Plumbing Tips

What’s that Noise? Common Plumbing Sounds and What They Mean

By January 20, 2021 No Comments

Woman with a confused expression holding a hand up to her ear.

Have you noticed strange noises coming from the plumbing in your home? Generally speaking, an unusual sound coming from your plumbing indicates a problem, but different sounds mean different things. Here’s how to figure out what your plumbing is telling you.

Squeaking or Screeching Pipes

If you’re hearing squeaking, screeching, or whining sounds around the kitchen and/or bathroom, it is likely a failing pressure reducing valve (PRV). If this is the case, it is a good idea to have your PRV replaced sooner rather than later, because a faulty pressure reducing valve could result in a burst pipe if it is not replaced in time.

Gurgling Drain

A gurgling noise coming from your drain is usually the result of a clog somewhere down the pipe. This is because a clog will cause air bubbles to become trapped, which make the gurgling sound that you hear. The best way to address this is to use a plunger to unclog the drain. Avoid using chemical drain cleaners, as these are corrosive and will actually damage your pipes over time. If the clog is too stubborn for a plunger to work, call a plumber to clean your drains with a snake or a hydro jet.

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Knocking Sounds when Turning Off a Faucet

This condition is fairly common in older homes with copper piping.  When water is abruptly stopped its momentum can cause pipes to be pushed in one direction or another.  If they are not secured correctly they could make knocking sounds as they hit wood framing or nearby pipes. Not to worry, this is not a concern, this is more of an annoyance!

Whistling Showerhead

Sometimes a whistling sound emanating from your showerhead while it’s running is simply an indication of mineral buildup on the showerhead. Give it a thorough clean with vinegar to remove the buildup and this may mitigate the problem. If the whistling continues, you may have air in your pipes.

Knocking Coming from the Hot Water Tank

If you hear knocking sounds coming from your water heater, it is usually caused by sediment buildup. You can flush out your hot water tank following our simple DIY guide to reduce sediment buildup. If there is still knocking even after flushing out your tank, call in a professional to assess the problem.

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