plumbing noises

Plumbing Noises and What They Mean

Are your water pipes driving you crazy with banging, squealing and whistling noises?

Not only are they a huge headache to listen to, but excessive or odd plumbing noises might also be an indication that something’s not quite right with your plumbing system.

In general, pipes shouldn’t make any noise at all – so if you’re hearing any from this list, it’s best to get your plumbing checked over by a professional.

Whistling Pipe Noises

One of the most common plumbing issues is loud whistling noises. Usually heard when a toilet tank is refilling or when you turn the faucet on.

So, what causes whistling noises in pipes? When water is rushing through a clogged (or otherwise restricted) pipe, it lets out a whistling noise. The cause? Most likely a damaged washer or a loose screw within the valve or faucet.

How to fix a faucet that’s causing whistling pipes
If you’re not sure where the problem is originating from, turn every part of your plumbing off until it’s completely silent. Next, turn each faucet on and off, one at a time, until you find the one that causes the noises.

If you feel comfortable solving the problem yourself, shut off the water to that faucet and take it apart. Replace the washer or screw that’s missing or loose.

How to fix a toilet that’s causing whistling pipes
If it’s your toilet that’s causing the pipes to whistle, remove the tank cover, flush and watch it refill.

If the whistling stops when the tank is filled, it’s most likely the filler valve causing the problem. It might need repairing, adjusting or a full replacement. In most cases, the easiest (and cheapest!) solution is to simply replace the entire filler valve.

If the whistling doesn’t stop after the tank is full, check to see if water is overflowing into the overflow tube in the center of the tank. If the water is overflowing, the hissing/whistling will not stop.

To stop the noises, you can bend the float arm slightly downward and it will shut the filler valve off sooner. Many newer toilet models have an adjustable fill valve for easy tuning to prevent this problem from happening.

Knocking and Hammering Pipe Noises

If you’re hearing knocking and hammering coming from your pipes, it could be directly related to the water pressure coming in from your well or public provider. When the air used to pressurize your home’s pipes is reduced, it causes a knocking, banging or hammering noise.

Sometimes known as water hammer, knocking/hammering noises can also be caused by the sudden change of pipe pressure when a faucet or valve closes quickly, or a valve is faulty.

If left, water hammer can cause damage to pipes and fittings and result in a plumbing leak.

How to fix a knocking pipe
If the knocking noises are due to high water pressure, you can adjust your water pressure with a water-pressure regulator or pressure-reducing valve.

Most modern homes have a regulator mounted at the location where the main water supply enters the home.

If you don’t already have a regulator, consider having one installed.

Running Water Noises

If all of your faucets are turned off and the toilet’s tank is full, but you can still hear running water, you probably have a leak.

In this case, call your plumber immediately  – (703) 670-8519.

Don’t waste time figuring out where the leak is – just call the professionals in straight away.

A professional plumber will be able to find and repair the leak before it causes more damage and increases your water bill costs.

Gurgling Pipe Noises

Gurgling noises coming from your pipes is another sound you should be concerned about. This noise generally means your pipes have a blockage in the system somewhere.

Of course, everyone’s first reaction to a blockage is to treat it with Drano!

Just remember, chemical cleaners can harm your pipes and produce toxic fumes when mixed with household cleaning agents. When handled incorrectly, they can also cause minor burns to your skin. Let the professional handle it for you – there’s less mess and hassle that way.

If you’re concerned about your pipes making loud or strange noises, take action now and have them looked at before they cause major damage to your home. Here at Nichols and Phipps, our professional plumbers can help find the underlying problems in your plumbing and address them quickly for you. Give the team a call on (703) 670-8519 and get your pipe noises solved today.


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