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

December 08, 2021

It's a good thing that your plumbing is reliable. 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 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 struggle 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 issue.

Cause: Aging Pipes

Plumbing doesn’t last forever. If you have an older home, it’s important to 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: Water Pressure Is Too High

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

If this is what’s creating the issue, 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 kinds.

Cause: Plugged Drain

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

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

It can be tempting to use a liquid drain opener to fix the issue, but this can create 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: Clogged 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 obstruct or plug this pipe includes tree roots seeking water or by flushing bathroom products besides toilet paper. Whether you’re coping 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 icky plumbing smells out of your home. If they get blocked, you’ll likely notice 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 annoying noise.

Cause: High Water Pressure

Humming means your home’s water pressure is probably too high. This can cause 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 sound.

Cause: Unsecured Pipe Clamp

The most common cause of vibrating plumbing is an unsecured pipe clamp. This hardware keeps pipes secure when water is flowing 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 best to work with a plumber.

Cause: High Water Pressure or Water Hammer

Less commonly, pipes can vibrate due to high water pressure or a water hammer, which happens when water that’s flowing fast hits a closed valve. A plumber can diagnose and fix these problems.

5. Plumbing is Bubbling

If your plumbing is bubbling, you’re likely dealing with issues related to gurgling plumbing.

Cause: Clogged or Incorrectly Vented Drain

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

West Jefferson Plumbing and Heating, Inc. Can Resolve Your Odd Plumbing Sounds

Nobody wants to hear a loud or strange 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 noises you’re hearing in your home, contact at 614-450-1575 today. We’re here to help when you need a plumber in West Jefferson or surrounding areas.