Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

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neowiser
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Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by neowiser »

Several weeks ago we began hearing an intermittent sound while sitting in the living room. At first we thought it was the sound of far-off fireworks, or someone in the neighborhood practicing drums. Now we've decided it sounds like fluid dripping, yet no moisture has appeared on the ceiling or in any of the nearby crawl spaces we can access. The sound seemed to come from an area where our two mini-split wall units are installed upstairs. We theorized that the refrigerant was dripping then vaporizing. The HVAC guys came yesterday to check the hoses and could not find any leak, though they went ahead and added insulation. The problem persists after their visit.

Today I will turn off the water to the house, open a faucet to drain water from the system, and sit and listen for a while. Hopefully this will tell us whether the sound is from a leaking water pipe. If we still hear the sound, I'm not sure what to do next. What can plumbers do to find a hidden leak, do they use cameras or any other type of hi-tech equipment that avoids the need to rip out the drywall?

I found a YouTube video where a guy shows that air vents and pipes can make dripping noises due to heat expansion/contraction, but that doesn't seem to fit our experience (sound heard irrespective of heating status).
Last edited by neowiser on Mon Jan 23, 2023 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Kenkat
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Kenkat »

Mini-splits condense moisture out of the air as part of their operation and this moisture has to be drained away. These drains can sometimes become clogged:

https://hydrokleen208.com/mini-split-co ... line-clog/
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by oldfatguy »

Might want to read through one of the all-time great Boglehead threads: viewtopic.php?t=62092
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nedsaid
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by nedsaid »

Even I know that dripping sounds in the ceiling are not a good thing. Problem is that you can have a drip somewhere and the water can run across a beam or something like that and it can be hard to find where it goes. You could sent a personal message to Sandtrap who has experience with things like this. What I do know is that these problems are not easy to find. Learned a lot from being on an HOA Board for 8 1/2 years. All I know is that you want to get to the bottom of this as water can cause an awful lot of damage. I suspect it is condensation from your heat pump or air conditioning.

Good luck. I know those more knowledgeable that I will post here.
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neowiser
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by neowiser »

oldfatguy wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 12:23 pm Might want to read through one of the all-time great Boglehead threads: viewtopic.php?t=62092
This was a fascinating and hilarious read, though I'm disappointed the YouTube link with actual sound recording is no longer active. It also gives me an idea. I have a very old inherited stereo system and I have been using it a lot over the holidays, even firing up the ancient turntable to play some vinyl records. The system uses vintage Altec Lansing speakers that my dad customized for more power, I'm sure they are capable of creating acoustic anomalies. I'm going to unplug everything and see if it makes a difference, before turning off all the water to the house. Thanks for the tip!

The HVAC guys worked for 2 hours, checking for leaks and examining the crawlspace, I'm confident the sound isn't from the mini-split system.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by CAsage »

Lots of people I know had pinhole leaks in second floor bathroom supply lines, which leaked in their first floor ceiling. Had to open lots of holes to find and fix, quite strange. What else is upstairs?
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by walkabout »

If there are hot water pipes in the area of the dripping sound and if the noise occurs when running hot water, the noise could be the pipes expanding lengthwise and rubbing against something (like pipe supports, holes through joists, etc). We have this exact issue at our house. If we run hot water such that it flows through those pipes, it sounds exactly like it is dripping fit a good 1-2 minutes.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Bogle7 »

Don't worry about finding the leak. It will find you.

I write from personal experience.
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Gardener
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Gardener »

Op what part of the country do you live? Maybe a lot of contracting and expanding of the pipes caused a pipe burst somewhere?

I live in the northeast and I had a pvc pipe in my apartment ceiling burst after the temperature hit around 8 degrees Fahrenheit on Christmas morning last month.

