Clicking in the Walls: Is It Harmless or a Serious Problem

A man listening clicking sounds in the Walls

Got clicking sounds in your walls? You’re not alone! Don’t ignore them – discover the top 8 reasons behind it and find solutions to address any underlying issues. From pests, plumbing problems, and structural damage to more everyday explanations, this article will uncover all you need to know about those mysterious wall clicks. Learn how you can diagnose what’s causing yours now!

Reason 1: Pest infestation

mouse in the wall

Pests such as rodents or insects can create clicking sounds in walls due to their movement and activity within the walls.

  • Rodents like mice or rats can create clicking sounds as they scurry through the walls, running along pipes or gnawing on wood. Their sharp claws and teeth and persistent gnawing can create clicking or scratching sounds as they move through the walls.
  • Insects can cause harm to your home without you ever seeing them. Termites and carpenter ants use their powerful mandibles to chew through walls leading to structural damage and making clicking sounds. Even less-obtrusive creatures like beetles or crickets make noise as they scuttle around within wall cavities – a clicking sound that may become more apparent during quiet nights.

It’s important to note that the clicking sounds can vary depending on the type of pest, the size of the infestation, and the location of the infestation within the walls.

Pest infestation signs:

  • Droppings: Rodents and insects will leave droppings behind, which can be used to identify the type of pest.
  • Damage: Pests can cause damage to walls, floors, and furniture. Look for gnaw marks, holes, and chewed-through materials.
  • Odors: Pests can produce strong odors that can indicate an infestation.
  • Sightings: Seeing the pests themselves or evidence of their presence, such as nests or shed skins.
  • Noise: Pests such as rodents or insects can create clicking sounds in walls due to their movement and activity within the walls.

Ignoring a pest infestation can lead to dangerous consequences for your property and health. To ensure safety, addressing the issue quickly before things escalate is critical. If you’re unsure how best to handle the problem or if it has reached an alarming level, consult a professional pest control service for expert guidance and intervention.

Reason 2: Plumbing

Plumber working

Types of plumbing issues that can cause clicking sounds in walls:

  • A water hammer happens when a valve is shut quickly. This makes a shockwave go through the pipes. You might hear a loud clicking or ticking sound. For example, if you turn off the water to your washing machine and hear a loud sound from the wall, it could be a water hammer.
  • Expansion and contraction of the pipes: The metal will expand or contract as the water heats up or cools down inside the pipes. This can cause a ticking or clicking noise. For example, if you hear a ticking noise in your walls when you turn on your hot water, it could be caused by the pipes expanding as they heat up.
  • Loose pipes can create clicking or ticking sounds as they rub against wood or other materials in the walls. For example, if you hear a ticking noise when your water is running, and you suspect it’s coming from your walls, a pipe may be loose and rubbing against the wall.
  • Mineral buildup: When minerals build up inside pipes, it can make it harder for water to flow. This might cause a ticking or clicking sound as the water tries to flow through the restricted area. So, if you hear a ticking noise when you turn on your faucet and think it’s coming from your pipes, it could be because of mineral buildup inside the pipes.
  • Water pressure that is too high: If you’re hearing a ticking or knocking noise when using your faucet, it could be caused by an issue with the water pressure in your pipes. An excessive amount of pressure can have damaging consequences on both the plumbing fixtures and piping system!

Identifying plumbing issues in the wall:

  • Leaks: Look for any visible signs of water leaks, such as water stains on walls or ceilings or a constant sound of running water.
  • Strange noises: Clicking, ticking, or banging from your walls or pipes can indicate a plumbing issue.
  • Wall or ceiling damage: Warping, bulging, or discoloration on walls or ceilings can indicate a plumbing issue within the walls.
  • Unpleasant odors: An unpleasant smell from the walls can indicate a plumbing issue.
  • Unexpected water or dampness: Unexpected water or dampness on the walls or floors can indicate a plumbing issue within the walls.
  • Unusual or frequent leaks: Frequent leaks in the wall can indicate a plumbing issue, such as a pipe burst.

