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Single, loud 'POP' - Trying to identify

49789 Views 38 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  elizabethmelanson4
Here's the situation. First thing this morning, 3 of us happened to be in the same room, getting ready for the day. All-of-the-sudden, there was a loud POP. Loud enough to startle 3 people. My wife described it as a single, loud hand clap. I immediately thought electrical. I was talking and had an earbud in one ear, so I wasn't exactly sure from whence it came, but my wife said it came from near me (why she thought it was a human clap) and my daughter heard it from behind her, where I was.

Near me is one electrical outlet which has my Belkin 8-outlet, electronics surge protector. (I wanna say it was $50-$80 - not a super-cheapie like a crummy power strip). In it were plugged 2 laptops, a small lamp w/75-watt equivalent CFL (maybe 18 watts?), and an iPhone power cord (no phone).

One of the laptops is currently failing in different ways. It was kinda one of my suspects, but if that noise came out of the laptop, I doubt I could be uploading this post from it now.

I've had CFL's pop, but that usually results in the light burning out or failing in some way. The light is fine.

I immediately went into detective mode. Here's the mystery.
Nothing tripped, flickered or did anything abnormal.
There was zero smell from any of the items plugged in, nor from any of the outlets, which is often reported with a 'pop'.
I checked all of the outlets with a 3-prong, plug-in circuit tester (2 on the wall outlet and all 8 on the surge protector) and all came back fine. I don't know if the circuit tester would show an error or not, but I figured if something burned up, it might show a bad circuit.

Maybe this happens more often when we're not around but we all caught it because we happened to be in the room. Who knows? But it freaked us all out and I've spent 2 hours researching.

I'm handy enough to install and upgrade simple circuits but don't mess around with breaker panels or anything that gets much beyond lights, outlets and 'regular' circuits. For the heck of it, I'm going to replace the wall outlet and buy a different surge protector.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
I'm questioning the second floor and snow. Yesterday it snowed, then freezing rain then a rapid temperature drop. If conditions are right, the ice on the roof contracts and we get a pop, sometimes a boom depending on the amount of snow or ice up there. It doesn't rock the house or anything, but you will definitely hear it and unless you knew what it was, it's difficult to pinpoint the source.
Our snow had melted off with the few days of warm weather before a line of thunderstorms came through bringing normal cold behind it. We didn't get any sort of ice coating and the snow was a tiny, fractional amount. Immeasurably small and very light. Not even covering the grass, so any sort of snow weight or ice coating was non-existent, at the time.

We did have a large temp change, going from mid-50's to mid-20's over a couple day span. I feel like we've heard the majority of house pops and shifts and this still seemed different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
A few years back my mystery pop turned out to be a broken window. I guess it can happen under the right weather conditions. Settling was not the cause.


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I considered a window 'popping' into place. Sometimes they're not always closed completely and you'll randomly get a 'pop' when the latch suddenly clicks into place. That's always 'springy' sounding. This sound was still different than that.
 

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A few years back my mystery pop turned out to be a broken window. I guess it can happen under the right weather conditions. Settling was not the cause.


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One of my co-workers heard a loud pop in his basement last month. After looking at all the equipment, he saw that his foundation had cracked. We think that is what caused the sound.
Or a broken/cracked tile (maybe around the toilet) that you haven't noticed
 

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Curley Toes - instead of asking on a thread that is over 3 years old it would be better that you call in a licensed electrician to investigate. Popping of electrical anything is not good. Even popping that will trip a breaker - the breaker is tripping because something is not right in the Land of OZ and the breaker is doing its job.

Call an electrician.
 

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Curley Toes - instead of asking on a thread that is over 3 years old it would be better that you call in a licensed electrician to investigate. Popping of electrical anything is not good. Even popping that will trip a breaker - the breaker is tripping because something is not right in the Land of OZ and the breaker is doing its job.

Call an electrician.
Strange reply. Are replying to an old thread and calling an electrician mutually exclusive activities?
 

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Chandler, not a bad guess at all. Birds fly into windows all the time.
I would describe that as more of a "thunk".

I have heard house framing "settling" sound like a fairly loud "crack". If nothing obvious is wrong electrically, my next suspicion would be a floor joist or ceiling framing making a small but sudden shift. Happens quite often.
 

