Popping Sound in House Walls – What’s This and How to Fix?

You are very excited because you have finally made it to move into your dream house. The house is spectacular in every possible way and form, and you can’t wait to host your family and friends. After you have set up the house, at least what you could for the first day, you slump into bed. And that’s when you start hearing popping sounds in the walls. It’s a scary experience considering the many movies about haunted houses you have watched.

In this article, we look at why houses make popping sounds in the walls and, at times, ceilings. Our aim is to demystify the idea that popping sounds in house walls are made by spirits coming from the dead. It is a natural occurrence in almost all houses, and there is no reason why yours should give you the creeps or make you feel unsafe in your own home.

Causes of popping sound in walls

There are many reasons why your house walls can make a popping sound, especially at night. Some of the reasons are very natural, while others are not. Many popping sounds can be resolved easily, while others can prove tough to detect or solve. But to get the best fix for the problem, you must be ready to find the root cause. In some cases and houses, the popping sound can be prevented altogether. Here are the leading reasons for this popping sound;

House settling

A new house will undergo some adjustments to align itself with the ground at the foundation level. There will be movement in joints, joists, and several parts until the house is completely settled. This process called settling, will continue for years in some cases, while it will take a few months to end for other houses. It is safe to assume, however, that the settling in of a house never really ends, and you will likely experience the popping sounds for years to come.

The fix

The settling of a house is considered normal, and every house owner should expect this from their new or old home. In some situations, however, the settling down of the house can lead to cracks developing, compromising the house’s structural stability. In this case, you should consult an expert in the field.

Thermal expansions

On relatively warm days, the materials used to build a house will expand. During the night, when the temperature drops, the same materials will contract. The expansion and contraction of the walls result in popping sounds. The pop sounds are likely to be heard early in the evening or mid-morning when their house is cooling or warming. When temperature changes happen, materials might rub against each other, causing them to make popping sounds.

The fix

The change in temperature is something you can’t control. But one can use materials less likely to make a lot of ‘pop’ sounds.

The pipes

You may have noticed that a popping sound can be heard somewhere in the house whenever you turn on a hot water tap. The pipes will make the ‘pop’ sound when little room is left for expansion and contraction during installation. The PVC type of pipes are culpable of making this noise, and they do so when they rub against the wood in the walls.

The fix

When doing the piping works around the house, ensure adequate space allowance around the pipes. Though it is generally considered a minor nuisance since no damage is associated with the pipes making the noise, it is worth noting that one can insulate the pipes.

Damage by water

Water can cause so much damage, most of which is visible, while in some cases, such damage will remain undetected for a long time. When water leaks in the walls, you will likely hear popping and creaking sounds. This is because water erodes the wall, creating hollow spaces, which then make the sounds. Water damage can be due to a single instance, or it can be a leakage of a pipe over the years.

The fix

The best way to ensure this problem never happens is to regularly check the walls and ceilings for water leakage and damage. Any water damage detected should be addressed as soon as possible. It is advisable to have a professional plumber do any water-related repairs or works, especially where pipes running through the walls and over the ceilings are involved.

Pests damage

At some point in life, we have all encountered the menace of pests. We know of the damage termites can cause and the huge repair bill you will end up paying. There are rats and mice, which will also devastate your house. All manner of pests and animals can invade your home, and if they find a safe haven in the walls, you will be in for a long, frustrating experience. These pests or animals will peck on the walls, or they could be having a fight inside the walls making popping sounds. This can lead to long sleepless, and, at times, frightful nights.

The fix

Call an animal-removal expert Whenever you discover pests or animals wedged between your house walls. There are instances you may need to engage the services of pest exterminators. An important point to note about pests and animals making noise in walls is that the longer you wait to deal with them, the bigger the repair bill you will get.

Metal air ducts

There are many places and situations around the house where metal duct tape is used. Like ordinary plastic duct tape, metal duct tape comes with its own unique challenges. When a furnace’s hot air rushes over a cold metal duct, the metal expands, and this s usually accompanied by loud popping sounds. This can be unavoidable sometimes, as the air vents require the use of metal ducts at one point or another.

The fix

The solution to this problem is quite easy as you only need to use rubber pads or some insulation material on the duct. The idea is to place the rubber pads or insulation where the duct makes contact with the pipes and wood frames. In cases where access to the metal duct is complicated, consult a professional.

Electrical fault

You might sometimes hear popping sounds in your house walls, just like those made by electrical fences. The noise can be heard anytime, whether the lights are on or not. An electrical issue will make the electrical appliances flicker or work intermittently.

The fix

The answer to this issue is to have a qualified electrician diagnose the problem and locate the root cause. Ignoring the symptoms of an electrical problem can lead to serious and dangerous consequences.

Is the popping sound on walls serious?

When we hear a popping sound in our house walls, oftentimes, we assume it is one of the above-given reasons. This is, of course, after the initial shock and scare of thinking some ghost or intruder is in the house. You may wonder if the popping sound might be a symptom of some kind of damage to the house. Here are some of the accompanying symptoms and consequences you may expect when you hear popping sounds;

  • Burst pipes

When the chilly weather sets in, the house actually shrinks, albeit slightly. In the shrinking process, you can hear some popping sounds, some of which might be caused by water pipes shrinking. On the other hand, water actually expands when it freezes, and over time, this can put a lot of pressure on the pipes. You should therefore check and service the piping system and the boiler regularly.

  • Rats destroying the walls

We all know what a menace rats can be when they find refuge in our homes, especially in places where they can live and multiply. Walls offer some of the safest places rats can live without anyone bothering them. The rats can chew through the wall, chew electrical cables and cause untold damage quickly. So when you hear some popping sound in the walls, consider the possibility of rat infestation.

  • A structural default

We have said earlier that a house settling causes it to make popping sounds. As in most cases, this is not something to be worried about. However, if the house’s foundation is faulty, the popping of the house may be accompanied by cracks in the walls. When you see cracks on the walls and continued popping on the walls, it is time to call an engineer and have the house checked for any structural fault. Ignoring such cracks can lead to expensive repair costs or even the collapse of the house.


A house is where you want to relax and unwind after a long day’s work. But popping sounds in the walls can make your house to be a source of fear and distress, especially if you have watched one too many horror and ‘haunted house’ movies. After reading this article, you know what could cause the popping sounds, and there is no reason to feel worried. Just have the walls checked and the cause of the sound located and dealt with.