The UK's weirdest home maintenance questions – and the answers

Researchers find the oddest questions people ask about what's wrong with their homes – and offer answers

the weirdest home improvement questions asked
(Image credit: Aspect)

The questions some homeowners ask about what’s up with their home could leave even the most experienced builders' minds boggling. 'Why do my electrics smell of fish?'; 'Is my shower making me ill?'; 'Is my ceiling supposed to wobble?'; and 'Are my drains adopted?' are just some of the head-scratchers that have people scouring the internet for answers.

Experts at London home maintenance firm Aspect analysed Google search data from last year to find the issues causing most concern for Brits and their properties. And while many of them were to be expected, such as 'Why are my electrics tripping?', 'Why are my walls wet?; and 'Is my toilet flange too high?', others were, quite frankly, a little bizarre.

The weirdest home maintenance questions (and answers)

So, Aspect collated these questions, and came up with the answers to provide a handy guide to the UK's weirdest home maintenance questions. Here's a quick rundown:

Structural issues

Q: Is my ceiling supposed to wobble?
No. This is a sign your ceiling could be damaged or unstable, so should be checked by a professional.

Q: Why are my walls sticky?
Cigarette smoke can build up on the walls and leave a sticky residue. More unusually, leftover wallpaper paste can sometimes reactivate and feel sticky to the touch.

Q: Is my floor going to collapse?
A: Only a professional can definitively answer this question, but a bouncy floor, sudden unevenness, and cracking can be a bad sign.

Electrical queries

Q: Why do my electrics smell of fish?
If a connection is damaged, it can start to smell a bit fishy. Always call a professional electrician to investigate for you.

Q: Is my fuse box illegal?
As long as it’s never been tampered with, your fuse box should be perfectly legal. If you’re unsure, call a professional to check.

Q: Why is my fuse box clicking?
A clicking fuse box is relatively unusual. If it persists, you should check with a professional.

Plumbing queries

Q: Why are my taps vibrating?
There are a few potential causes, ranging from a faulty washer to pressure build-up.

Q: Why is my bath water green?
A: Green/blue water suggests a problem with copper piping. Elevated copper levels can cause health problems, so it’s important to have this fixed by a professional asap.

Bathroom queries

Q: Is my shower making me ill?
A: If you clean your shower head regularly, it should stay relatively free of bacteria. UK tap water comes fresh from underground sources, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, so is safe to bathe in unless advised differently.

Q: Why is my toilet seat turning purple?
A: No one really knows why, but pregnant women sometimes find their toilet seat turns a purple/blue colour. It’s also been speculated that some medications can cause the skin to leave a blue/purple mark on plastic. If you’ve been wearing a new pair of jeans, it could be that the dye has stained you and it’s rubbed off.

Q: Why is my sink turning yellow?
A: The minerals in hard water can gradually turn white sinks yellowish in colour.

Exterior queries

Q: Are my drains adopted?
A: Your drains might be unadopted if you live on a site with multiple properties, e.g. a block of flats. You can ask your local authority to adopt the drains as long as all parties agree to pass over responsibility.

Q: Why are my gutters so loud?
A: The noise could be caused by a blockage, loose fasteners, or the downspout is sitting at the wrong angle.

Q: Why is my roof green?
A: Damp conditions and poor ventilation can cause moss and algae to build up on your roof.

There was no obvious answer to one flat dweller's question of ‘Why does my apartment smells like onions?’ (presuming they had not been cooking them).

Nick Bizley, Aspect’s director of operations, says that as left-field as some of the searches might be, ‘it’s a positive sign that we’re so curious about our homes and what makes them tick. As long as people take the relevant health and safety precautions – especially concerning ladders and tools – and they don’t tackle any tasks that involve safety regulations, like gas or electric work, it can be extremely rewarding to figure out and fix our own home-maintenance problems. It’s also a good sign that many of the queries we found, such as “Is my roof safe to walk on?” or “Are my windows energy efficient?” suggest that the UK has a healthy curiosity about safety and energy efficiency.’

Alison Jones
Assistant Editor

Alison is Assistant Editor on Real Homes magazine. She previously worked on national newspapers, in later years as a film critic and has also written on property, fashion and lifestyle. Having recently purchased a Victorian property in severe need of some updating, much of her time is spent solving the usual issues renovators encounter.