Water slowly began dripping into my bedroom about 30 minutes after that.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by heywhoathere »

I found a YouTube video where a guy shows that air vents and pipes can make dripping noises due to heat expansion/contraction
I hear a pretty similar sound in my house as well and I've convinced myself that it's this (HVAC duct work expanding). I've been hearing it for 5+ years, so it's either fine or going to be a very expensive problem sooner or later :D
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neowiser
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by neowiser »

Bogle7 wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 5:55 pm Don't worry about finding the leak. It will find you.
I’m afraid this is what we’re left with.

I unplugged all the stereo equipment- no effect
Shut off the water supply to the house for 3 hours- no effect

We’re in Southern California, so no extreme temperature variations. The sound started before the rain and has been unchanged throughout rainy periods, so no correlation to rain.

The living room, where we hear the sound, has several recessed lights. I’m thinking we can pull one of those out and stuff the Ring camera into the opening to see and hear what’s happening just above the ceiling. I guess I should hire an electrician to pull the light can out as I have no idea how to do that. I’m also thinking of purchasing an inexpensive stethoscope from Amazon to listen to the ceiling, so we can pinpoint the source of the noise.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by OpenMinded1 »

walkabout wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 5:23 pm If there are hot water pipes in the area of the dripping sound and if the noise occurs when running hot water, the noise could be the pipes expanding lengthwise and rubbing against something (like pipe supports, holes through joists, etc). We have this exact issue at our house. If we run hot water such that it flows through those pipes, it sounds exactly like it is dripping fit a good 1-2 minutes.
This happens in one of our bathrooms. When we turn the hot water on at the sink, a sound starts behind the wall near the tub/shower. It really does sound exactly like dripping. Lasts a few minutes just like yours. It probably makes the noise until the pipe stops expanding.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Fat Tails »

Kenkat wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 12:16 pm Mini-splits condense moisture out of the air as part of their operation and this moisture has to be drained away. These drains can sometimes become clogged:

https://hydrokleen208.com/mini-split-co ... line-clog/
+1
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by kevinf »

If you have a mechanical water meter and copper lines, the sound from the mechanicals inside the meter may be tranmitted through the pipes quite far and resonate in the hollow cavities of the building. This would be most noticeable during high flow when the meter is spinning fastest and it would make a rhythmic tapping sound.

You might have to suss out a way to see if noise made by the meter matches the sound in the house.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by linuxizer »

Stuff like this is why I just pulled the trigger on an inspection camera for my old house. Had one before but image quality made it useless.

Just bought a “Teslong” off Amazon and its great. Articulating like a medical scope so you can peek around, and good enough focusing and image quality to really get a sense of what’s going on. Get the shortest one possible—you only need a foot or two, the rest of the length just gets in the way.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by OpenMinded1 »

I hope you will let us know what you find, and how you find it Neowiser.

Termites can make a clicking noise, but I doubt this is what you are hearing. The noise they make doesn't sound like dripping. There are YouTube videos you can go to to hear the sound they make.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by dknightd »

OpenMinded1 wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 6:52 am I hope you will let us know what you find, and how you find it Neowiser.
I agree. I'm very curious what you find.

I'm assuming you had the mini-split system turned off. Sometimes they make funny noises during their normal operation.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by neilpilot »

kevinf wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 4:51 am If you have a mechanical water meter and copper lines, the sound from the mechanicals inside the meter may be tranmitted through the pipes quite far and resonate in the hollow cavities of the building. This would be most noticeable during high flow when the meter is spinning fastest and it would make a rhythmic tapping sound.

You might have to suss out a way to see if noise made by the meter matches the sound in the house.
Even though the OP writes that they "Shut off the water supply to the house for 3 hours- no effect"??
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

Many years ago, we started hearing a whooshing sound (like water running) in our finished basement. It was right before we were leaving on a 2 week vacation, and we were panicked. Shut off water, etc.

Called a plumber. He checked around, located the sound. Listened in the walls. (The wall in question had am open-backed bookcase on it).

He glanced down and noticed my 3 year old's toy iron. Which made a very realistic whooshing steam noise. It had fallen over the back edge and was stuck in the "on" position.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by sureshoe »

In my last house, whenever the heat would run, there would be a strange "drip" sound inside the ductwork. I spent more than several years trying to find it and never did. I talked to a couple HVAC guys who just threw up their hands and didn't want to deal with it, saying "its the condenser or something".

