What These Plumbing Sounds Are Trying to Tell You

Common Plumbing Problems, DIY,

Creaking and cracking. Whistling and wailing. Your house makes a lot of noise, often caused by temperature changes in causing materials to expand and contract.

Most such sounds are no cause for alarm. But there are some sounds to which you need to pay attention. Those are sounds from your plumping, which might be warning you about big trouble headed your way.

The Sound: Banging

What Causes It: Quickly turning the water off at a kitchen sink, for example, or in the laundry room).

How to Silence It: Plumbers refer to this sound as a water hammer. The name comes from the banging sound water makes when momentum causes it to knock around pipes for a brief moment when a valve is suddenly turned off. 

While a water hammer can be a bit disconcerting, it’s unlikely to create any real problems for you. 

Sometimes, the source of the banging is accessible — as in plumbing that runs along a basement ceiling. If that’s the case in your instance, placing soft material such as foam insulation between the piping and adjacent wood beams helps decrease the noise.

You can also prevent water hammers by using air chambers that helped absorb the impact of the water. These small devices give the water somewhere to go. That’s a detour that provides enough open air to diminish the banging.

The Sound: Whistling

What Causes It: Water moving through an obstruction or narrow passage.

How to Silence It: This noise may be subtle at first. But once you hear it, you ALWAYS hear it. The “it” is a whistling sound created as water traverses an obstruction caused by miserable buildup, a deteriorating or loose plumbing fixture, or something similar. 

The most challenging part of silencing this whistling is by narrowing down its point of origin. Doing so will require time and patience as you turn on different faucets throughout your house and listen intently for the whistling’s loudest point.

Clearing the obstruction or replacing/repairing a faulty plumbing item should bring you much-needed silence.

The Sound: Dripping

What Causes It: Damaged or loose plumbing that allows water to fall onto drywall, ceiling tile, flooring — really, anywhere.

How to Silence It: Outside of a dinosaur roar during a power outage in Jurassic Park, there’s nothing more frightening to homeowners than the sound of water dripping anywhere but a sink or bathtub, 

Even in those instances, persistent dripping can be annoying and wastes a lot of water over time.

But dripping anywhere else in the house is cause for alarm. It can portend more significant problems, especially if no one knows how long the sound has been occurring. 

As with whistling, the most critical first step here is to identify the source of the sound. Whistling’s higher pitch can make it challenging to locate. Odds are, if you can hear dripping, then you’re not far from the source. 

A new pipe or faucet, new washer, and/or plumber’s tape might be all you need. But the precise location of the drip and the length of time it’s had to cause damage might require a bit more effort.

Peace and Quiet, Courtesy of WaterWorks

Many things that can go haywire on your way to plumbing peace:

  • Drain snakes the break inside the pipe.
  • A swift pull on the wrong valve that sends water jetting everywhere.
  • Wrapping up the job only to find the noise persists. 

At WaterWorks Plumbing, we enjoy demystifying plumbing issues. Doing so empowers homeowners either to help themselves or, when the job demands it, select the best plumber for them.

That’s why we make information like this article available. You can click here to check out even more resources! 

It’s also why we work tirelessly to earn your business as well as your trust. Click here to check out what clients say about us and then click here to contact us. A pleasant sound of silence awaits!