Our houses should be a haven, a place of peace and stability, a fortress against the outside world. But as it turns out, our homes aren’t always as secure as we’d like them to be. Sometimes, for reasons that remain a mystery, our houses will start shaking, as if there’s an earthquake even if not actually the case. So, why is your home shaking but no earthquake?
Your house could be shaking because of small earthquakes, big earthquakes happening far away, heavy trucks passing by, nearby mining activity, or for other reasons. Always invest time and energy into finding the source of the shaking so that you can put your mind at ease and take steps to correct the problem if necessary.
Having a house that shakes can be disconcerting. And unfortunately, sometimes the cause isn’t apparent. But don’t worry. This article covers all there’s to know about why your home might be shaking even when there’s no earthquake and if you can do anything to stop it.
- What Causes a House to Vibrate/Shake?
- Why Does It Feel Like My House is Shaking?
- House Shakes When Trucks Drive By: What To Do?
- How To Make Your House Stop Vibrating?
- What Would Cause a House To Vibrate?
- Is House Shaking Dangerous?
- Can Vibrations Damage Your House?
What Causes a House to Vibrate/Shake?
If you’re wondering what’s causing a house to vibrate or shake, the list of potential causes is lengthy. Try and analyze each possibility to figure out which is most likely the source in your case.
1. Small Earthquakes
Perhaps you’re experiencing something so slight that you think it can’t be an earthquake. But sometimes, your house could be shaking because of a very small earthquake. That’s especially true if you live in one of the areas prone to seismic activity.
Some of these quakes are usually too weak to be picked up by seismometers, which is why you don’t hear about them on the news. So, the fact that you haven’t seen or heard anything about an earthquake in your area doesn’t mean there hasn’t been one.
2. Big Earthquakes Far Away
Even if there hasn’t been an earthquake in your immediate vicinity, a large quake somewhere else in the world can still cause your house to shake. Usually, this happens when the quake is big enough and close enough to where you live.
But again, it doesn’t have to be so close. Keep in mind that seismic waves can travel vast distances. So, even an earthquake on the other side of the world could cause your home to vibrate.
3. Vibrations From Heavy Traffic
If you live close to a busy road, it’s possible that the shaking comes from the vibrations of all the vehicles passing by. This is a more common problem in cities than in rural areas, but it can happen anywhere.
Unlike other possible causes, it’s easier to tell when this is the source of the shaking. For example, you should feel your house shake when heavy trucks drive by. Also, the shaking should stop when the traffic dies down. And, of course, that also applies when you have a rail line nearby.
4. Mining Activity
Another potential cause of vibrations is mining activity. If there’s a quarry or mining operation in the area, the heavy machinery and explosives used can cause your house to shake.
This is another instance where it should be pretty apparent whether or not this is the source of the shaking. If so, you’ll likely feel your house shake at regular intervals. It’s also worth noting that the shaking will be worse the closer you are to the mining site.
5. Temperature And Humidity Changes
Sometimes, temperature and humidity changes can cause a house to shake. This is more likely to happen with newly built homes since the materials are still settling. But any house can experience this.
The shaking usually emanates from the expansion and contraction of the materials used in the construction of your home. So, if you live in areas with big temperature swings, this could be the source of the problem.
6. Factory Activity
If there’s a factory in the vicinity, the vibrations from the heavy machinery can cause your house to shake. This is similar to the mining activity described above. But it can also happen with other factories, not just those that mine for resources.
The key is to figure out if the shaking only happens when the factory operates. If so, that’s a pretty good indication that the factory is the source of the problem.
7. High-Speed Wind
It’s another likely reason you’ve had the unnerving experience of your house shaking but no earthquake. All it takes is a gust of wind hitting your home at just the right angle and with enough force.
This is most likely to happen if your area is prone to high-wind events like thunderstorms or hurricanes. But even if you don’t live in such an area, a gust of wind strong enough could still cause your house to shake.
8. Military Base Nearby
If there’s a military base nearby, the vibrations from military exercise could cause your house to shake. You see, artillery guns, explosives, tanks, and other heavy equipment can create a lot of vibrations.
So, if you live close to a military base, the tremors you feel could be coming from the base itself. Of course, this isn’t always the case. But it’s something to consider if you live near a military installation.
This one might seem a bit far-fetched, but the sound of thunder can cause your house to shake. This is because the sound waves from the thunder are so powerful that they can cause vibrations in your home.
