I poked a hole into the drywall in my house using a hand awl. After I finished the hole, I hear a hissing sound coming from the hole. It seems like I may have punctured a duct or worse electrical wiring. This was in a 4inch thick wall in an upstairs bedroom, surrounding a built-in closet. If I put a tissue in front of the hole it does not seem to blow enough to push out the tissue. But if I put my finger over the hole I can not hear the sound (and maybe feel some slight air pressure? if so it is very faint.)

It seems like I will need to have someone with experience come and look at the hole. Any suggestions on what might have happened, and who to call?

  • 2
    Nothing can be discerned from the video. Electric wiring will not "hiss". Unless you have a camera probe that can fit in that hole, you need to open the wall to actually see what is going on.
    – RMDman
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 19:37
  • 1
    Turn off the AC fan, is it still hissing
    – Traveler
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 19:42
  • There is no AC fan right now. It could be a dishwasher currently running. The heat is on but no air is coming from vents..
    – Bernie2436
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 19:43
  • 1
    Hissing might be from water supply line or a gas line, but unlikely in a wall between bedroom and closet, but would need the makeup of the house. Turn off the main water valve and/or gas valve and see if hissing stops.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 19:57
  • 3
    DO YOU SMELL GAS? If so, leave the building immediately, stay outside, and call the emergency services (911 in US).
    – Armand
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


I would guess that some air is coming out of ductwork in the wall and hissing through the awl hole. Unless you pounded the awl into the wall with a hammer, it's very unlikely that you created a hole in a metal duct -- the air flow is simply leaking through joints in the ductwork.


Update: I had an experienced plumbing/HVAC person come out for a consult. They said there was no gas odor and no water leak, so it did not seem to be cause for concern. They offered to open up the drywall for $200 to confirm but suggested we just patch it. We paid a $30 consultation fee. I will just spackle the hole.

  • 1
    I'm thinking the sound is always present under certain conditions but by poking the hole you became aware of it. It's likely water running through the plumbing or even air moving through the ducts, but not necessarily a leak. It could have been the sound of the dishwasher running coming up through the cavity between the studs or something like that too.
    – gnicko
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 16:26
  • 1
    No gas leak and no water leak is good. However, did you puncture a duct? If so, there's no guarantee that simply putting some spackle in the hole will quiet the hissing and it will not fix the hole in the duct. Be prepared to open up a larger hole in the wall and apply some duct tape (actual foil duct tape, not "duck tape" - the stuff with a light side, dark side and holds the universe together) then patch the hole in the wall.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 16:50

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