Do Your Hear a Dripping Sound In The Wall? (Here's Why!)

Benjamin Wright
by Benjamin Wright
Dripping sounds behind the wall are irritating and a cause for concern. This can happen for several reasons, but it often happens when pipes expand and contract. Whether it be a roof or pipe leak, let’s take a look at what you can do when you hear a dripping sound in your walls.

If you are wondering whether you should be worried about a dripping sound behind your wall, the short answer is yes. There aren’t any good reasons for water to be dripping behind your wall. Furthermore, water damage can be very serious and can prove quite troublesome to homeowners. If you hear a dripping sound in the wall, it is crucial to get the problem fixed as quickly as possible.

The dripping sound in your wall may be pipes that are expanding and contracting, or it may be water dripping into the interior portions of your walls. If you hear a dripping sound in your wall, assess the source of the sound and the damage early to avoid extra cost and complication.

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Reasons for Dripping Sound in Wall

Narrowing down the source of a dripping sound behind a wall can be a daunting process for many. The problem can be minor or serious, but it most commonly is more serious.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning units are sometimes known for causing dripping sounds behind walls. This happens when the runoff from the unit is not properly routed to an outdoor exit point. Some installers will attempt to drain the A/C unit into the houses main sewer line. As the water drips into the pipe, the sound is often audible inside the home.


Another common cause for a dripping sound in a wall is condensation. This happens when pipes are forced to change temperature rapidly. So, condensation is more commonly an issue in the winter and summer months. When condensation is responsible for a dripping sound in a wall, the drips that you will hear are infrequent and irregular.

Roof Leak

Roof leaks can also cause dripping behind walls. In fact, apart from leaky pipes, leaky roofs are the most common cause of water dripping into the walls of a house.

It is difficult to determine where exactly the water is coming from when a leaky roof is to blame. However, the leak is caused by precipitation. So, that can be a good indicator as to what the source of the problem may be. If the dripping sound follows a rainstorm, it is likely that you are looking at a roof repair.

Leaky Pipes

One of the most common causes of a dripping sound behind a wall is a leaky pipe. Identifying the source of the problem is often a process of elimination. Run certain faucets in your home while others are off. Repeat the process until you get a change in the pattern and frequency of the leaks.

When leaky pipes are the source of the problem, it is also common to hear dripping near-certain plumbing features, such as toilets, showers, sink, etc.


To locate the cause of the problem, there are a few things that you can check.

Common Symptoms

The best way to find the source of your problem is to consider the type of leak that you are hearing, how often the sound occurs, and at what times you hear the sound. Also important are any external signs of water damage, the smell of mold or mildew, and soft spots in your wall.

Drip Pattern

The pattern of the drips behind your wall can tell you a lot about the source. Always remember to listen carefully for patterns at different times throughout the day and under different conditions, as doing so will provide you with valuable clues.

For example, a dripping sound that begins quickly and lasts for a couple of minutes before tapering off may likely be caused by expanding pipes. The same symptom can be caused by water that is pooled up. As the pool of water builds up, it ‘releases’ the excess water in a series of fast drips before slowing down eventually.

Drips that are continual and have a constant speed are often the result of a leak in a pipe. However, even drips resulting from leaky pipes can have variances in their drip patterns. When the dripping sound behind a wall is caused by a leaky pipe, it is common for the issue to present itself when certain pipes are used.

Time of Day/Night

The time of day or night when the drips can be heard can also be an indicator as to what the source of the problem might be. There are many things that run on a schedule, including water softeners, HVAC systems, and A/C units.

At times, systems like these can produce condensation and some even require drainage for that runoff.

Pay close attention to when the various systems in and around your home operate and compare those times with the dripping sounds that you hear behind your wall.

Plumbing Use

Apart from the pattern of the drip and the possibility of the dripping sound coming from an appliance, it is also possible that it is coming from a pipe that is connected to a specific faucet, shower, washing machine, or anything similar.

If the source of dripping is caused by a pipe, the problem can often be narrowed down by turning on and off certain taps and appliances and listening changes to drip pattern and frequency.

One way that you can know for sure is to turn off the main water valve leading into the house and then opening every faucet in the house. This can relieve all the pressure in the pipes and will drain them as a result.

Signs of Damage

One of the clearest indications of a water leak behind your wall is water damage. Water damage caused by a water leak can take on different appearances. The materials that were used to construct the walls of a home and how long the problem has been going on for can both have an impact on how damaging water can be.

Staining and discoloration are often evident along corners and edges of a wall. Other signs of damage include crumbling plaster and drywall, mold growth, and more. Warping can also be an indicator, as can be a musty smell.

Cost of Repairing a Drip Behind a Wall

The costs associated with fixing a drip behind a wall can be as varied as the source of the problem can be.

If the dripping sound is caused by a leaky pipe, plumbers can fix the pipe for you. Costs associated with this type of work ranges from $500 to $1,000, depending on state and city. You will, however, need to factor in the price for the wall repair as well, which is something that a plumber will not usually do.

If the dripping sound is caused by something other than a leaky pipe, it is possible to have the problem fixed for much less. If it is an A/C unit condensation runoff issue, for example, could run you anywhere from $50 to $200 to solve the problem, whereas a leak originating from a leaky roof could cost as much as $900.

Related Questions

Is it OK to ignore a dripping sound in my wall?

No, it is not recommended to ignore a dripping sound in your wall. Whether the drips are frequent or rare, the fact that water is dripping at all is usually a sign that something is wrong. Checking and fixing pipes is a fairly straightforward process and doing so can save you a lot of time and effort in the end.

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How can I know if the pipes behind my wall are dripping?

One easy way to find out if the pipes behind your wall are the source of the dripping sound is to listen for the dripping sound under different circumstances. If the dripping sound can be heard when there is no rain outside, chances are good that the leak is coming from a pipe.

To be sure, turn off the water main and then open all the taps in the house. This should do two things: stop water flow from coming into your home and relieve the pressure in your pipes. If the dripping sound is caused by a leak in the pipes, the sound should stop after you have done this.

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Benjamin Wright
Benjamin Wright

Benjamin is a proud homeowner who loves to write about DIY projects and home improvement projects. Traveling, perfecting his home, and spending time with his family are just a few of the many things that keep him inspired.

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