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Question DetailsAsked on 6/23/2017

i was in my old house about 100 years old and i heard an extremely loud gunshot noise and the sound of dust falling

i thought someone shot the house but it happened twice and both times i heard dust falling what could this be from.
( about now i think it is paranormal)

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3 Answers


Of course look around and make sure you do not have bullet or shotgun blast holes in the house.

First thought would be furnace/boiler explosion because the burner is not igniting immediately - check for evidence of dust or soot blowout under it, or fresh pile of rust under it. Or a gas leak which them explodes when it reaches an ignition source.

Otherwise, could be a structural frame problem - rotten or insect eaten framing failing, roof framing failure, foundation (perimeter or intermediate supporting piers and posts) failing or sinking causing framing cracking or failure, etc.

Less common but happens in some areas - sinkhole forming under home causing settlement and failure, or expansive soils causing foundation failure.

Depending on how long yuou have been in the house (to learn its normal sounds) if when furnace/AC turns on or shortly after it turns off, could be thermal expansion/contraction of the ducting, with the dust falling sounds being dust knocked loose in the ducts. Can sound a lot like a gunshot or someone hitting a metal drum hard with a hammer - a metallic clang, whang, or sometimes a duller thump.

If you can't inspect yourself or can't get into attic or such, then a Heating and A/C contractor would be the normal vendor to inspect your HVAC equipment - for function, and also for any gas leaks. Structural Engineer for structural inspection. Or as an initial visual inspection you could call a Home Inspector (for probably about the price of an HVAC technician visit) to eyeball the house and look in the attic and such for obvious causes - though whether he finds nothing or something you would still need either both the above, or one or the other if he finds something specific, to assess it and come up with a remedy.

For the possibility of a gas leak, I would call your gas company and ask them to send a man out with a gas sniffer to inspect for possible gas leak - though if that is the cause if you sniff around in all areas you would probably smell gas odor.

Depending on how concerned you are, you could call the non-emergency number for your fire department and ask if they will come out and look around for you - commonly (especially for disabled or elderly people who cannot do so themselves) they will do a once-over for obvious signs of structural failure or appliance explosions - usually no charge but in some areas all callouts have a $100-500 charge so you might ask first.

If the noise is that loud I would definitely get it looked at ASAP - that would not be normally be indicative of a minor situation.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


I may have missed something with my prior response - I assumed you KNEW the sound orginated in your house.

If there is a chance it was a sonic boom or construction blasting or earthquake or such, ask around amongst a few neighbors who would have been home at that time to see if they had similar effects - if they reported similar loud sounds and house jumnp or bump, may have been from an outisde influence.

To check on quakes got to the website and click on the recent earthquake link, then zero in on your area or state for recent quakes. What you describe would probably have been about a magnitude 4-4.5 if close by (within 10-20 miles or so), or would have to have been stronger if further away.

You could also call the on-emergency police number (if this was real recent) and ask if there had been complaints about kids setting off cherry bombs or M80's or similar high-power fireworks at people's houses.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


An afterthought - if you heard dust falling think where the sounds was from - could have been accumulated dust in the attic falling through floorboards (uninsulated attic floor only), or more likely sand and grit under the carpet falling through plank subflooring - which might mean checking out the framing in the attic or in the floor where you heard the sound, respectively, might be in order.

Commonly that sort of sound is "adjusting" or failing joists/trusses - in the attic, or floor joists adjusting to load because of loss of support from intermediate post and pier supports or intermediate support beam down the length of the house in the basement or crawlspace.

Also, older homes (yours included in that category) sometimes just were not built as hefty as they shouldhave been, or the foundation didnot go as deep as it should have, so you get settlement over time which causes cracking of framing. Grantaed over the long run it can get to the point of being excessive or rarely actually fail, but wood frame houses are awfully tolerant of movement and load transfer, so can make a lot of "haunted house" noises without actually "failing" anywhere.

Of course, if you see newly sloping floors, diagonal cracks in walls or major (more than hairline or over about 1/16 to 1/8" open) cracks in walls or foundation, cracked framing or beams, newly jamming windows and doors, cracking in exterior walls, significant or pattern cracking in the ground around the house, etc then that is an indication of something that should be looked at - but wood house commonly give out those noises (though rarely "gunshot" loud) a few times a year and still last hundreds of years.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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