics. Materials that make up our buildings change with their environment. In the winter, all exposed materials will slowly shrink as the temperature falls. In addition, fibrous or porous materials, such as wood, will also give up moisture to the surrounding dry winter air, accentuating their shrinking or contraction. In the spring, as the environment warms and the air gains moisture, wood will gradually swell and expand to its “normal” size and proportions." 

Get the final answer at Carlton Now


4 comments:

Jerry - Calgary Properties said...

Yes, things like these happen during extreme cold weather conditions. The cold weather causes a rapid shrinking in all exposed building materials.

When parts of a building shrink rapidly, an extreme amount of stress is produced in the connections. That's why we hear those popping and creaking sounds.

dave lindahl said...

Nice post.You are provided truth one.

Paul said...

Good info

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