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

December 08, 2021

It's a positive 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 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 facing several issues.

Cause: Mineral Buildup

More than 90% of U.S. homes have hard water, which means it has too much 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 have hard water. Having a plumber install a water softener is the best way to solve this issue.

Cause: Old Pipes

Plumbing doesn’t work 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 close to the end of their lifetime and you’re faced with leaks, discolored water or low water pressure, it may be time to have them replaced.

Cause: High Water Pressure

This can be caused by your utility provider or problems with your water heater. A telltale indication of high water pressure is hearing knocking in your pipes, especially after turning off a faucet.

If this is what’s causing the problem, a plumber can inspect and replace your home’s pressure-reducing valve as necessary.

2. Plumbing is Gurgling

Gurgling isn’t a good noise. It’s usually a symptom 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 blocked. Here's the difference:

  • Partial clog—water drains more slowly than normal.
  • Full clog—water rises instead of draining, especially in multiple drains.

It can be tempting to use a liquid drain opener to correct the issue, but this can cause more problems. These products are corrosive and can erode your pipes. It’s always best to have a plumber unblock your pipes, either via a snake or jetting.

Cause: Blocked Sewer Line

Your home has a sewer pipe that transports waste to the main sewer line, usually located 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 plug this pipe includes tree roots seeking water or by flushing bathroom products besides toilet paper. Whether you’re dealing with tree roots or a plugged 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 clogged, you’ll likely notice gurgling, encounter 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 irritating noise.

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 around 60–70 PSI.

4. Plumbing is Vibrating

If your plumbing is vibrating, three problems could be causing this noise.

Cause: Unsecured Pipe Clamp

The most common trigger of vibrating plumbing is a loose pipe clamp. This hardware keeps pipes in place when water is flowing through them. If the loose pipe is under a sink, you might be able to fix 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 commonly, pipes can vibrate because of high water pressure or a water hammer, which happens when water that’s moving fast runs into 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: Clogged or Improperly Vented Drain

Whether you’re dealing with a blocked or improperly vented drain, a plumber can fix it.

Appalachian Heating Can Solve Your Odd Plumbing Noises

Nobody wants to hear a loud or odd noise coming from their plumbing. There are many 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, contact at 304-707-0600 today. We’re here to help when you need a plumber in Mount Hope or surrounding areas.