That’s especially true if the thunder is close by. But even if it’s far away, the sound waves can still travel a long way and cause your house to shake.
Why Does It Feel Like My House is Shaking?
Your house shaking could be because of earthquakes and other non-quake causes. If you want to find out, ask your neighbors if they’re experiencing the same thing. If it’s just your house that’s shaking, then that should tell you something.
If your house has a shaking problem, enquire from the neighbors to hear if they’ve had the same experience. If it’s just your house that is shaking, then that should give you an idea that it’s a problem that really needs to be addressed.
House Shakes When Trucks Drive By: What To Do?
You might notice shakes as heavy trucks pass by if you’re close to a road. That’s because low-frequency sounds and vibrations travel long distances through the ground. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do.
If you want the shaking to stop, you have a few options;
1. Ask The Township To Resurface The Road
More often, vibrations reaching your house could signify that the road needs resurfacing. It may not eliminate all the shaking, but it will help to reduce it.
2. Request That The Speed Limit on the Road Be Reduced
This is another way to help reduce the shaking. Low-frequency vibrations are more likely to cause shaking at high speeds. So, by reducing the speed limit on the road, you can help to reduce the amount of shaking.
3. Lift The House And Isolate It From The Earth
This is a more drastic measure, but it can help to reduce shaking. By lifting the house and isolating it from the earth, you can help to reduce the amount of shaking that reaches your home.
4. Get An Acoustical Damper For Your Home
It’s a more technical solution involving an acoustical engineer, but it can be effective. An acoustical damper is a device that uses sound waves to cancel out vibrations. It can help to reduce the amount of shaking that reaches your home.
How To Make Your House Stop Vibrating?
If you want to make your house stop vibrating, you can consider lifting it, adding a dampening basement, or even sometimes relocating! But, of course, it all depends on what’s causing the shaking and, more often, what you’re willing to fork out to fix the issue.
Although there are some causes that you can’t do much about like if it’s due to natural causes like an earthquake, there are other ways to help minimize the effect it has on your home. Some of the ways to make your house stop vibrating include:
1. Lift The House
The larger the part of your house is in contact with the earth, the more it’s likely to pick up vibrations and shake. One way to help reduce this is by lifting the house so that there’s less surface area in contact with the ground.
This can be done by either jacking up the house and adding support beams or posts, or by building a foundation that’s elevated off the ground. Of course, you’ll need an expert in the field.
2. Add A Dampening Basement
Floor slabs have evolved for the worse over the years as far as dampening vibrations is concerned. That’s why sometimes the way to help reduce shaking is to add a dampening basement. This measure involves having your house jacked up like a car is and adding a more supportive foundation.
3. Relocate To Another Place
It isn’t what you’d go for, but sometimes if the shaking is due to something that’s out of your control and putting measures to avoid it would be too costly, you may just be better off relocating.
This is usually a last resort, but it’s worth considering if all else fails. Only ensure that the person buying your current home is aware of the problem.
What Would Cause a House To Vibrate?
Causes of vibration in houses can be anything that creates movement or shaking. This can include nearby traffic, human activity such as walking across the floor, or even something as small as a pet moving around.
In some cases, using thinner and lighter floor slabs has become a more common problem. As these slabs are less dense, they tend to vibrate more and can cause the whole house to shake. But as mentioned, there are many other potential causes.
Is House Shaking Dangerous?
House shaking can be dangerous depending on the intensity and frequency. In some cases, it can cause cracking in the foundation or damage the house’s structure, leading to accidents.
If you’re concerned that your house may be shaking more than it should, getting a structural engineer to assess the situation and advise you on the best course of action is essential. Of course, that will cost you a few bucks, but it could save you and your dear ones from a lot of danger down the line.
Can Vibrations Damage Your House?
Vibrations can damage your house, but not always. If the shaking is due to something like an earthquake, then it’s likely that there will be some damage. However, if the shaking is caused by something like nearby traffic, it’s less likely to cause any damage.
Of course, if the shaking is severe and happens often, it can cause cracking in the foundation or damage the house’s structure. So, if you’re concerned that your house is vibrating more than it should, have the situation accessed by a professional.
There are a plethora of possible reasons why your house might be shaking, but unfortunately, not all of them have a cure. In some cases, the only solution is to relocate. If your house is experiencing this problem, try to determine if you can pinpoint the cause.
You can always involve an acoustical engineer if you can’t trace the source of the shaking. The expert will not only help you find what the problem is, but they’ll also assess the level of danger and advise on the best course of action.