central heating pipes ticking/clicking

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by mckeaj, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. mckeaj

    mckeaj New Member

    Hi All, hope you can offer some help with my problem.

    Weve recently bought a house that was built in 95. The probelm we have is that there is a ticking or clicking noise coming from the walls.

    I've read alot that it is expansion and contraction of the pipes as they warm or cool but ours has the following symptoms.

    Its just the downstaors walls.
    Nothing from the floors uptairs
    it occurs as soon the boiler and pump kicks in
    it continues even when fully upto temp
    it doesnt do it when cooling down
    its in ever wall with a radiator

    It makes me think that its not expansion as it does it when it first kicks in and heat cant have gotten to it that quick, continues and doenst do it when coolign down.

    Saying that I'm no plumber :)

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. tom.plum

    tom.plum Screwfix Select

    I'm assuming that your pipes feeding the radiators are behind the dry lining, If the plasterer has 'dapped 'his adesive onto the pipes, this will prevent them from moving with expantion and cause this ticking you are hearing.
  3. mckeaj

    mckeaj New Member

    Thanks for your response Tom, yes it is in the dry lining, Apartly its only been doing it for 18 months. not from when it was done in 95. would this follow your idea?
  4. Crowsfoot

    Crowsfoot Well-Known Member

    Always difficcult to diagnosis this type of noise. However, going on past experience the sort of ticking noise that you are experiencing is most likely from an internally worn radiator valve.
    May be just the one valve causing this - but if you cannot home in on the noise source changing all of the radiator valves is a woth while option..
    Don't bother with TRVs (they are rubbish) either; just replace them with manual ones.!
  5. tom.plum

    tom.plum Screwfix Select

    hi, ( scatches head), if you've only just moved in, how do you know it has't happened all the time ?, maybe you asked the previous owner ?, ok, some times a thing can be happening and go unnoticed until someone says" hey whats that ticking",, anyrode, it could also be a rad valve as tappy suggests, or the rad its self,
    my advice, turn the telly up,
  6. G Brown

    G Brown New Member

    or turn the heating off
  7. mckeaj

    mckeaj New Member

    I've asked :)
  8. mckeaj

    mckeaj New Member

    Thats great, thanks for the advice.I may aswell swap them all.

    Sorry if this is a stupid question but if i turned each radiator off one by one would this reveal the faulty one by the process of elimiation or is than not how these things work?
  9. Crowsfoot

    Crowsfoot Well-Known Member

    Yes, that sounds like a good idea to me and well worth a go..
  10. mckeaj

    mckeaj New Member

    just thought i'd mention, wether cold or upto heat, when the pump kicks in the ticking goes nuts.
  11. proff

    proff New Member

    Could obviously be the pump causing the ticking, water is a good conductor of sound, or pulses from the pump moving pipe that is not secured adequately. ;)
  12. antsals

    antsals New Member

    DId you ever sort this problem?

    I have the exact same problem at the moment. The house is ten years old we moved into it 18 months ago, and when the heating is on and especially when it goes off it's like the top of the wall near the ceiling the plasterboard clicks / ticks.

    I had been told it will be the wood joist and the copper pipe rubbing, but I have the problem where the pipes don't go near a joist and you can hear it clicking. Again it's all dot and dab plasterboard on the downstairs walls.

    The pipe is clipped to the wall with plastic clips but to protect against the wall it has been placed against a piece of plastic sheeting. Then dot and dab plasterboard over the top.

    Anyone any ideas?
  13. graceland

    graceland New Member

    Could be some loose solder from when it was installed
  14. Hi Ant sals

    From cold 10degC to 70degC copper expands lengthwise 1mm per m (coefficient of expansion is actually expressed as mm/m/degC and this 1mm per m is an approximate close estimation.

    If there is a "solid anchor point" that totally prevents the pipe from moving it will expand away from that point. The ticking noise that is caused by expansion is actually the noise you get when a pipe is semi gripped and the linear expansion excerts enough pressure to "push" the pipe through the clip and when it does it makes the click sound. When the pipe cools the reverse happens.

    Thus in "critical" situations the pipe could be moving just enough to cause the clicking with every little change in temperature. If you put an anchor point at each end of the pipe the expansion will simply cause the pipe to "buckle" so dont do that.

    from a technical point of view, pipes need to be correctly anchored so that the expansion can be controlled, be that with slide guides or hoop guides etc, in most domestic situations this doesn't really matter but when you get to medium sized buildings this becomes a problem that needs specialist help, and then you get steam systems in hospitals, now that gets real serious...........

    As the other posters say, it may well be other causes and only an experienced person actually listening and "seeing" the installation can really determine the reason behind the clicks, have you checked for hidden dolphins?


    Steve Richards likes this.
  15. antsals

    antsals New Member

    I appreciate the answer it makes sense....I'm going to unclog the pipe felt it clip it back cover with plastic strip or plaplastic trunking and plaster over it.

    That sound like a good plan?

  16. harrisjohnpaul

    harrisjohnpaul New Member

    dolphins are too big for 15 mm pipe
  17. Chris Hamilton

    Chris Hamilton New Member

    I'm having this problem too but I've hit an issue where the pipe disappears through a joist and under some fitted wardrobes where I can no longer get under the floor to trace it further. Does anyone have any ideas short of tearing a hole in the ceiling in the room below to get at the pipe?
  18. Wandango

    Wandango New Member

    Hi I'm having the same issue with ticking in the ceiling of a single story extension, the plaster board used was the foil backed type with approx 300mm of loft insulation, there is no pipe work in the ceiling and the noise only happens at night when the heating is on, the extension has been built for 2 years but we are only experiencing the noise for the past month or so, there has been some movement in the ceiling i.e. plaster board screws popping through so I have flicked off these bits of plaster and tightened the screws up and also added more in the area where the ticking is being experienced, below this ceiling is a radiator and a tv although the pipework for this is running down a wall in the original house and through a stud wall,

    Any suggestions?

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