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Common Causes of These 5 Pipe Noises

It's Not a Ghost–It's Your Plumbing

Although it is currently spooky season, the sounds you're hearing coming from your pipes are more likely due to a plumbing malfunction than to supernatural causes.

These unexpected plumbing noises can be annoying and even startling. In some cases, these sounds may also indicate serious plumbing issues that you'll want to address ASAP.

So what are your pipes trying to tell you? In this blog, we list five common pipe noises and the usual cause of the ruckus.

1. Banging

Usually, banging noises in the pipes come from a problem with water pressure or water flow. Two of the most common causes are water hammers and trapped air bubbles.

A water hammer occurs when a faucet or valve is shut off suddenly. The water that was rushing toward that exit has a high amount of momentum and, when it meets the closed valve, causes a loud bang. Water hammers can also result in a series of smaller bangs in your pipes.

Air can become trapped in your pipes due to issues in the water line. If banging is caused by air in the pipes, the noise will mostly occur right when you first turn on a faucet. You may also notice sputtering as the air bubble travels.

Both of these issues can occur for several reasons, so you may need a professional to evaluate and address the problem.

2. Humming

When your water pressure is too high for the system's capacity, it can leave your pipes vibrating. This vibration may result in a humming noise, especially when the water is running.

Overly high water pressure can occur in any home, but is particularly common in homes that rely on well water. If you have a well, check the pressure at the tank. Generally, this setting should be no higher than 55 pounds per square inch.

If you do not have access to a reading of your water pressure, have a professional test the pressure and make adjustments to eliminate any humming noises.

3. Gurgling

When your pipes have difficulty draining, they may protest with a distinct glugging or gurgling sound. Usually this noise indicates the presence of an obstruction in the pipes. This obstruction may consist of an item that accidentally washed down the drain, built-up soap scum or other debris, or mineral and hard water deposits on the sides of the pipes.

A professional drain cleaning takes care of pipe obstructions and, by extension, most gurgling or sucking noises.

4. Rattling

Your pipes travel mostly behind walls, ceilings, and floors. Pipes that hang suspended must be securely fastened. If a fastener becomes loose or falls away, you may notice a rattling noise when water moves through that section of pipe.

Because the pipe is most likely hidden, you may need a professional to find and secure the pipe and get rid of the noise.

5. Squealing or Whistling

Your plumbing system relies on many small components to make the faucets and valves work properly. When a washer or other small component wears out, you may notice squealing or whistling when that section of plumbing is used.

Most commonly, broken and worn washers occur near your dishwasher or washing machine. If you notice squeaks or squeals near those appliances when you run them, have a plumber check that all the valve components are working properly.

In many cases, loud plumbing noises require the diagnosis and treatment of a professional. If you need drain cleaning, pipe reattachment, or system calibrating, trust the team at Cleary Plumbing & Air.