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5 Common Causes of Noisy Water Pipes

Is your plumbing making banging, shrieking, whistling, or hissing sounds? Here are some common reasons why your plumbing is making noise.

Plumbing
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December 16, 2020

As your home starts to age, you may notice an increase in the number of sounds happening behind your walls. The sound of banging, shrieking, whistling, and hissing might make you think of the supernatural but it could be an indication of a plumbing problem. 

In this article, you’ll learn to identify why these noises happen and indicate whether they are a serious problem or not.

Banging Noises

Typically, banging noises coming from your pipes infer an issue with water flow or water pressure. Two of the most common causes are water hammers and trapped air bubbles. 

A water hammer, also known as hydraulic shock, occurs when fluid in motion is suddenly stopped when a faucet or valve is shut off. The momentum of the water abruptly stopping create a pressure wave that travels through the piping system causing a loud bang. This phenomenon doesn’t always result in a loud bang but can also be a series of smaller bangs in your pipes.

Another source of the noise is trapped air in your water line. A telltale sign that you have trapped air is when the banging starts immediately as a faucet is turned on. You might hear a bubbling noise as air moves up and out of the line. 

There are a variety of reasons for these problems, you may need a professional plumber to evaluate and address the problem.

Humming

When the water pressure in your home’s plumbing system is too high, your pipes can actually begin to vibrate. The vibration can create a humming sound behind your walls that become especially noticeable when your water is running.

High water pressure can occur in any home but home’s that draw their water from wells are particularly susceptible to high water pressure. Be sure to check that your water tank is set no higher than 55 PSI (pound-force per square inch).

If you don’t have access to a water pressure meter or are uncertain about the right setting contact a local plumber in your area. 

Gurgling

When your plumbing system is attempting to drain out excess water or waste it may emit a type of gurgling noise. This gurgling sound is similar to the noise you would hear while emptying a bottle of liquid. 

This gurgling or glugging sound can be a sign that you have a clogged pipe somewhere in your system. The possibilities could range from a physical obstruction like a piece of plastic or something as simple as the build-up of soap and dirt.

A local plumber can quickly clear out any debris or build-up in your pipes, eliminating the sound.

Rattling

Pipes live behind the walls, floors, and ceiling of your home, affixed to your home by sets of fasteners. If the fastener loosens or becomes completely detached then pipes are left to freely move as water runs through them. When this happens you might hear the rattling sound the pipes make while they bang against the fasteners or other material.

When you hear any rattling or shaking behind the walls, floors, or ceilings of your house, it’s time to call in a plumbing pro to find and secure the pipe, silencing the noise.

Whistling or Squealing

Your plumbing is a very intricate system of pipes, valves, and other small components that come together to operate effectively. These smaller pieces of hardware like washers, nuts, and bolts can sometimes wear over time, resulting in a high-pitched whining noise.

The most common cause of whistling or squealing in your plumbing come from broken or worn washers near your dishwasher or washing machine. That’s because those appliances cause a significant amount of movement, causing washers to loosen and wearing down nuts and bolts quicker. If you notice this sound near those appliances when you run them, you should have a plumber check that all the components are working properly.

In many situations, we recommend that plumbing noises receive professional diagnosis and treatment. If you need a diagnosis, drain cleaning, water jetting, or plumbing repair, trust the team at B&B Plumbing, Inc.

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