Why Is My Plumbing Making Strange Noises?

Most homeowners rarely think about their plumbing until there’s a problem. If your pipes or fixtures begin to make odd noises, you may be tempted to ignore them. Unfortunately, that’s never a good idea. If your plumbing is making strange sounds, it’s essential to locate and correct the problem before serious plumbing issues occur. 

Some problems may be easy to identify and resolve on your own, while others may require the services of an experienced plumbing professional. The type of noise your pipes or fixtures make can help you diagnose the cause. Here are six common plumbing noises and suggestions for resolving them.

1. Banging Sounds in Pipes

A loose pipe clamp is the most common cause of vibrating sounds in plumbing. This hardware keeps pipes secure when water flows through them. If the loose pipe is under your sink, you may be able to correct the problem on your own. Apply water pipe supports like clips, clamps, plumbers tape, or hangers to secure wobbly pipes. Water pipe supports made of plastic are the safest and easiest to use. If the sound comes from behind a wall, it’s best to call a plumber. 

A loud banging noise that sounds like hammering can also result from what is referred to as a “water hammer.” Water hammering is caused by too much water in the air chambers of your plumbing system. This noise usually occurs when you quickly turn off the water at a faucet or appliance. The water flowing through the pipes slams to a sudden stop, causing the hammering sound to occur.  

You may be able to resolve this problem on your own. Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. Open all of your indoor and outdoor faucets to drain the system. Turn the taps back on and then turn the water on again. Call a professional plumber for assistance if this does not resolve the problem. You may need to have a water hammer arrestor replaced or installed. Water hammers can damage your pipes and cause leaks, so it’s important to resolve the problem quickly.

2. Whistling Sounds in Pipes

If your pipes are whistling, hard water could be the culprit. It’s estimated that more than 90% of U.S. households have hard water, meaning there is excessive calcium and magnesium in their water supply. These minerals don’t harm people but can accumulate in pipes and appliances, causing clogs and premature appliance failure. You may be dealing with hard water if you struggle with soap scum, clogged pipes, or appliances that wear out quickly. A professional plumber can test your water supply. The best way to resolve this problem is to install a water treatment system.

3. Whistling Faucets

Do your faucets whistle when they are running? Chances are, a worn washer, loose brass screw, or dirty aerator inside the faucet needs to be replaced. Turn off the main water supply and replace all worn washers, loose screws, and the faucet’s aerator before turning the water supply back on. These steps should stop your faucet from making that irritating whistling noise. 

4. Noisy Toilets

Toilets can begin to make several strange sounds as parts wear out or need to be adjusted. If your toilet whistles most of the time, try adjusting the vertical overflow tube in the toilet tank by bending the float arm down. This will make the ballcock turn off sooner and should stop the whistling noise. If your toilet only whistles until the water tank fills back after being flushed, you most likely need to replace the ballcock valve.

5. Squeaking Sounds

Are you hearing squeaking or rubbing noises in your pipes? Metal water pipes can heat up from the hot water flowing through them, causing them to expand, leading to squeaking or rubbing noises. If your pipes are copper, you can turn down the water temperature on your water heater to see if this stops the noise. Sometimes lowering the water temperature a few degrees is enough to keep hot water pipes from expanding and eliminate the noise. 

6. Humming Noises

If you hear humming sounds, your home’s water pressure is likely too high. High pressure can cause the water inside your pipes to bang against the water shut-off valves or pipe walls resulting in a humming sound. Excessive water pressure can lead to numerous problems, including leaks and damage to faucets and other fixtures. You can buy a water pressure gauge and test your home’s water pressure. Hire an experienced plumber to install a water pressure regulator if your water pressure exceeds 80 psi to prevent damage to your plumbing system.

Call the Trusted Plumbing Professionals in Los Gatos

Nobody wants to hear loud or strange noises in their pipes or plumbing fixtures. In general, your plumbing system should be pretty quiet. If you can’t quickly locate the source of a strange noise on your own and resolve it, call a professional plumber for assistance. 

If you’re experiencing plumbing issues of any type, call Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter at (408) 716-1686, or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Our experienced technicians have over 30 years of plumbing experience and are ready to help you with all your plumbing problems, no matter how big or small.

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