By in Technology

Scary Experience While I Was Working

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at this desk with both computers on as you see in the photo here. Suddenly I heard a sort of rattling noise and the lamp by the window went out. But my iMac also got dark. Then the light came back on for a few seconds and went out again. I was a bit afraid, so I turned the switch off. I heard the rattling sounds in the wall near the switch again even after the switch was off.
I was a bit afraid this might be a hazardous situation that could cause a fire, so I called the eletrcian. He wasn't able to get back to me until today, so I left the switch off and used only lamps on another outlet for light. The iMac turned on again easily and was just the way I left it. It's possible the display just happened to darken to save energy at the moment the lamp went out. It's not plugged in to the same socket as the lamp.

The lamp by the window (not visible in the photo) is controlled by a switch in the wall by the door. The switch was replaced on December 23 because it had failed. At that time I heard a pop when the switch was turned on, but no rattling sound, and only the lamp went out.
The electrician came first thing this morning and looked at the switch first. He said the wiring was fine, but he still replaced the wires and fastened them securely to the screws. He then checked the socket on the other side of the wall and the wiring there was fine. We then had to move a bunch of book boxes so he could check the wiring of a socket on the lower part of the wall the switch was on. It was fine, too.
I then discovered that the lamp was plugged into an extension cord which is plugged into a socket behind the desk you see in the photo. It is a very heavy desk, and as you see, it would be very heavy to move, and there aren't any wheels. The bottom shelf you can't see has a heavy battery backup and a printer on it. This computer desk hasn't been moved since I acquired the house ten years ago. We all just looked at each other. I can't move anything heavy in my condition. My husband is also disabled. We really didn't have a way to move this desk. It would probably take two men.

The electrician said he thought it best that we wait and see if the problem recurs. The noise, after all, was in the wall right above the switch in a different part of the room. He did not think there was danger of fire. Meanwhile, I'm wondering why they had to put a back on the computer desk at all. There is a hole in it about 6" x 12"in it for cords, but no way to access the plugs where the cords are plugged in unless you move the whole desk. I wonder whose bright idea that was. Seems if you have to move a heavy desk, they should have at least put wheels on it.

These are the things you don't think about when you are buying computer desks. Of course, I didn't buy this. My mom did. She probably had someone else (my brother, maybe) assemble it and connect everything. I switched out the computers, which are plugged into the battery back-up or the power surge protector plugged into it. So to mess with the computers, I don't have to get to that plug.
Meanwhile, I have to listen for rattling and whirring noises in the wall. And it's not mice. It's not a scratching sound like they make. I've also never seen or heard evidence of them here. It's just spooky. And it's a bit scary not knowing what makes that sound or whether it might be a danger sign.

By the way, the electrician didn't charge me anything for this visit.

Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved

Image Credit » I took the photo.

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MegL wrote on January 23, 2015, 5:07 PM

Not the kind of sound you want to hear at any time.

Kasman wrote on January 23, 2015, 5:41 PM

A tradesman who didn't charge you for an inspection? Quick, give me his number! emoticon :smile:

melody23 wrote on January 23, 2015, 5:58 PM

I get so worried about unexplained noises. there was a strange buzzing noise in our bedroom the other night and I was awake for hours worrying about what it could be, I never did find out and it hasn't happened again so far but I was really freaked out.

agvulpes wrote on January 23, 2015, 6:59 PM

That certainly does sound weird and the most weird thing about the episode was that the Electrician did not charge. lol
Sometimes we can place noises at places where they are not occurring ?
Has it happened again ?

Sheilamarie78 wrote on January 23, 2015, 7:17 PM

Nice electrician not to charge! I hope you figure out what made that noise. That is a bit unnerving.

LadyTrouble wrote on January 23, 2015, 7:46 PM

I hope that it gets figured out. I thought of rats when I first started reading but I see you said it wasn't that. It was also very nice that the electrician didn't charge. I think the next task at hand is fitting wheels onto the bottom of the desk for easier moving of items in the future.

BarbRad wrote on January 23, 2015, 7:51 PM

You've got that right. I'm just glad I was home.

BarbRad wrote on January 23, 2015, 7:52 PM

He had been out to replace that switch in December and stands behind his work. But I was surprised, too.

BarbRad wrote on January 23, 2015, 7:53 PM

I think part of it is the not knowing. If you know what it is, who have an idea about how to fix it or who should fix it.

BarbRad wrote on January 23, 2015, 7:55 PM

Not since he left, or at least not when I was here. I did leave to go for a walk, and you can bet I turned off the light and put the computer displays to sleep.

BarbRad wrote on January 23, 2015, 7:57 PM

We still don't know what made the noise. I'm supposed to listen for it and pin down the location if it happens again.

