I am a complete novice about plumbing so apologies in advance. Basically I have noticed that, when my central heating warms up I hear what sounds like a dripping noise in the ceiling. This seems to start slow, speed up then slow down. After a few seconds it will start again and so on, as long as the central heating is on. Once I switch off the heating it takes about half an hour for this dripping noise to stop completely. Is this likely to be a leak or is there another explanation?

1 Answer 1


is this likely to be a leak?

If it has been happening for more than a week and there is no sign of water, like a discoloured or damp patch on the ceiling or wall, then no.

is there another explanation?

When pipes heat up, they expand, as they expand they rub against the woodwork or other material they are fixed to. Frctional forces cause the pipe to be trapped until accumulated expansion pressure is enough to overcome friction momentarily. This produces a series of annoying but harmless clicks, taps, knocks or bangs.

  • I may have a similar issue but haven't nailed it down yet. What kind of contractor can be brought in for listening / diagnosing dripping sounds? It would be worth a contractor fee to reassure myself that the sound is harmless if I knew who to ask. Is it an HVAC person or plumbing or general contractor (or other) that would be best-suited?
    – veeTrain
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 19:24

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