This was a major reason why I sold the house.

I still do not know what it was.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by nordsteve »

neowiser wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 7:50 pm Shut off the water supply to the house for 3 hours- no effect
Want to verify that, after shutting off the water, you opened a hot and cold tap to relieve pressure.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by carolinaman »

We had a similar issue a couple of years ago. I started hearing a dripping sound in hall bath. After investigating, we discovered there was a 1x2 foot deadspace in wall and we had a roof shingle leaking into that.

My son patched the roof and all is well.

I still had our house plans and could see the deadspace in it.

We have had water damage twice in our house that were difficult to detect. Both damaged flooring, subflooring and some structural damage. I agree with others to investigate this and find and fix the problem right away.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by lthenderson »

neowiser wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 11:55 am Several weeks ago we began hearing an intermittent sound while sitting in the living room.
Since you have ruled out several things already, one I haven't seen mention is if there is shrubbery or tree branches next to your house. I've had them tap the side of the house in breezes which indicates its time to prune.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by OpenMinded1 »

Chipmunks, mice, rats, bats? Though I doubt you would hear bats.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by BrooklynInvest »

OpenMinded1 wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 8:46 pm
walkabout wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 5:23 pm If there are hot water pipes in the area of the dripping sound and if the noise occurs when running hot water, the noise could be the pipes expanding lengthwise and rubbing against something (like pipe supports, holes through joists, etc). We have this exact issue at our house. If we run hot water such that it flows through those pipes, it sounds exactly like it is dripping fit a good 1-2 minutes.
This happens in one of our bathrooms. When we turn the hot water on at the sink, a sound starts behind the wall near the tub/shower. It really does sound exactly like dripping. Lasts a few minutes just like yours. It probably makes the noise until the pipe stops expanding.
This. Several years ago I started hearing the same tapping coming from somewhere near the ceiling of my front room, which sounded very much like a dripping faucet. After 5-plus years there's no sign of water. I think it's either expanding/contracting pipes or water dripping inside a vertical pipe. It's not near a bathroom but it is near a large radiator and long vertical heat pipes. I've stopped worrying about it.

I used to have a really weird one - my boiler is 3 floors away but when it was heating there'd be a very low hum in my bedroom. Had to replace the boiler anyway... ;-)
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neowiser
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by neowiser »

nordsteve wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 8:20 am
neowiser wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 7:50 pm Shut off the water supply to the house for 3 hours- no effect
Want to verify that, after shutting off the water, you opened a hot and cold tap to relieve pressure.
Yes, taps in kitchen and bathroom were turned to cold then hot (they're single lever) and left on- nothing coming out for 3 hours. I guess it's possible that a puddle had built up and continued to drip, but I would think it would at least diminish in frequency over time.

The sound is more or less consistent, even though it is intermittent. Sort of a drip, drip, drip- then what sounds like multiple drips simultaneously- dr-dr-DRIP, silence for a while, then the pattern repeats.

Based on the uniform sound, night and day, I think we can rule out animals, insects, wind, hot water in pipes (those sounds would be transient). I almost think at this point we can rule out water. If water was accumulating at the rate we hear dripping it should have made itself known by now as a stain on the ceiling. I'm leaning more toward air duct expansion/contraction at this point. We had a new whole house heat pump system installed last February, this is the first winter we have used the heat. It's a 5 ton system with very powerful fan at high speed, temperature from the vents is about 105F. I don't know the maximum temperature produced by our previous gas system. Noises started some time in late December or early January because we initially we thought it was distant fireworks related to New Year's. That also coincides with the coldest weather here.

