It's a good thing that your plumbing is reliable. When your plumbing is making noises or is loud, you might start to worry. While some sounds are normal, others aren’t. We’ll walk you through five common noises and how to resolve them.
These noises include:
- Plumbing is whistling
- Plumbing is gurgling
- Plumbing is humming
- Plumbing is vibrating
- Plumbing is bubbling
1. Plumbing is Whistling
If your plumbing is whistling, you could be dealing with several issues.
Cause: Hard Water
More than 90% of U.S. homes have hard water, which means it has excessive calcium and magnesium. These minerals can build up in your pipes and appliances, causing clogs and less efficient operation.
If you have issues with soap scum, clogged pipes or appliances deteriorating quickly, you might have hard water. Having a plumber add a water softener is the best way to fix this problem.
Cause: Aging Pipes
Plumbing doesn’t last forever. If you have an older home, you should know what pipe material you have and how long it lasts.
- Brass: up to 100 years
- Copper: up to 80 years
- PVC: up to 45 years
If your pipes are near the end of their life span and you’re dealing with leaks, rusty water or insufficient water pressure, it may be time to have new ones installed.
Cause: Water Pressure Is Too High
This can be caused by your water supplier or issues with your water heater. A telltale indication of high water pressure is hearing knocking in your pipes, particularly after shutting off a faucet.
If this is what’s creating the problem, a plumber can check and replace your home’s pressure-reducing valve as necessary.
2. Plumbing is Gurgling
Gurgling isn’t a good sound. It’s usually a sign that you’re experiencing some sort of blockage or clog. Here are three of the most common types.
Cause: Clogged Drain
Your drain can either be partially or fully clogged. Here's the difference:
- Partial clog—water drains more slowly than normal.
- Full clog—water rises instead of draining, particularly in multiple drains.
It can be enticing to use a liquid drain opener to correct the issue, but this can create more problems. These products are corrosive and can eat away at your pipes. It’s always recommended to have a plumber unblock your pipes, either via a snake or jetting.
Cause: Clogged Sewer Line
Your home has a sewer pipe that carries waste to the primary sewer line, usually situated in your yard or in the street. If this pipe gets clogged, you will likely be dealing with backup in your basement.
Things that can obstruct or clog this pipe includes tree roots searching for water or by flushing bathroom products other than toilet paper. Whether you’re dealing with tree roots or a plugged toilet, you’re going to need assistance from a professional plumber.
Cause: Blocked Sewer Vent or P-Trap
The sewer vent system and P-traps on your drains keep stinky plumbing smells out of your home. If they get clogged, you’ll likely hear gurgling, experience slow draining or smell sewage. A plumber can help you get to the root of and solve this smelly problem.
3. Plumbing is Humming
If your plumbing is humming, you’re not just dealing with an annoying sound.
Cause: High Water Pressure
Humming means your home’s water pressure is likely too high. This can create problems like water leaks and damage to faucets and other fixtures. A plumber can help you control water pressure, which should be about 60–70 PSI.
4. Plumbing is Vibrating
If your plumbing is vibrating, three problems could be creating this noise.
Cause: Unsecured Pipe Clamp
The most common cause of vibrating plumbing is an unsecured pipe clamp. This hardware keeps pipes secure when water is running through them. If the loose pipe is under a sink, you might be able to correct this issue yourself. If it’s behind a wall, it’s recommended to work with a plumber.
Cause: High Water Pressure or Water Hammer
Less frequently, pipes can vibrate because of high water pressure or a water hammer, which happens when water that’s moving fast hits a closed valve. A plumber can identify and correct these issues.
5. Plumbing is Bubbling
If your plumbing is bubbling, you’re probably dealing with problems related to gurgling plumbing.
Cause: Blocked or Incorrectly Vented Drain
Whether you’re dealing with a blocked or incorrectly vented drain, a plumber can take care of it.
Contra Costa Heating & AC Can Solve Your Strange Plumbing Noises
No one wants to hear a loud or odd noise coming from their plumbing. There are lots of different noises that can be heard from your pipes and what they mean may varies. If you have any questions about the sounds you’re hearing in your home, give us a call at 510-343-9841 today. We’re here to assist you when you need a plumber in the Bay Area or neighboring areas.