Plumbing noises are always a little disconcerting. With every rattle, pop or gurgle, you’re left wondering how serious the situation could be. But how does the average homeowner know when it’s really time to call an expert? (We recommend Pronto Plumbing, of course!)
Below are some of the most common plumbing noises and what they mean. This way, you can decide whether to comfortably look the other way, or to contact someone to help you out.
PLUMBING NOISE: Banging or whistling when the water is turned off.
CAUSE: This sound is usually caused because there’s too much air in the pipe. (Some whistling may also be caused by sediment.)
FIX: Although this sound isn’t indicative of a major problem when it first begins, it’s probably annoying (at best). And over time, it can damage pipes. A plumber can install a valve so the air situation is addressed, or, in the case of whistling pipes caused by build-up, the plumber can clean the drain.
PLUMBING NOISE: Creaking pipes.
CAUSE: It’s a strange sensation to hear the pipes in your walls “creaking”, but know that it’s no ghost! It’s actually because the pipes are expanding and contracting.
FIX: Again, this isn’t a problem that has to be fixed in the next 24 hours, but if you want to solve it for good, a plumber can help you with pipe insulation or increased wall/pipe space.
PLUMBING NOISE: Gurgling or “sucking” sounds when water is running or has just run.
CAUSE: This is typically a sediment build-up issue within the pipes.
FIX: Depending upon the make-up of your pipes, you may be able to use an over-the-counter remedy to fix the blockage. If it doesn’t work, call a plumber and have the pipes professionally cleaned out.
PLUMBING NOISE: Strange sounds after flushing the toilet.
CAUSE: This sound could indicate a number of problems, such as an issue with a fill valve, flapper or pipe.
FIX: It’s time to call the plumber on this one. After all, who wants to deal with the mess of a toilet plumbing nightmare?
PLUMBING NOISE: Screeching when the garbage disposal is turned on.
CAUSE: This sound has a number of potential causes, such as a motor that’s burned out or blades that have been clogged.
FIX: If you can CAREFULLY (turn off the electricity to the garbage disposal!) examine the garbage disposal, you may be able to address the problem. HOWEVER, if you feel at all wary of doing so, we highly recommend calling a pro.
PLUMBING NOISE: The water heater makes all sorts of strange sounds.
CAUSE: Again, this could be indicative of many different issues, including defective parts or a too-high temperature setting.
FIX: A plumber can help you pinpoint the problem and provide solutions.