The good news is that we will eventually have an answer once the weather warms up enough to leave the heat off for a few days. I'm going to try to capture a recording of the sound, though I suspect it is too faint to be picked up by my iPhone. I plan to tape the phone to the ceiling and use the voice memo app.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Mudpuppy »

neowiser wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 12:39 pm Based on the uniform sound, night and day, I think we can rule out animals, insects, wind, hot water in pipes (those sounds would be transient). I almost think at this point we can rule out water. If water was accumulating at the rate we hear dripping it should have made itself known by now as a stain on the ceiling. I'm leaning more toward air duct expansion/contraction at this point. We had a new whole house heat pump system installed last February, this is the first winter we have used the heat. It's a 5 ton system with very powerful fan at high speed, temperature from the vents is about 105F. I don't know the maximum temperature produced by our previous gas system. Noises started some time in late December or early January because we initially we thought it was distant fireworks related to New Year's. That also coincides with the coldest weather here.

The good news is that we will eventually have an answer once the weather warms up enough to leave the heat off for a few days. I'm going to try to capture a recording of the sound, though I suspect it is too faint to be picked up by my iPhone. I plan to tape the phone to the ceiling and use the voice memo app.
It's entirely possible the new system is hotter than your old system. If your thermostat supports this, you might try to set the fan speed lower when in normal heating mode and only use high speed when you need to rapidly warm up the house, like first thing in the morning, and see if that makes a difference in the noise.

And if it is the new heating unit, it might also be the roof and/or ceiling expanding and contracting, particularly if any of your ducts have leaks, or it could be the ducts rubbing against the ceiling/roof joists. You could try scanning the attic with an IR camera while the system is on to see if there are any leaks or obvious heat transfers to the surrounding structure.
oldfatguy wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 12:23 pm Might want to read through one of the all-time great Boglehead threads: viewtopic.php?t=62092
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thought of Cody's thread when reading the subject line for this thread.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Shackleton »

Was the old heating system a traditional furnace? We are renting a house with a heat pump and it makes the most interesting noises — it sounds like someone is tapping under the crawl space. I was having thoughts of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”. Then I read somewhere that heat pumps make odd tapping/clicking noises. Maybe that is what you are hearing but for some reason the acoustics in your house make it sound like a drip?
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by helwardman »

Is the dripping sound in the vicinity of your TV?
I bought a new TV a few months ago, and when on standby, it makes a faint tapping sound that sounds like dripping. I believe the sound is generated by the TV power supply.

The sound goes away when the TV is taken out of standby mode, or is unplugged.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by gmc4h232 »

Are your gutters full of debris and you're hearing water slowly dripping down the downspout?
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neowiser
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by neowiser »

Mudpuppy wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 9:35 pm It's entirely possible the new system is hotter than your old system. If your thermostat supports this, you might try to set the fan speed lower when in normal heating mode and only use high speed when you need to rapidly warm up the house, like first thing in the morning, and see if that makes a difference in the noise.

And if it is the new heating unit, it might also be the roof and/or ceiling expanding and contracting, particularly if any of your ducts have leaks, or it could be the ducts rubbing against the ceiling/roof joists. You could try scanning the attic with an IR camera while the system is on to see if there are any leaks or obvious heat transfers to the surrounding structure.
This weekend I’m going to put the Ring stick up camera in the crawl space that has a vent near the source of the sound. The camera has IR but not great quality. It also records sound, so that might be helpful. It’s still too cold to leave the heat off, frost warnings tonight.

The sound occurs at a distance to the heat pump air handler, but I guess I can’t rule out transfer of sound through the duct. I’m hopeful about recording the sound with the iPhone but need to wait until everyone, including the dog, is out of the house. It’s so sensitive it picks up every creak and movement.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by goldendad »

I have that in my house at times. Been living there 25 years. For a long time I thought a leak would show up. Never has. I am assuming it is the HVAC.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by SimonJester »

heywhoathere wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 6:25 pm
I found a YouTube video where a guy shows that air vents and pipes can make dripping noises due to heat expansion/contraction
I hear a pretty similar sound in my house as well and I've convinced myself that it's this (HVAC duct work expanding). I've been hearing it for 5+ years, so it's either fine or going to be a very expensive problem sooner or later :D
I have the same issue with an air duct, sounds like a water leak,, tick, tick, tick, drip, drip, drip... Been going on for 23 years and only occurs when the heat is running...
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by former_academic80 »

Echoing a couple people - right after I bought my house, I heard something like a dripping sound between the first and second floor under the master bedroom. I had a handyman in to fix an actual leaky window and mentioned that sound.

