How to Diagnose Your Plumbing Noises

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As a homeowner, you’ve probably heard a banging pipe, gurgling water, and other plumbing sounds and wondered what exactly the plumbing in your home is trying to tell you. As it happens, plumbing sounds are often, but not always, red flags or warning signs that your plumbing may be in need of repair.

Some plumbing noises are simply part of your system working and do not indicate anything wrong, particularly if you own an older home. Sometimes, it’s a quick and easy DIY fix. Other times, it’s best to call the pros and schedule a plumbing inspection.

Let’s take a look (or, perhaps, a listen) at some common plumbing sounds.

Whistling Plumbing When Water is in Use

If you hear whistling sounds when you run the water, often, the source is the water supply pipe. The whistling sound should stop when you turn off the tap. Try eliminating the whistling sound by reducing the water pressure from the source.

Another approach is “flushing out” the pipe by running the water to remove any debris or obstruction that could be causing the whistling.

It is possible for pockets of air to become trapped in the water supply pipe, which can result in whistling or shrieking.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating whistling or shrieking pipes:

  • What is the building and noise history: how old is the building, when was the pipe whistle first observed, and how has the pipe whistle noise changed over time.
  • What are the building piping materials: copper, galvanized iron, or plastic?
  • What is the building water supply: private well or municipal supply?
  • What is the building water quality: is the water supply high in mineral content?
  • Does the noise occur only on cold water flow, hot water flow or either or both at once?
  • Does your home use a water pressure tank?
  • How does the noise relate to water flow rate, to number of fixtures in use?
  • Where is the noise is loudest?
  • Whether you hear the noise when you’re sure no fixture is in use.

For persistent whistling or shrieking pipes, it is recommended that you call a licensed professional to evaluate and troubleshoot the problem.

Knocking And Clanging Pipes

Does it sound like it’s Halloween all year at your house? Hearing a banging, clanging pipe, in the middle of the pipe can be quite jarring, to say the least.

Sure, it’s possible you have a haunted house, but the more likely explanation is something far less mysterious.

It is not uncommon for heating pipes to make banging, clanging and knocking sounds, particularly in older homes. The banging sound that you hear could be a number of things. For example, you might be hearing the sudden closing of a heat valve that separates one zone from the next.

The banging and clanging sounds could be coming from the radiator itself. Or, it could also be the water heater. It could be the valves. It could be the water hammer. It could be the slope of the radiator. Feeling confused yet? It might be easier to simply call a professional who can solve the problem with ease.

Drain Gurgling

Does your water gurgle while it runs? If so, common causes are as follows:

  • Air trapped in hot water heating pipes, convectors, baseboards, or radiators, can cause a variety of problems.
  • Air bound radiators or baseboards simply won’t get hot.
  • Less air, not enough to totally block hot water flow through the hot water piping may still make annoying gurgling or bubbling sounds. Most likely you’ll notice these noises late at night when the building is otherwise quieter.

No matter what mysterious noises you’re hearing, it is of the utmost importance that you keep the plumbing at your home in good working order. Davis Home Services is your Burlington plumbing company – we have an expert solution for your home. Give us a call today!

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