It’s important to note that clicking or ticking noise in the walls can also be a sign of more serious issues, such as a leak or a clogged pipe, so it’s recommended to get it checked by a plumber if you suspect it’s coming from your pipes. The plumber will be able to diagnose the problem and provide an appropriate solution.

Reason 3: Heating and cooling systems

Heating system

An example of a specific cause of clicking sounds in the wall related to the heating system could be the expansion and contraction of metal ductwork as it heats up and cools down. As the metal ductwork expands, it may rub against other components in the system or against the structure of the building, which can create a clicking sound.

Additionally, if the heating system uses a valve to regulate the flow of hot water or steam, the valve opening and closing could create a clicking sound as well.

Additionally, if the thermostat controlling the heating system is faulty or loose, it can cause clicking sound when it tries to turn on or off the system.

How To Identify Heating & Cooling Issues 

Common signs and symptoms that indicate there may be an issue with your heating and cooling system include fluctuating temperatures throughout the house; an increase in energy bills; water pooling around the unit; musty odors coming from the vents; or visible rust or corrosion on any parts of the unit or ductwork. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to immediately contact a professional HVAC technician to inspect your system for potential damage or repairs.

Why Regular HVAC Maintenance Matters 

Regular HVAC maintenance is key for preventing heating and cooling issues before they arise. A professional technician will inspect all components of your system—including ductwork, thermostats, compressors, and filters—and look for any potential problems before they become more serious (and more expensive) over time. In addition to regularly inspecting your system, you should replace filters every 3 months to keep your system running efficiently for years to come.  

Reason 4: Electrical systems

Electrician working

Signs of Electrical Issues 

Before we delve into why switches or outlets can create clicking sounds in walls, let’s look at some common signs of electrical issues. Some of these include flickering lights, intermittent power outages, excessive heat from wall sockets or light fixtures, a burning smell from wall sockets or light fixtures, sparking when plugging something in, circuit breakers tripping frequently, and buzzing or humming noise coming from your walls. Any of these signs could indicate an electrical issue and should not be ignored.

How Switches & Outlets Can Create Clicking Sounds 

So why do switches and outlets create clicking sounds? It’s typically due to loose wiring connections inside the wall. As wires loosen over time (sometimes due to vibrations caused by appliances or furniture), they can come into contact with each other resulting in an arcing effect that produces a loud clicking sound. In some cases, those loose wires may even spark, leading to potential damage or fire hazards if left unchecked. Even outdated wiring can cause arcing, leading to clicks as current jumps from one wire to another inside the wall. 

What To Do?

Suppose you hear occasional clicking noises coming from your walls. In that case, taking action is important, as this could indicate a potentially dangerous situation due to loose wiring connections or outdated wiring. The best course of action is always to call in a professional electrician who can inspect your home for any potential issues before they become too serious. They will also be able to repair any problems found quickly and safely, so you don’t have anything else to worry about!

Reason 5: Structural movement

Crack in the wall

Diagnosing Structural Issues Causing Clicking or Creaking Sounds in Walls

The first step in determining whether the clicking or creaking sound you’re hearing is due to a structural issue is to check for any visible cracks in the walls, floors, and ceilings. If there are any visible cracks, then it’s likely that the structure has shifted and is causing the noise you hear. Other signs indicating a structural issue include doors sticking (especially at one corner) and windows that no longer open and close easily. In addition, if you feel an unusual amount of movement when walking around your home, this could also be an indication of a structural problem.  

Once you have determined that there is a structural issue causing the clicking or creaking sounds in your walls, it’s important to figure out what type of structural element may be responsible for the noise. For example, if there are visible gaps between two pieces of drywall, then it’s likely that shifting drywall panels are causing the noise when they rub against each other as the house moves. On the other hand, if there are noticeable gaps between framing members (e.g., studs), then this could also contribute to the noise when those pieces move against each other. 