He ran that water in the master bath for a bit and concluded that he was nearly positive it was the pipes expanding into something (likely insulation).

He said if we ever redid the utility room the hot water heater was in, we could have it fixed maybe.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Watty »

For completeness one easy thing to try is to wait until you are hearing it then have someone turn off all the power to the house to see if it stops. That could help identify if it is maybe a motor or some other electronic device. There could be things like doorbell transformers or powered roof vents that you do not even know about. If that does make a difference then you could trying turning one circuit at a time off and on to see when it starts back up.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by neowiser »

Watty wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 11:03 am For completeness one easy thing to try is to wait until you are hearing it then have someone turn off all the power to the house to see if it stops. That could help identify if it is maybe a motor or some other electronic device. There could be things like doorbell transformers or powered roof vents that you do not even know about. If that does make a difference then you could trying turning one circuit at a time off and on to see when it starts back up.
This is a great idea. I like eliminating all potential sources at once like this, rather than sequentially silencing one electronic device after another.

I can see where this is headed- me sitting alone in the dark, cold house with no water or electricity, listening for what has become my daily torment; drip drip drip. Sometimes I think I hear it when I'm not even in the house.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Audioarc »

After moving into new house I was hearing a dripping type sound at night. It turned out to be the damper in the bathroom fan moving back and forth on its own.it took a while but I figured it out.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by epictetus »

i'll bet it is the ductwork. our makes ticks, tocks, tonks, drip-like sounds sometimes when the heat comes on and for a while after the heat has gone off. different years i notice more noise from some ducts than others.

that is if your ductwork is in the ceiling.

we have a crawlspace so our ductwork is under the house.

also our plumbing make noises after the hot water has been turned on and run through the pipe though not a dripping noise.
Last edited by epictetus on Sat Jan 21, 2023 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by BrightEyes »

Is the drip... drip... drip... at approximately one-second intervals? (Except you did say it has some variation...)

I was recently given an analog clock with a second hand. As I was reading your post, I realized how much it sounds like a quiet, steady, drip from across the room. I am still getting used to having it, so every once in a while, I walk into the area of the clock and think something is dripping. I had another, smaller clock that didn't keep good time, which had an even softer, but less regular tick/drip sound effect.

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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by nedsaid »

I am very curious about what the dripping sound is. I can see this is going to be another epic thread. Sort of like Oak Island but you won't find the Knights Templar hidden treasure. OMG! It could be! It might be! So I will keep tuning into this thread to see what you find. The suspense is amazing.
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neowiser
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by neowiser »

BrightEyes wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 7:51 pm Is the drip... drip... drip... at approximately one-second intervals? (Except you did say it has some variation...)

I was recently given an analog clock with a second hand. As I was reading your post, I realized how much it sounds like a quiet, steady, drip from across the room. I am still getting used to having it, so every once in a while, I walk into the area of the clock and think something is dripping. I had another, smaller clock that didn't keep good time, which had an even softer, but less regular tick/drip sound effect.

