Please Help Me Identify this Odd Household Sound

OK…I’m not imagining this.

I spend a lot of time in my server room/den when I’m home, since I’m hiding out from Death in there. Anyhow - starting about a week ago, I started to hear a seemingly-random sound while in there, that I cannot identify.

It is a single, very short, chirp. I can hear very high frequencies, and comparing it to my sound generator it is at least 12-14 kHz. Its duration is about 1/20 a second or so.

It is a single, rarely double, chirp. And then it will go an hour or two and happen again - it seems to be random.

Now, here are some facts:

  1. I spend a lot of time in this room, and have for a year. It only started last week.

  2. It is very noticeable, but does not sound like the house settling.

  3. It seems to be coming from the ceiling, but I can see nothing there.

Now, some possible options I have thought of are:

  1. Insect - some insect come in from the Summer heat. Do roaches make a sound like that? Do termites? I cannot find any information to tell me.

  2. Animal - it is possible that an animal has got into the attic, but it sounds like no animal sound I’ve ever heard.

  3. Death has found me, and will take me, much to the pleasure of many, in a day or so. I guess I should plan my investment strategy accordingly?

Any ideas? “1” sounds most logical, but I don’t know…

I’m thinking that this is a smoke detector. Depending on the model, when their batteries start to get low, they start chirping. I’ve seen others that do a sort of self-test that also invlolves activating the audio alarm briefly. Since you said that it comes from the ceiling, and smoke detectors are generally “up”, that’s my bet.

Do you have kids? Do they have any of those pocket electronic games? This happened to me once. One of my son’s games was chirping. It took me about an hour to find the stupid thing.

House fairy in distress.

The smoke detector possibility sounds pretty good to me.

Could be a cricket, too, Peggy Sue.

Does your house have a belfrey? Sometimes bats get in there…

I’ll go with smoke detector on low battery too. We had a friend housesit for us a couple of years ago and this drove him crazy for a fortnight since the detector was behind a curtain.

Nope - I definitely know the sound of both the smoke and the CO detectors batteries chirping. This one is in a room with no detectors, and the sound is softer - much softer. There is only one smoke and 1 CO detector on this level, and both had their batteries replaced recently as part of a house-wide battery effort.

In short - that’s a great idea, but I am confident that it must be something else. I am worrying about insects, because I do remember a thread where people were posting about roaches making sounds…? :confused:

Personally, I’m starting to think it’s Death.

I would have guessed a smoke alarm as well, for only occasional, single chirps. However if that’s not it, next bet is a perverse cricket ( and I have run across som,e that will chirp only occasionally in a perverse way ). It could be one of a few species. Normally the chirping is temperture dependant. But if you have one in a coldish crawlspace in your ceiling somewhere, it might just be an occasional chirper. Here’s a handy intro link ( for ohio, but it’s widely applicable ):

  • Tamerlane

Oh and most apparently won’t chirp at all at temps below 55 degrees F. I have no idea where you live ( though I here Tanelorn is a desolate, probably coldish place :wink: ), but since it is summer I doubt it is hovering right about that temp at all hours.

Another possibility - Crickets can “throw their voices” to elude predators. It might be right under your desk or server, instead of in the ceiling like you think and when you swivel around or otherwise move when you hear the chirp, if you’re too close you might cause him to shut back up in alarm.

Further possibility yet - Some crickets have an “alarm chirp”. He might let loose as above when he thinks you are getting close and are a potential threat.

Or it might not be a cricket at all, I guess :).

  • Tamerlane

I had the same problem. Mine, I found out 2 months later, was a notice, that I had a new E-Mail, in my hotlist or hotmail folder. I knew I did not have an E-mail account with this group. But there was a teeny, teeny message above the date, time area of my taskbar. I clicked it on and deleted the uniform welcome message. Problem fixed. May be worth a try.

I too thought it was the smoke detector.

Since it isn’t, could it be related to your air conditioning turning on or off? That is, the vents are reverberating, or chirping, whenever it switches on or off (This too has happened to me)?

It’s death. Definitely death. The sound you are hearing is the Grim Reaper in your attic, using his sickle to open cans of Old Style beer, while he rummages through your high school yearbook, looking for familiar faces. He’s there on his customary pre-arrival recon mission- I’m afraid you don’t have much time left. Your only hope is to completely line the ceiling and walls with tin foil, so as to block his senses.

Or, it’s bats. I had bats living in the eave of my roof. Pretty cool actually; I wish I had them here at my new house. They weren’t in the attic, but in an opening in the eave, and they do make a very high pitched, but quiet noise on occasion. I too heard this noise that I couldn’t place, until I tracked it down to the eave. (this was from the outside, not the inside) When the first bat came swooping down and passed my head a few inches away, I about had a coronary. Perhaps, do a recon mission at dusk. They’ll come out as it gets dark, and start zipping around, eating stuff.

That’s a good idea. I started turning the A/C up about the time the chirping started. It was set to about 85 F, but I dropped it to 75 F, and then…that could be it. I will investigate!

Or, it could be a temperature-sensitive cricket too…since the house temperature changed so much. Hmmm…

…hmmm, if death is not knocking at your door,it could be your house contracting. every house expands and contracts with temperature changes(older houses more than newer ones because of the advances in insulation technology and stuff, at least thats what bob v tells me)

Maybe…we were gettting a weird chirp, it took us awhile to figure out because it sounded like it was coming from the ceiling/attic area BUT it turned out the touchpad circuit on our microwave was going out. It didn’t sound anything like the normal microwave touchpad beeps, that was another reason it was so hard to pin down.

Does your computer have a temperature alarm.

So, you’re hiding from Death in a room without CO or smoke detectors? And what if Death is a lurker on this board? Now he knows exactly where you are :eek:

While I don’t think this is your problem in a million years, I was frustrated by weird chirping noises in my bedroom about four years ago.
I was convinced there was a mouse or some kind of horrid burrowing insect up there. After a couple of nights I was sure there was a trapped bird in the loft and would lie for hours in a state of terror listening for the sound (I hate birds). My husband would deny hearing anything, especially when I woke him at 3 in the morning saying “There! Don’t tell me you can’t hear that!”
It was only when I was sitting reading a book one evening in peace and I heard the same sound again that I suddenly realised what it was.
I’d started to get tinnitus and the chirpy noise was the begining. It was so odd though, it didn’t sound as if it was inside my head at all at first, it sounded exactly like it was coming from the ceiling.

Sorry, that hasn’t helped you at all, but I can totally empathise with you!

I’m voting cricket.

We get these green ones with enormoously long antennae, they crawl around fairly inconsicuously on the ceiling and chirp a little, but only when there is no activity in the room.