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IMO it was the sound of a very thin wire strand short circuiting & being vaporized because 250A was passing thru it.

See "exploding wires".

It may come back with day/night temperature cycling because the gap left is very small.
 

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I found it extremely odd as well. I don't mind replying to old threads because I think people still search on old threads. Which is not to say I didn't get fooled into thinking this was new :)
Indeed. I've actually never been on this board before, but just came across this thread by Googling various phrases describing what happened. My wife and I were pretty freaked out last night because this was a LOUD sound (my wife's ears were ringing) with absolutely no physical evidence anywhere that anything happened.

Nervous for the potential for fire, especially with small kids in the house, my wife called the fire department, and they came out and scanned the house with their "heat sensing" device and found nothing.
 

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Indeed. I've actually never been on this board before, but just came across this thread by Googling various phrases describing what happened. My wife and I were pretty freaked out last night because this was a LOUD sound (my wife's ears were ringing) with absolutely no physical evidence anywhere that anything happened.

Nervous for the potential for fire, especially with small kids in the house, my wife called the fire department, and they came out and scanned the house with their "heat sensing" device and found nothing.
As mentioned earlier, MOVs can explode with a bang. Tantalum capacitors, which are used in many electronic devices, can also explode like a firecracker. If they are in a tightly sealed case, like a USB charger or power brick, you may see little evidence, if any, of the smoke or flames.

 

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Curley Toes - I think you received the wrong impression from my post.

Because of the type of problem this may be electrically and that it may be very important to have it resolved as soon as possible to prevent property damage or even personal injury I was just suggesting that you may want to start a new thread to grab member's attention of this issue you are having. The OP has not be on since Jan of 2018 and sometimes even myself I tend to ignore very old threads. I was just attempting to get you assistance as soon as possible.

Call an electrician was meant saying this type of issue may be in the need for immediate in person assistance from a licensed electrician..
 

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IMO it was the sound of a very thin wire strand short circuiting & being vaporized because 250A was passing thru it.

See "exploding wires".

It may come back with day/night temperature cycling because the gap left is very small.
I am very curious about this. Would the vaporized wire strand cause any insulation to melt, etc., or something else that I could see?

I just had a nearly identical experience to the OP this morning. Three of us heard it in the same room as where the pop occurred. Sounded like a light bulb or very loud balloon popping would sound from about 3 feet away, maybe 10x louder than a loud balloon. I took apart an outlet- no black marks, no exploded mice. Wire comes to the outlet inside metal conduit that is tight to the outlet box. No circuit breaker blew, no electrical smell, no flash, no smoke, no broken windows or bulbs or glass or anything. No broken foundation or plumbing. Sounded like it was out in the open air in the room with us and not muffled behind a wall or something. I am intrigued by the exploding wire strand theory. Would love to hear if anyone knows more, or if anything was resolved by the OP or another previous commenter that apparently had an identical experience.
 

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Our wierd pop was more of a snap in a quiet late night, watching movies. We looked all over, kinda freaked out. I spot a little red piece of plastic under the kitchen table. Mr. Coffee pot had condensed enough steam under the red lens that it shorted out and had a little steam explosion. No burnt smell to help out.
 

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As soon as I thought of the siding, I searched outside for any signs of something that had hit the house. I thought of a bird but it was still early for the birds to be up, but can't rule it out. (still dark out - they usually rise with the sun). Assuming a bird, as loud as it was, I'd think it would be stunned but the light snow coating on our deck (~1000 sq ft that spans the entire house) was still pristine and the cats were hunkered down in their houses when I fed them at 6:30. When I mentioned the outdoor/house noise possibilities to my wife, she said "it definitely happened inside the room." [/QUOTE we just had this exact scenario happen. Second floor. Livingroom. No one moving. No surge protector…..sounded like a loud clap or the bang of a firecracker. We have looked everywhere. Can’t figure it out at all. No snow around, wet and maybe 6degrees outside. Definately happened in the room. We are mind boggled. Sounded like a light blew up as well, but lights are all good.
 

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We just had this exact scenario happen. Second floor. Livingroom. No one moving. No surge protector…..sounded like a loud clap or the bang of a firecracker. We have looked everywhere. Can’t figure it out at all. No snow around, wet and maybe 6degrees outside. Definately happened in the room. We are mind boggled. Sounded like a light blew up as well, but lights are all good.
 
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