Did You Hear That? What Every Plumbing Noise Could Mean

Do you hear things go “bump” in the night? What about a thump, a squeak or even a loud, prolonged screech? Your house may be haunted. Ok, not really — it’s probably just your plumbing. Properly installed and maintained plumbing should not make a sound, but when it does, you know you have plumbing problems. Here are a few specific sounds to be aware of:

1. Bang, Clunk, Clang

Problem: When you turn off your faucet, your toilet tank stops filling or your dishwasher or clothes washer stops filling, do you hear a single “bang” sound? If the sound happens only when the water is shut off, the problem is likely “water hammer.” When the water stops flowing, the change in pressure sends a shock wave through the pipe. Over time, this puts stress on your pipes and can cause a leak.

Solution: Install a water hammer arrester or replace a defective one. These are air-filled chambers that absorb the pressure in residential plumbing and prevent noise and vibration. Even better, if you are remodeling your home your plumber can install better, properly sized pipes and fittings.

2. The Sound of Running Water

Problem: The house is quiet. You’re getting ready for bed, and you hear it: water running for a few seconds, then stopping. The problem is most likely your toilet.

Solution: Replace the flush valve (ball or rubber flapper) in your tank.

3. Ticking

Problem 1: A ticking sound could be your water meter. Sounds can be transmitted by the pipes inside your house. If it’s the meter, you’ll only hear the ticking while the water is running. This may be harmless, or it could be a sign your meter needs replacement.

Solution: Contact your utility company.

Problem 2: Alternatively, the ticking sound may be caused by expansion and contraction of pipes carrying hot or cold water, as their temperature changes.

Solution: Install insulation around the pipe.

Problem 3: You may also be hearing a ticking sound due to a loose or unstable pipe. This can also cause leaking and other plumbing problems, which will worsen over time.

Solution: Contact Mr. Rooter of Syracuse for a free whole-house residential plumbing checkup.

4. Screeching, Singing, Wailing, Whistling

Problem: That whiny, off-key sound you hear could just be your spouse singing in the shower — or it could be your bathroom plumbing. If you have radiators or baseboard hot-water heating units, your issue may be air in the water lines. You could have a worn pressure-reducing valve in your kitchen or bathroom. The pressure-reducing valve for your whole house could need adjusting, or you may need one installed. Whatever the problem is, you’ll need to fix it soon — not only is that sound annoying, but it can also cause further damage if not corrected.

Solution: Contact Mr. Rooter of Syracuse. Be sure to tell us everything you know about the sound, such as where it seems to originate and when it happens (i.e. in bathroom plumbing when you take a shower, when you turn on the heating system, when you run the dishwasher, etc.)

These are the most common sounds you’ll hear from your plumbing. If you aren’t sure which type of sound yours is making, just give us a call. We’ll be happy to send a technician out for a plumbing checkup at no charge to diagnose the problem and explain any necessary repairs.

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