Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

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Dude2
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Dude2 »

Bottom line: have you examined vent flaps on the roof?

I have a similar issue, but I have convinced myself that there really is no drip. It just sounds like a drip. My current theory is related to the aluminum flaps they put on roof vents. With just a little wind, it can cause these to vibrate. I had some trouble with a dryer vent flap, and I removed it. Since the vent pipe curves back down, it would be difficult for water to blow back up into there, and I don't think there is much risk in removing these types of flaps.
Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer.
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neowiser
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by neowiser »

**SOLVED!** :sharebeer

Thank you to everyone for your creative and helpful suggestions. I may never have found the cause this quickly if it were not for the suggestions here. My only expense was $150 for the HVAC contractor, and the system was due for a check-up anyway.

I followed the suggestion of @Watty and turned off the electric breaker for the house. Silence at last! This meant the sound must be coming from something in or near the TV console, since the 'dripping' was near that area. I had previously unplugged the surge protector that I thought powered the TV and accessories (sound system, Blu-Ray player, DVR, VCR) and still heard the noise. Unbeknownst to me, the Dish Hopper (DVR) was plugged directly into the wall outlet and hidden from view. The noise disappeared when I unplugged the Hopper. Searching "Dish Hopper noise" turns up lots of tormented people.

The periodicity of the sound that I interpreted as dripping and spilling is probably due to a component that rotates, either a fan or the hard drive. Oddly, I could not hear anything from the Hopper when I put my ear right next to it. It's as though the sound that is emitted is at a frequency that is inaudible but becomes audible when it reflects off the ceiling. Very devious machine! I will contact Dish for a replacement Hopper since this could be a symptom of impending hard drive failure.

I'm surprised at the level of relief I feel now, like finding out I don't need a root canal after all. Again, thanks to everyone for the suggestions!
mrc
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by mrc »

Great news!
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SimonJester
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by SimonJester »

So pretty close to the issue from the other mysterious noise thread... From now on the standard Bogglehead response to strange noise in the house will be power off the house and see if it goes away :D
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nedsaid
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by nedsaid »

neowiser wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:24 pm **SOLVED!** :sharebeer

Thank you to everyone for your creative and helpful suggestions. I may never have found the cause this quickly if it were not for the suggestions here. My only expense was $150 for the HVAC contractor, and the system was due for a check-up anyway.

I followed the suggestion of @Watty and turned off the electric breaker for the house. Silence at last! This meant the sound must be coming from something in or near the TV console, since the 'dripping' was near that area. I had previously unplugged the surge protector that I thought powered the TV and accessories (sound system, Blu-Ray player, DVR, VCR) and still heard the noise. Unbeknownst to me, the Dish Hopper (DVR) was plugged directly into the wall outlet and hidden from view. The noise disappeared when I unplugged the Hopper. Searching "Dish Hopper noise" turns up lots of tormented people.

The periodicity of the sound that I interpreted as dripping and spilling is probably due to a component that rotates, either a fan or the hard drive. Oddly, I could not hear anything from the Hopper when I put my ear right next to it. It's as though the sound that is emitted is at a frequency that is inaudible but becomes audible when it reflects off the ceiling. Very devious machine! I will contact Dish for a replacement Hopper since this could be a symptom of impending hard drive failure.

I'm surprised at the level of relief I feel now, like finding out I don't need a root canal after all. Again, thanks to everyone for the suggestions!
Wow. The suspense is over, we now know the cause of the dripping noise, case settled. Not like finding the hidden Knights Templar treasure but still exciting enough. So now we can all rest easy. Next on the Bogleheads. . .

This type of threads are so much fun.
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student
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by student »

Thanks for the update.
OpenMinded1
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by OpenMinded1 »

Thanks for the update. Glad you got some relief. :D
dknightd
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by dknightd »

:happy :happy :happy
Retired 2019. So far, so good. I want to wake up every morning. But I want to die in my sleep. Just another conundrum. I think the solution might be afternoon naps ;)
Mudpuppy
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Mudpuppy »

neowiser wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:24 pm I'm surprised at the level of relief I feel now, like finding out I don't need a root canal after all. Again, thanks to everyone for the suggestions!
Thanks for the update. Glad to hear that it's solved. And I'm not surprised that it's a high level of relief. Noises have a way of worming into your subconscious and really becoming vexing. Hope you get the new Hopper soon and all is well.
Diluted Waters
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by Diluted Waters »

I'm thrilled to hear it was something so actionable and relatively easy to deal with. A consistent sound to trace, while aggravating, is ideal because it can be correlated with other things and solved scientifically.

We learned a few years ago that our now-former HVAC contractor did not insulate one of the refrigerant pipes in the wall for one of our mini-split head units. The condensation had been dripping down the wall for the better part of 10 years until it finally was showing up *through* the stucco.

"Silent but deadly" is amusing until it's a problem in the house!
BrightEyes
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by BrightEyes »

Huzzah! :sharebeer

Bright Eyes
razorbacker
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by razorbacker »

neowiser wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 5:51 pm
razorbacker wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 1:14 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.

I would assume the copper lines you saw are your hot and cold water supply lines, not your drain lines. Most waste drain lines and waste vent stacks are either cast iron or PVC depending on the age of your house. I guess there are always exceptions, but I've never heard of copper drain lines.
Mudpuppy
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling

Post by Mudpuppy »

razorbacker wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 9:47 pm I would assume the copper lines you saw are your hot and cold water supply lines, not your drain lines. Most waste drain lines and waste vent stacks are either cast iron or PVC depending on the age of your house. I guess there are always exceptions, but I've never heard of copper drain lines.
There are also the dreaded Orangeburg drain pipes in homes that were built in the 1970's and earlier. For most homes past the half-century mark, the Orangeburg pipes have probably long since collapsed and have been replaced, but I watched house after house on my block of 1970's homes bring in plumbers to replace their Orangeburg pipes over the past decade. Luckily, my house was mostly ABS, save for about a dozen feet in between the clean-out pipe and the main sewage hookup, so it wasn't too expensive to deal with when my turn came around.
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sunny_socal
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by sunny_socal »

We have a mysterious dripping sound as well. Our son's room is upstairs and every time he takes a shower we hear "Drip drip drip..." on the ceiling of the room below.

But no wet spot! No way to look in the walls. I'm assuming the shower pan or drain weren't properly installed and there is indeed a drip but the water dries up each day before doing damage. *shrug*
mrc
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Re: Mysterious dripping sound in ceiling **SOLVED!**

Post by mrc »

sunny_socal wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 10:36 pm We have a mysterious dripping sound as well. Our son's room is upstairs and every time he takes a shower we hear "Drip drip drip..." on the ceiling of the room below.

But no wet spot! No way to look in the walls. I'm assuming the shower pan or drain weren't properly installed and there is indeed a drip but the water dries up each day before doing damage. *shrug*
Or, a PVC DWV [drain, waste, vent] pipe — expanding ever so slightly — rubs on an adjacent floor joist or wall plate.
By the time you know enough to choose a good financial adviser, you don't need one. | bogleheads.org is my advisor: The ER is 0.0% and the advice always solid.
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