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What Does It Mean When the Bedroom Wall Is Warm or Hot to The Touch? (Five Possible Causes)

walls hot to the touch

It is not uncommon for some parts of your wall anywhere in your home to get warm or become too hot to touch.

The warmth may build up at times to a point you’d fear for a fire outbreak.

Fortunately, this phenomenon seldom ends up in a home fire, but don’t expect it to go away on its own.

So, What Does It Mean When The Bedroom Wall Is Warm Or Hot To The Touch?

A myriad of factors has been attributed to it, including underlying problems with your AC ductwork.

The job of your AC system is to regulate interior temperatures by removing heat from your space and even regulating the humidity.

To achieve this, it is serviced by an extensive ductwork that run from the outside of the home to specific rooms.

The ductwork is normally insulated and installed away in the ceiling but some homes have them in walls.

If a duct is punctured, the wall area close to that point will feel warm (more on this later).

Ductwork aren’t the only culprits though; you will need to evaluate pretty everything in your home that can generate heat.

What’s Behind The Wall?

The first question to strike you should be what’s behind the ball?

Electrical?

Hot water tank?

Hot water pipes?

You can guess that something hot behind or inside the wall is responsible for the hot spot. I

s the wall always hot? Only specific times?

You need more information to get to the bottom of everything.

Seek Professional Assistance

Secondly, you need to seek the assistance of all possible professionals – can be an insulation expert, electrician, or someone experienced in energy auditing.

The likeliest cause could be an electrical issue in the wall but there are many other possible causes. You can only proceed after you have ruled out electrical problems.

Once you are 100% privy you have no electrical issues in that wall, you can proceed to investigate the problem further with the assistance of a relevant professional.

Chances are your utility company provides professional assistance in the event of malfunctions.

Five Possible Causes Of A Hot Wall

Here are possible causes of a hot wall:

1. Leaking hot water pipe

If you have your hot water pipes passing in your bedroom wall on their way to the bathroom or kitchen, chances are they are starting to leak or they have become too hot that they can be felt under the wall.

The difference is that leakage is normally manifested by a wet spot on the wall; normal overheating on the water pipes simply makes the wall feel warm but doesn’t create a wet spot.

In either case, you will need to hire a professional to tear the foundation or wall to get to the affected pipes.

2. AC system and heating ductwork

If your heating ducts happen to pass through your bedroom walls, you are more likely to experience the “hot wall” phenomenon.

Do you find the sleeves of your shirts warm on one side?

If you can feel it by touching the bedroom wall, and you know the heating ducts are installed somewhere in this wall (just in case, because these ducts are typically installed in the ceiling), then it is the likeliest cause.

To establish if the heating ducts are the source, turn off your AC machine and wait for about an hour.

If the warmth persists even after you have shut down the air conditioner, the heating ducts are certainly not the cause.

If the entire ductwork line is involved, the hot spot would extend along the entire length of the pipe, not just one spot.

An isolated hot spot on the wall is an indicator that the pipe is leaking at one point.

There’s a likelihood your ductwork is slightly deformed or perforated at the same point it touches the drywall.

Just as bad, there may be a joint somewhere in the drywall that didn’t adjust tightly enough after installation.

The fault could be at the joint e.g. a leak, but the only method you could use to really tell is to cut the drywall and check the duct.

Patching the drywall at the point where the stud cavity fills with a duct can be slightly difficult since wood can’t be used to span the hole. This sounds like something you’d hire a professional to do.

3. Hot electrical wires

Electrical wiring can heat up behind walls and may end up creating a hot spot on the wall.

There are so many reasons why electrical wires may get hot to cause a concern, but the most often reported cause is improper grounding.

Power surges are commonplace and in any circuit that hasn’t been grounded properly, the un-routed additional energy tends to dissipate itself as heat energy and may cause the home’s wiring to get very hot at one point or the entire circuit.

Electrical wiring-induced hot spots on walls are some of the easiest to fix but can be the costliest.

If you ever establish –with the help of a qualified electrician – that your electrical wiring is responsible for the problem, all you will need is to crack the wall open, make changes to the wiring, then cover the place.

The problem is that you might be compelled to do significant rewiring in the affected area or even add more circuits to prevent the circuit overload that may cause overheating.

Overheating in electrical wires doesn’t occur often. Still, in the unlikely event it occurs, the fuse would’ve blown up by the time you feel the warmth on the wall.

4. Check your appliances

If the wall feels hot in your bedroom but you have a kitchen on the other side, chances are the heat is from an appliance in that room.

Therefore, check out whether one of your kitchen equipment is behind the issue.

Evaluate your toasters, stoves, ovens, dishwasher, freezer/refrigerator, water heaters, and pretty any other equipment that uses coils especially if they are installed too close to your bedroom’s wall.

Note that non-kitchen appliances may be responsible also, it just depends on whether they are close enough to the wall to dissipate the heat on it.

Check your vacuum cleaners, TV, washing machine, space heaters, computers, etc.

Appliance-induced overheating is the easiest to correct as it doesn’t involve changes to the wall.

Just go to the opposite room, change or reposition the overheating appliance and the wall will stop overheating.

5. The chimney line

Chimneys are often installed to run through the wall up to the roof.

Forget about kitchen chimneys which are normally more elaborate (with connected hood range and stuff), fireplace chimneys are the easiest to forget they even existed.

So, chances are you may not immediately suspect a fireplace chimney line to be the cause especially if your bedroom and family room shares a wall.

Some houses feature traditional chimneys with large chimney breasts.

Others feature single skin walls sandwiched between semi-detached living spaces with 4” wall (and 20 ft. high) – one end of the two living space upper floor joists inserted into it plus the roof purlins.

You will need to hire a professional to get deep into the loft to confirm just how thick the separating wall is.

Chimney lines are hard to relocate, so you may want to abandon that part of the wall.

In a nutshell

So, what does it mean when the bedroom wall is warm or hot to the touch? It can be a result of several issues, including underlying problems with your AC ductwork. First, you need to find out what is installed in the wall or behind the wall in the opposite room. Secondly, you need to seek the assistance of all possible professionals – can be an insulation expert, electrician, or someone experienced in energy auditing.

It could be a leaking hot water pipe.

If you have your hot water pipes passing in your bedroom wall on their way to the bathroom or kitchen, chances are they are starting to leak or they have become too hot that they can be felt under the wall.

Do you have your AC system’s ducts running through the wall instead of the ceiling?

If your heating ducts happen to pass through your bedroom walls, you are more likely to experience the “hot wall” phenomenon.

To establish if the heating ducts are the source, turn off your AC machine and wait for about an hour.

If the warmth persists even after you have shut down the air conditioner, the heating ducts are certainly not the cause.

Or maybe your electrical wires are overheating.

There are so many reasons why electrical wires may get hot to cause a concern, but the most often reported cause is improper grounding.

Power surges are commonplace and in any circuit that hasn’t been grounded properly, the un-routed additional energy tends to dissipate itself as heat energy and may cause the home’s wiring to get very hot at one point or the entire circuit.

You may want to check your kitchen appliances and home equipment. Evaluate such appliances as toasters, stoves, ovens, dishwasher, freezer/refrigerator, and water heaters.

Related: How Can You Tell Which Manufactured Home Walls Are Load Bearing?