Strange Noise In Wall

Just in time for Halloween.....
I have what sounds like a slow dripping (or ticking perhaps - it sounds more like a drip to me) in one of the walls in our home. The noise seems to coincide with the arrival of colder weather.
The sound was evident through the winter months and then went away for the warmer months. It's now back. It does seem to be related to the outside temperature but not to whether or not we are running our furnace. We live in Ohio and the weather has been cool (40s occasionally at night) but we haven't been near freezing or anything.
We moved into the house last January, the house is 10 years old and is a two story with basement. Standard wood frame construction, forced air gas heat, about 3200 square feet.
The noise is in the wall separating our family room from our garage. I am aware of no plumbing in the wall. There is a cold air return near the base of the wall in one area.
The garage is on a slab and the family room sits above a basement crawl space.
I first noticed the noise a few weeks after we moved in last winter. I assume the noise was water dripping from the overhead Master Bath (not directly overhead but I figured water was finding its way down the wall). I checked for water damage or the presence of moisture in the cold air return, basement crawlspace, garage, etc. We had the carpet in the family room replaced (worn) and didn't notice any signs of moisture.
I've not torn into the wall and I've not hired anyone to specifically check out the sound. I have had a roofer, plumber and HVAC technician listen to the sound and give me their theories.
The roofer advised that it was unlikely (because of location) to be coming from the roof. The plumber advised that it could be a leak but that there should be evidence of moisture somewhere.
The HVAC tech advised that the temperature imbalance between the warm air on the inside of the wall (family room) and outside wall (unheated garage) might be causing condensation to form in the wall.
The house was vacant when we moved in. Original owners had taken a company relocation so I can't ask anyone re: if the noise was something they lived with.
Any suggestions would be appreciated - thanks !
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snipped-for-privacy@myemail.com wrote:

....
That it went away in warm weather and is back w/ cool is certainly indicative it isn't water, either plumbing or roof. I would suspect there is plastic vent pipe in the wall and what you're hearing is thermally induced expansion/contraction movement. That it's in the unheated garage wall makes it almost certain to be simply a temperature-related problem imo.
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My house makes different sounds in the winter than in the summer as well, one door doesn't close fully in the winter, and another will swing closed (not latched) in the winter, but not in the summer. I wouldn't worry about it, especially if it seems to happen around consistent times and/or temps.
The only other thing I can say is now is about the time that things that normally live outside start looking for a warmer place to hang out.... as long as you don't find any mice droppings you are probably OK.
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll do some additional investigation re: venting in that wall and etc.
I've convinced myself that it's not plumbing related but I sincerely appreciate the confirmation.
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snipped-for-privacy@myemail.com wrote:

Just for fun, the next time you hear it, run down into the basement and put your ear close to that cold air return. If it is related to it, you should be able to hear it clearly.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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snipped-for-privacy@myemail.com wrote:

I also get a ticking sound at times in my bathroom when it gets cold. Has nothing to do with water dripping. It is the the plumbing vent that goes up through the roof. Run hot water down the waste and that heats the pipe enough that it expands and makes noise where it touches wood. Usually there is enough water noise when it is expanding that you don't hear it, just hear it when it is cooling.
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I also get a ticking sound at times in my bathroom when it gets cold. Has nothing to do with water dripping. It is the the plumbing vent that goes up through the roof. Run hot water down the waste and that heats the pipe enough that it expands and makes noise where it touches wood. Usually there is enough water noise when it is expanding that you don't hear it, just hear it when it is cooling.
I have the same thing happen here. Took a while to figure it out the first time I heard it though.
--
wallybbo


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On Sun, 23 Oct 2005 13:59:52 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@myemail.com wrote:

Deathwatch Beetles are eating your house.
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