What To Do?

Identifying which elements may be responsible for the noise, it’s also important to note where exactly on your walls and ceilings these noises are coming from. This will help narrow down which parts of your home need further investigation and inspection by a professional contractor or engineer who can provide more detailed advice about how best to address any underlying issues causing these sounds. 

Reason 6: Weather-related


Temperature Changes 

Temperature changes are one of the most common causes of clicking sounds in walls. When a wall is exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations, the wood can expand and contract, creating a clicking sound. This is particularly common during the winter months when temperatures drop significantly overnight. To help reduce the risk of temperature-related clicking sounds in walls, consider adding insulation or caulking to regulate indoor temperatures better. 


High humidity levels can also cause clicking sounds in walls due to the expansion and contraction of the material. Wood expands when it absorbs moisture from the air, making it more likely to click against other objects or materials within that wall, such as metal or plastic piping. To reduce the risk of humidity-related issues causing clicking noises in your walls, ensure that you have an adequate ventilation system installed throughout your home. Additionally, ensure all windows and doors remain closed to limit excessive moisture entering your home. 


Finally, high winds can also create clicking noises in walls due to pressure being exerted on them from outside sources such as trees or other buildings nearby. This type of pressure can cause objects within a wall (e.g., pipes) to press against other surfaces, which may result in a clicking noise being emitted from within that wall itself. To prevent this issue, ensure that any trees near your home are trimmed regularly and any loose items are removed from around its perimeter (e.g., garbage cans). Additionally, keeping windows and doors closed whenever possible will help reduce the pressure placed on your home’s exterior walls by strong winds outside.

Reason 7: Vibrations

Garbage truck in the city

Types of Vibrations That Can Cause Clicking Sounds 

The most common vibrations that can cause clicking sounds are those created by nearby construction activities or heavy vehicles. For example, if a large truck drives by your home, its weight and speed can create powerful vibrations that travel through the ground and into your walls. Similarly, construction happening close by (such as drilling) can cause vibrations to travel through the ground and make noise in your walls. 

Identifying Issues Related to Vibrations 

If you think that vibrations may be causing clicking sounds in your walls, there are a few signs and symptoms you should look out for. Firstly, have you recently noticed an increase in traffic flow near your home? Are there any construction activities taking place nearby? If so, these could be potential causes for the noises you hear. Secondly, does the noise happen more at certain times of day than others? This could indicate that it has something to do with a vehicle or construction activity near your home. Finally, does the noise seem to originate from one specific wall? If so, this could mean it is caused by external vibrations rather than an internal issue.

Reason 8: Outside animals

crow on the roof

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 makes 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. Scrutiny of your home’s inner and outer areas will confirm whether there has been wildlife activity.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, clicking sounds in walls can be caused by various issues, including temperature changes, humidity, wind, and vibrations. It is important to identify the source of these noises as soon as possible so that you can take steps to reduce or eliminate them. If you cannot pinpoint the cause yourself, it may be wise to consult an engineer with experience dealing with such matters. Ultimately, being aware of potential sources for clicking noises in your walls will help ensure that any underlying problems causing them are addressed quickly and effectively before they worsen over time.

Related article:

Loud Water Pipes in Apartment: How to Get Some Peace and Quiet

9 Surefire Signs of a Squirrel Problem in Your Walls

Don’t Guess, Identify: How to Tell What Animal is in Your Wall?

Can My Neighbors Hear Me: How to Keep Your Home Quiet

Tapping Sound in Wall: Is It Pests, HVAC, or Something Else?

Quiet Hours: What is Considered Excessive Noise in an Apartment?

Zoltan Szatmari

Zoltan is a test and industrial engineer from Europe who loves learning anything new and working on small projects. When he is not working, he is usually hiking or going to the cinema.

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