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The Home Smithy
The Home Smithy, Home Builder
Category: Home Improvement
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Experience:  #1 Home Improvement Expert 30+ years experience
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When we turn on the heat in our home, we notice the top of

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When we turn on the heat in our home, we notice the top of the ceiling sides make wooden cracking noises. This seems to happen on both the first and second floors and vary in terms of noise level and frequency. This only occurs when we turn on the hvac. Does not seem to be the ducts making the noises and the pops seem to go away after a couple of hurs, presumably after the house has "warmed" up. What can this be and what can be done to solve it? It is cold outside a well.
Hi and welcome.
It is quite normal for some buildings to do this. The noise is simply the building expanding and contracting as it is heated and cooled.
As long as you do not see any cracks in the drywall, or the drywall looking, or feeling, like it is coming off of the wall or ceiling it isn't something to be concerned about.
You can simply push on the drywall to see if it is loose. It will move under moderate pressure. You can use a broom handle to check the ceiling.
Let me know if you need anything else.
Regards, Smitty
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What can be done to stop the noise permanently? Replace the ceiling drywall?

The biggest problem is finding where it is coming from.

It isn't the drywall that is doing this. It is part of the framing that is moving back and forth under pressure. Usually a stud or something that want nailed good. They can move about 1/8 to 1/4" with each expansion and contraction. This causes anything from a small squeak to a solid pop as it finally overcomes the friction against the other piece of wood.

One moment and I will draw you an example.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If we were to attempt to address the problem, is it big bucks to adjust if we can locate the spots with the issue?

That I cant say. it might be a simple matter of adding a few nails, or it could mean taking off a lot of drywall and then trimming the framing to allow for a little movement of the structure.

Below is an (simplified) example of one I repaired a long time ago. It was in a basement that had not been drywalled yet. It was a matter of trimming the framing back 3/8" to allow the beam to expand and contract without sliding on the plate.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is that considered a big project, to do what you did? And how much was that particular project? Just trying to figure if addressing issue may be worth it. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX very helpful.

Because there was no drywall yet it was a simple job. Locating the point wasn't hard either as my experience allowed me to see the rub point.
That was a inexpensive repair. I think I charged them $50 bucks (+ a beer or two after).
See if you can locate the noise. It is a task of patience. Turning on the heat and waiting for the pop is the only way to do this. Eventually you will zero in on it. Once that is done take some pictures of the area and return to this question thread. If I can see what the point looks like I can give you a somewhat accurate idea of what you are getting into.
Please be sure to rate my service before you sign out. You can continue this at no additional charge when you locate the noise point.
The URL below will return you to this question thread.
Looking forward to assisting you further.
Best, Smitty
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