5 Common Plumbing Noises Solved: What They Mean and How to Repair Them

December 08, 2021

It's a good thing that your plumbing is dependable. When your plumbing is making noises or is loud, you might begin to worry. While some sounds are normal, others aren’t. We’ll walk you through five common sounds and how to resolve them.

These noises involve:

  • 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 facing a couple of 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 accumulate 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 be dealing with hard water. Having a plumber install 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 lifetime and you’re dealing with leaks, discolored 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 utility provider or problems with your water heater. A telltale sign of high water pressure is hearing knocking in your pipes, particularly after shutting off a faucet.

If this is what’s causing the issue, a plumber can check and replace your home’s pressure-reducing valve as needed.

2. Plumbing is Gurgling

Gurgling isn’t a good noise. It’s usually a sign that you’re dealing with some sort of blockage or clog. Here are three of the most common kinds.

Cause: Clogged Drain

Your drain can either be partially or fully clogged. Here's the difference:

  • Partial clog—water drains more slowly than usual.
  • Full clog—water goes up instead of draining, especially in multiple drains.

It can be enticing to use a liquid drain opener to fix the issue, but this can cause more problems. These products are harsh and can eat away at your pipes. It’s always recommended to have a plumber unclog your pipes, either through 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 taking care of backup in your basement.

Things that can block or clog this pipe includes tree roots seeking water or by flushing bathroom products besides toilet paper. Whether you’re coping with tree roots or a clogged toilet, you’re going to need help 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 blocked, you’ll likely hear gurgling, experience slow draining or smell sewage. A plumber can help you get to the root of and resolve this smelly problem.

3. Plumbing is Humming

If your plumbing is humming, you’re not just dealing with an irritating noise.

Cause: High Water Pressure

Humming means your home’s water pressure is probably 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 around 60–70 PSI.

4. Plumbing is Vibrating

If your plumbing is vibrating, three problems could be creating this sound.

Cause: Loose 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 below a sink, you might be able to fix this issue yourself. If it’s behind a wall, it’s best to call a plumber.

Cause: High Water Pressure or Water Hammer

Less frequently, pipes can vibrate due to high water pressure or a water hammer, which happens when water that’s moving fast hits a closed valve. A plumber can identify and fix these issues.

5. Plumbing is Bubbling

If your plumbing is bubbling, you’re likely dealing with problems associated with gurgling plumbing.

Cause: Clogged or Improperly Vented Drain

Whether you’re dealing with a clogged or improperly vented drain, a plumber can take care of it.

Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC Can Solve Your Strange Plumbing Sounds

Nobody 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 noises you’re hearing in your home, contact at 715-318-6728 today. We’re here to assist you when you need a plumber in Ellsworth or neighboring areas.