Welcome back to the Advantage! In this edition we will discuss how to interpret the sounds coming from your pipes, to help determine whether the noises are normal or potentially indicating a serious issue. The first step in translating the language of your pipes is to locate exactly where the disturbance is coming from, and to determine if the noise happens when the water is turned on or when it is draining. Here is a list of common plumbing sounds and their causes:
If you hear whistling or hissing when the water is turned on, you may have an intense water pressure problem. The best thing to do in this situation is to call your water supply company to determine if the water pressure is higher than normal, and inquire about solutions to eliminate the sounds by reducing the pressure. If your water is supplied by a well, call your plumbing professional to take a listen.
Chattering or Screeching
This occurs when a valve or faucet is turned on and usually disappears when it’s opened all the way, indicating loose or defective internal parts. Pumps and appliances such as dishwashers can also transfer motor noise to pipes if they are not properly connected. When appliances are installed, your plumber will utilize plastic or rubber hoses, rather than inflexible pipe, to reduce the amount of noise created.
A thud followed by a shuddering sound, also known as “water hammer,” occurs when pipes are trying to absorb an intense buildup of pressure as water is turned on. This results in pipes moving and bumping into the surrounding materials, creating a thud. Tackle this issue by contacting your professional plumber to install pressure-reducing components, such as air chambers, as well as noise-softening devices on the pipes.
Scratching, squeaking, tapping, creaking, and snapping are often caused by the expansion or contraction of pipes used to supply hot water. The disturbances can occur when the pipes slide against loose fasteners or strike surrounding materials. Although generally harmless, these sounds can result in larger issues, such as leaks or flooding, due to excessive movement in your plumbing system.
Other plumbing noises may suggest a bad toilet fill valve or flapper. If you hear strange sounds when your toilet is flushed, lift the lid and manually lift the flapper to see if the noise ceases. If lifting the flapper stops the sound, you may need a new one. If the sound does not stop, the culprit might be the fill valve and will likely need to be adjusted or repaired.
Stubborn plumbing sounds can often be resolved by upgrading fixtures. If you’re planning to replace plumbing products, such as faucets or toilets, we offer water-saving alternatives that are less noisy than conventional models.
If you are unsure of what the sound is or how to fix it, or have any plumbing questions or concerns, contact Vilandres to make an appointment. We would be happy to be the interpreter between you and your plumbing.