Bright Eyes
We have two analog clocks in the room and those were actually my first thought, so I removed the batteries. I’ll have to wait until no one is home to turn off the electricity to the house. I’m hoping to take a look in the second floor crawl space tomorrow that is near the vent. Interestingly, we didn’t notice the dripping last night but we may just be getting used to it. It’s been cold (40s) and windy so the heat has been coming on more frequently. Duct noise is the top theory at this point. I will definitely update with any new information.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by razorbacker »

We have had a dripping sound above the first floor ceiling since we built the house 30 years ago. The sound is PVC drain pipe expanding when someone runs hot water in the upstairs bathroom. Of course, yours could be an actual leak. :happy
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Ithrive »

We just discovered a drip in our space between our basement and first floor also. It only happens after dumping large amounts of water down the kitchen sink. It's loud and ominous...but no crash of the basement ceiling accompanied by a deluge of water...yet. I looked through the crawl space because the ceiling drywall is currently removed (there was an actual leak initially and I cut it all out and replaced it). I called a plumber and he assured me it was likely nothing. He said I'm just hearing more sound because the ceiling drywall is removed. I want to believe him so I believe him. But it's still in the back of my head. Like a pending exam final I'm not studying for. I wish us all the best with this.
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

I'm not sure I've ever heard expansion and contraction sounds that I could rightfully describe as dripping noises. Is that a real thing?
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by beyou »

I spent $ replacing all the 65+ year old pipes we could get to (mostly in basement), due to the periodic pinholes.
The whole time I am thinking about the few pipes we can't see or get to without ripping up the kitchen and baths.

Planning to gut kitchen in next year or two (not bathrooms), so will replace more old pipes.
So that means the bathrooms will be the source of my next leak !
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neowiser
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by neowiser »

razorbacker wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 12:14 am We have had a dripping sound above the first floor ceiling since we built the house 30 years ago. The sound is PVC drain pipe expanding when someone runs hot water in the upstairs bathroom. Of course, yours could be an actual leak. :happy
Our house is all copper pipes except for the new main water line, which is PVC.

I opened the upstairs crawl space and looked at the vent. The vent is a heavily insulated flexible tube that leads to the kitchen. I only saw electrical conduits, no water pipes in that space, so it wasn't a very useful investigation. I didn't hear the noise in that area, even after turning the heat on and off several times. I may have to revisit the possibility that it is an actual water leak, perhaps dripping on something metal that amplifies the sound, then falling into heaps of insulation where it evaporates before reaching the ceiling.

I think I'll give it another week of trying to eliminate sources then have a plumber come to give the bad news of how they might take a look at the pipes. I feel like we need to get just the right person, someone with lots of experience but whose hearing is still good enough to hear the sound clearly.
Marseille07
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Marseille07 »

Is this a SFH, a townhouse or a condo? I've had an issue where my neighbor's furnace piping was making noise in my place.
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Weathering
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Weathering »

razorbacker wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 12:14 am We have had a dripping sound above the first floor ceiling since we built the house 30 years ago. The sound is PVC drain pipe expanding when someone runs hot water in the upstairs bathroom. Of course, yours could be an actual leak. :happy
Is that really a thing (pvc expanding noise)?
I have a noise of ~5 water drips when my washing machine empties its water. No spot on the ceiling has ever appeared and that drain is definitely pvc.
mrc
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by mrc »

Weathering wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 5:29 pm
razorbacker wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 12:14 am We have had a dripping sound above the first floor ceiling since we built the house 30 years ago. The sound is PVC drain pipe expanding when someone runs hot water in the upstairs bathroom. Of course, yours could be an actual leak. :happy

Is that really a thing (pvc expanding noise)?

I have a noise of ~5 water drips when my washing machine empties its water. No spot on the ceiling has ever appeared and that drain is definitely pvc.
It sure is. The PVC vent pipe in our master bathroom emits a series of clicks/taps when we run water through the system. Doesn't have to be hot water. It's usually a toilet flush that provokes the sounds. I can see why some could hear the sound as a drip. I had the ceiling open during a renovation and know right where the stack is and how it's fastened. Otherwise, I might have a phantom dripping post of my own!
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HomeStretch
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by HomeStretch »

In my experience your copper pipes may make a ticking sound (that sounds sort of like dripping) when hot water runs through them if there’s a bit of air in the pipes. But the sound is not constant.

If you suspect a pipe leak that is evaporating into the insulation, try wrapping or wiping the pipes with blue shop paper towels. It’s easy to see any wetness on the blue color.
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