When I put my central heating on and I sit in my living room there sounds to be something dripping coming from my ceiling. The drip sound can be slow then speed up a little, then it stops only to start again. I cannot see any evidence of water on my ceiling but the noise of the drip worries me therefore I turn my heating off and the drip stops. Is this something to worry about? Can it be easily fixed as I would like to get rid of the drip sound?

  • what kind of heating system do you have? If it's steam -> the sound is perfectly ok
    – Steve V
    Jan 22, 2012 at 11:11
  • it's just a gas central heating system if that is what you mean, sorry I'm a total numpty with the central heating.
    – minime
    Jan 22, 2012 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


My guess is that it's a vent pipe from your heating system that's resting against a part of the wood joist in your ceiling. As the vent heats up, it expands, and the expansion causes a dripping like sound as it slips and sticks against the joist. If this is the case, it will start slow when the heating cycle begins, speeds up as the hot air starts to come out of the vent, and then slow down to a near stop when the heating cycle has been going on for a while.

The same thing can happen with plumbing drain lines. I hear it all the time when the dishwasher dumps the hot water.

  • Thank you for your comments. BMitch, that sounds just like it, I will stop panicking about it now Cheers.
    – minime
    Jan 22, 2012 at 15:48
  • I've gotten the same expansion/contraction noises from a hot water pipe, where it runs through and rubs against floor joists. Once I knew what it was. I knew that fixing it was more trouble than it was worth, so as with the occasion creaky floorboard I've just gotten used to it and almost never notice it now.
    – keshlam
    Feb 29 at 19:23

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