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Banging noises in the wall/celing

Hey folks,

I have a question I'm really hoping I can get answered. I am incredibly un knowledgeable about this stuff, but here goes. I live on the top floor of a 6 story apartment building. I have a water baseboard heater in two rooms (living room and bedroom).

I've been living here for four years now. Whenever the heat goes on, there is a 'knocking/thumping sound' in the wall/ceiling that goes in cycles, one after another for about 5 minutes or so and then stops. I'm very used to this noise. Once the heat is on for the winter, there's no issues. Nor any issues in the summer with the heat off.

Currently, it's mid April and when the outside temperature reaches 55 and above, my heat goes off. However, with that said, I noticed that I am still hearing the banging/knocking noises in the wall/ceiling periodically even with the heat off during the day and temperatures reaching 70 degrees. The difference now is that the banging/knocking sound is not in cycles. It's just one periodioc knock, and then stops for about a half hour to a couple of hours in between knocks. At night, the temperature drops below 55 again, and the heat comes back on.

I spoke to my super in the building and he insists that boiler system is off during the day with the temperature above 55 (even though the actual radiator on my floor, still feels very so slightly warm at times during the day and then ice cold at other points and constantly fluctuates throughout the day) and he has no idea why I'm hearing the sound still. Therefore, I am requesting a plumber to check this out.

The question I have is, during spring temperatures, where the temperature is higher during the day, and the heat system is off, is it possible that there is still some 'action' of sorts going on between the boiler and the pipes to my apartment? When my super says the system is off on a spring day before the heat comes back on at night, does he literally mean that there is no water at all running through the pipes throughout the day? Most of all, if that's the case, then why on earth would I still be hearing noises now 24/7 even if the heating system is shut off during the day?

I'm really confused and would love some help as it's keeping me up at night.

Much thanks for any advice.


  • baseboarduser
    baseboarduser Member Posts: 5
    edited April 2015
    Thank you so much for the quick response. Quick question to ask you. Will this noise persist in the summertime when the heating system is completely off?

    Thanks again
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,188
    It should not. Unless someone has the tstat on and an air conditioner on.... :#
  • baseboarduser
    baseboarduser Member Posts: 5
    Thanks again
  • baseboarduser
    baseboarduser Member Posts: 5
    One more question pertaining to this that I just wanted clear up. The advice above references expansion when the heater is turned on. However, I am hearing the noise when the heat is off during the day. So, is it possible that the contraction/shrinking of pipes will produce this knocking/banging noise throughout the day after the heat was turned off?

    Thanks again
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    It should not. Are you sure it is not a hot water pipe or drain pipe expanding/contracting when someone showers/bathes or uses a sink? It could well be a pipe that is not properly straped as well and vibrating against a wall or stud/floorboard when the water is turned on.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    It could also be a hot water pipe (domestic). I had a problem in my former home that was fifty years old. When the hot water was run in the kitchen you would here a popping noise for about five minutes. It didn't bother me because it was in the kitchen.
  • baseboarduser
    baseboarduser Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the responses. The reason I know it's a pipe pertaining to the heating system, is that every time the heater goes on at night time, after being off previously, it makes the EXACT same banging/knocking noises, with the only difference is that, when the heat goes on, the banging is in cycles as the heat comes through. However, the noise I'm hearing now that I'm referring to in this thread, is during the day when the heat is off and is not in cycles, yet it is the same exact banging, from the exact same location in the wall/ceiling. I live in a one bedroom apartment on the top floor. I tried turning on the faucets, bathtub, toilet and none of that provoked the noise. So, I really don't know.