Why do I Hear Clicking in my Wall?


If you have been hearing clicking sounds that come from inside your walls, it is probably driving you crazy by now, especially at night. These unexplained sounds can be a cause of great apprehension, and they can even make you and the people you care about to lose your minds due to paranoia. If ‘haunted house’ was one of the things you were afraid might be the source of your troubles, you can rest easy. You are not living in a haunted house. However, these clicking sounds definitely have a reason behind them, and this article will look at just that.

So, what exactly causes the clicking in your wall? It varies from house to house and location to location. A few of the most common ones are pests, the swaying of trees, the presence of outside animals around your home, plumbing problems, heating issues, and electrical issues.

That said, of all of these factors, the leading cause of clicking sounds inside walls is the presence of pests. Generally speaking, the bigger your pest problems, the louder the noise will be. There are several signs you need to look out for if you want to know whether or not you have a pest problem. However, when in doubt, the safest route to take is to hire the services of an exterminator. They will do a thorough investigation of your house and try to pinpoint the source of the noise. If they find no pest problem, they can also advise you on what your next steps should be. Here is a closer look at what causes clicking sounds in walls, along with an in-depth look at each underlying cause and how you can solve them.

1. Pests

This is perhaps the most common cause of clicking noises in your walls. Rustling, tapping or clocking sounds within your walls may indicate the presence of termites or carpenter ants. These may make hollows in the wood in your nests in the process of making nests, especially in areas where the wood may have been damaged by water.

Note that the sounds produced by carpenter ants is how they communicate with each other. Therefore, you need to call the exterminator, who will the use a stethoscope to listen to this sound, locate those pesky pests, and eradicate them.

Other pests like racoons, birds, mice and squirrels have been known to reside in attics and cause noises. You can be sure this is the problem if you get telltale signs such as excrement or funky smells in your attic. Squirrels are known to be timely creatures, as they keep a tight agenda, meaning their presence is only heard at certain times of the day, particularly as they are coming and going. They are quick, so pay attention to the sound you hear.

If a raccoon is causing you sleepless nights, it is easy to know. Raccoons are particularly noisy creatures that make their presence known. What makes them easy to identify is their slow movements and heavy steps. They are nocturnal, so their sounds can be heard mostly at night. When they enter attics looking for shelter, they tend to create clicking and tapping sounds as the tear at ductwork and dig into insulation. Removal or raccoons should only be done by professionals.

Mice and rats have a tendency of making homes in the attic, and the first signs you should pick are digging and chewing. They can be heard running down the walls, especially during the night when it’s quieter, or when they leave their shelter to look for food. You can hear repeated digging and scratching when they are building their nests. These sounds can be either loud or faint, but it depends on the acoustics and architecture of your house. Call the experts and enquire on removal services.

After you are done evicting pests, you have to look for all openings and seal them off to prevent the occurrence of something similar. Do not let the cycle continue. To fill small gaps, use a simple and effective method like expanding spray sealants. You also need to check hidden areas like under showers and tubs, if possible. This is because many builders tend to seal off openings under drain assemblies in an unproper manner. However, if you don’t find anything, and the noise still persists, you could set traps or call the exterminator.

2. Swaying of trees

When the wind blows at night, tree branches may have been rubbing against the roofing or siding all along, causing you unnecessary panic. Proximity is the keyword here: carefully check the building is to trees. It is important that you prune the branches near the walls or roofing to allow a space of 8 to 12 feet from external surfaces. This can also help prevent animals from using the branches as a bridge to get to your house in future. See, you will have killed two birds with one stone.

Another explanation for the clicking sounds is the shedding by oak or nut-bearing trees. At night, a stiff breeze may cause these trees to lose nuts and acorns from twigs, sometimes hitting the house.

The sound can also be caused by the tugging and swaying of wires, cables and satellite dishes above the ground that attach to rooflines and siding of homes. You can get rid of these sounds by getting an electrician or cable technician check the attachment and penetration points, and make adjustments or repairs where necessary.

3. Outside animals

At times, the clicking sounds you hear outside can be caused by the wildlife outside, and this is because of the way houses are constructed. This means that even the tiniest sounds can be conducted from external surfaces to inner areas, creating the illusion that the sources of the sounds are close by.

For example, a crow rubbing its beak on the rain gutter make a sound similar to clicking inside the attic. A squirrel scampering around on the roof could make you believe it was rushing through the attic. Careful scrutiny of the inner and outer areas of your home will confirm whether or not there have been wildlife activity.

4. Heating

Another cause for the repetitive clicking sound in your wall and ceiling could be the expansion and contraction of metal ductwork whose job is to conduct ventilation through the voids. When metal is heated, it expands. When the furnace stops pumping hot air through the system, the metal cools down and contracts. A brace could also be at fault if it does not properly secure the heat duct.

You should call a licensed air conditioning and heating contractor to inspect the system and identify the cause of the clicking sound.

5. Plumbing

Likewise, a water heater, if any, can make a ticking or clicking sound when warming its contents. Thermal expansion of copper or polyvinyl pipes causes them to pop when hot water passes through them. The sound may be made again when the pipes contract and return to room temperature.

The clicking sound you have been hearing could have been caused by the pipe rubbing against a joist or stud as it expands or contracts. Then, the sound is conducted along the copper pipes running through the walls. The solution to this problem is replacing the clamps securing the pipe to the framing.

6. Electrical

Audible popping or clicking sounds in the wall near or behind an electrical outlet may point to a problem with the wiring. There could be a loose wire or even a broken connection. Bonus points if the noises are accompanied by flickering of appliances plugged into wall outlets. For example, if your television or lamp keeps dimming randomly, something must be amiss. Other indications could be the inability to turn off devices plugged into the outlet, or even getting shocked when inserting a plug into the wall outlet.

You should, therefore, locate and turn off the breaker to the outlet. Call a qualified electrician to inspect it to avoid potential electrical fires in future.

Final Thoughts

A common reason for clicking inside the walls is a rodent infestation. There are several signs that you can look out for if you want to know whether or not you have an infestation, such as rodent droppings near food packages, under the sink and in drawers and cupboards, and also nesting materials like shredded paper, dried plant matter, or fabric lying in and around the house.

Sometimes, the clicking might be coming from your vents. If this is the case, the popping and ticking sounds are very likely to be caused by expansion and contraction of duct hangers. You can reduce this noise or stop it completely by using rubber or foam pieces. Place these pieces between the duct and hangers to muffle and get rid of the sounds. Alternatively, insulating the ducts can also be a great idea.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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