Electrical Wiring in the Home/Mysterious Crackling Sound


My husband and I have heard a crackling sound coming from the vicinity of the back of our house.  The sound is reminiscent of sparklers or the the quick pops that you will hear at the end of a fireworks display.  But the firework sounds are not of the volume of fireworks.  They are more muted as if coming from a distance.  The sound comes intermittently (day or night) and last for about 5 to 10 seconds.  We do not notice it every day. It is not clear if the sound is within our walls or at the back of our house.  It lasts for such a short time it is difficult to pin down.  At first we thought it was bees or ants within our back walls which can make a crackling sound.  

But last night my husband and I were both woken by the sound.  It lasted a little longer; maybe 15 seconds.  I sat up in bed and an pretty positive that I saw some flashing lights issuing from somewhere behind our house to the right.  

The only thing common to the varied times that I have heard this mysterious sound is that it is usually rainy or drizzling outside.  The sound usually occurs once and then is not repeated.

Any ideas or counsel you might give would be much appreciated.

Thank you!


What I believe you are hearing and saw especially when you mentioned it coinsiding with rain or wet weather, is a high voltage utility line that is making contact with a tree branch some where behind your house.
I experienced a similar situation at my home many years ago when I heard that same sort of sound but usually only when it was wet outside. Sure enough it was a branch rubbing against the high voltage cable and it culminated shortly there after with a loud bang one day when it blew and knocked the neighborhood out.

This would also account for the flash you saw. Call your utility right away and let them know what is going on. In wet weather it is possible some one could be electrocuted if they unwittingly happened to touch the tree the cable is rubbing up against when it is wet.

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Licensed Master Electrician (32 years) 6165B Contractor in Closter New Jersey with 40 years total experience in Residential - Commercial - Industrial work. Emergency Service - General trouble shooting and repair work - ONAN & GENERAC generator installation - Paddle fans - Kitchen & Bath exhaust fans - AC lines - Smoke detectors - Telephone lines - Cable TV lines - Computer network cabling - Exterior lighting - Recessed lighting - Security lighting - (200 - 150 - 100 amp service up grades) - Electric Heat - New circuits - New appliance hook ups - and more ! FREE ESTIMATES 201-358-1552 Fully Insured


Licensed contractor in Closter New Jersey.

"The Frank Williams School of Electrical Construction". My dear old boss is 100 ! and still going God Bless him. I started working for "Tenafly Electric" right out of high school at 19. He was tough but I learned more working for him in 8 and half years than most guys. We did mostly industrial work while doing some commercial and residential so I was fortunate to be exposed to all 3 areas of electrical construction. The guys I worked with were all good guys and I stay in touch with some of them still. Most of us went into our own buisness's which says something about the caliber of the guys I worked with. We had some interesting clients : Wella Corp. of shampoo fame, Farah Fawcett etc, I didn't buy shampoo for 10 years. It was a great place to work. Pan Am the former airline just before they went under, another great place to work, nice clean environment. C&C Metals, the largest button manufacturer in the US at that time, a not so clean environment but a very interesting place to work, lots of machine's cranking out buttons of all kinds but you had to be on your toes, it was a potentially dangerous place to be . All kinds of action going on around you.

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