BarbRad wrote on January 23, 2015, 7:58 PM

I don't think I'm capable of that, and we'd have to empty it and move it and turn it upside down first.

wolfgirl569 wrote on January 23, 2015, 8:08 PM

I think I would be more worried about an electrician that didnt charge you. emoticon :grin: I hope that it is fixed now.

inertia4 wrote on January 23, 2015, 8:30 PM

BarbRad Sounds like it might have been a vibration type noise. Sometimes if the boiler kicks on and off it could cause a rattle or vibration. I am not saying that's it, but it could be anything. Maybe there is a part of the desk that has a loose screw. Maybe thats the rattle. But if it happens again call the electrician back. I would not play with wiring.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on January 24, 2015, 12:47 AM

That's pretty strange that it was localized. If it was a power issue, seems like all the appliances would have been affected.

BarbRad wrote on January 24, 2015, 2:33 AM

He charged me when he came out in December and the job only took him about 15 minutes. Today took him about half and hour.

BarbRad wrote on January 24, 2015, 2:35 AM

The desk is nowhere near where the vibration was coming from. The heater wasn't on. The electrian says it's possible something in the attic could have disturbed a wire going down that wall. It would be hard to know without taking the wall apart.

BarbRad wrote on January 24, 2015, 2:39 AM

That light switch only gives power to one plug -- the one the lamp and the battery back up are plugged into. The battery back up is designed to stay on a few minutes if the power goes out, so that socket only affects the lamp if the socket loses power. What surprised me is the one computer going dark, but it could be that the energy saving feature that darkens the screen when not active kicked in at exactly the same time.

bestwriter wrote on January 24, 2015, 3:33 AM

With electricity anything can happen. A short circuit could have been a possibility. Hope the situation is under control.

GemOfAGirl wrote on January 24, 2015, 6:26 AM

I recently moved a very heavy desk so that I could switch out some plugs in an outlet. It's almost 5' long, 2' deep, and with the attached hutch on top of it, it's about 5' tall. Even with it emptied and with all of the drawers taken out, it must still weigh something north of 100 lbs. I think the guy who invents a nice-looking, solid desk with lots of storage on wheels is going to make a fortune.

inertia4 wrote on January 24, 2015, 9:41 AM

BarbRad That is scary is it is a wire somewhere that cannot be checked. And to rip a wall open is a lot of work. Maybe he should just cut off that socket and start a whole new one. Be on the safe side. Also check the breakers and make sure the box can handle what's there.

peachpurple wrote on January 24, 2015, 11:07 AM

maybe those are the termites, I once heard scratching sound in the store room, i looked high and low and then found the sound came from the wooden door itself.

shaggin83 wrote on January 24, 2015, 11:43 AM

Wow awesome that the electrician didn't charge you anything. Most people charge a fee just for coming out even if they don't have to do anything. I hope that the problem doesn't happen again. Sounds weird that there was a rattling nose. I have my computer plugged into an outlet and during a storm it zapped my computer. Now I have my computer plugged into a safety cord thing.

FreyaYuki wrote on January 24, 2015, 2:57 PM

That's creepy and scary. I wouldn't want to hear weird noises like that. Hope you don't hear it anymore. It was very nice of the electrician not to charge you anything for his work.

carolscash wrote on January 24, 2015, 5:20 PM

I would not want anything like that to happen to me. I am glad that my computer seems to be fine as well as my electrical sockets.

BarbRad wrote on January 24, 2015, 9:01 PM

I'll have to wait and see. Mo problems yet today.

BarbRad wrote on January 24, 2015, 9:06 PM

I'd buy it.

BarbRad wrote on January 24, 2015, 9:07 PM

It wasn't a scratching sound. And there was no sign of termites. We know those signs.

BarbRad wrote on January 24, 2015, 9:08 PM

My computers are all plugged into surge protectors.

BarbRad wrote on January 24, 2015, 9:09 PM

I really appreciate he didn't charge us.

BarbRad wrote on January 24, 2015, 9:10 PM

I'm glad for you.

PegCole17 wrote on January 25, 2015, 3:11 PM

Electrical wiring that malfunctions is really scary. I'm glad that you had it checked out professionally. Now, if you could just find someone to move the desk and check out that circuit. We've had mice and other creatures eat the plastic coating off the wires in our appliances, in our cars and in our telephone circuits before, so I'm wondering about the noises in the wall...

AliCanary wrote on January 26, 2015, 11:17 PM

That is a very kind electrician. I assume they put backs on the desks so that the cords don't show, but I agree, it is hard to access where everything is plugged in. I had that same situation at a job I had.

BarbRad wrote on January 27, 2015, 2:22 AM

There are so many sounds in this house I don't understand, but none have made the lights go out except this one.

BarbRad wrote on January 27, 2015, 2:23 AM

Those weren't the kind of noises mice make. I know what they sound like in a wall. They are in the wall behind my bed at home. This was a mechanical sort of rattle.

BarbRad wrote on January 27, 2015, 2:25 AM

I think you're right, but the electric socket doesn't show either. I prefer function over beauty if I have to choose.