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

December 08, 2021

It's a positive 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 facing several issues.

Cause: Hard Water

More than 90% of U.S. homes have hard water, which means it contains 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 wearing out quickly, you might be dealing with hard water. Having a plumber add a water softener is the best way to fix this problem.

Cause: Aging Pipes

Plumbing doesn’t work 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 life span and you’re faced with leaks, rusty water or insufficient 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 problems with your water heater. A telltale indication of high water pressure is hearing knocking in your pipes, particularly after shutting off a faucet.

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

2. Plumbing is Gurgling

Gurgling isn’t a good sound. 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 clogged. Here's the difference:

  • Partial clog—water drains more slowly than normal.
  • 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 best to have a plumber unclog your pipes, either through a snake or jetting.

Cause: Blocked Sewer Line

Your home has a sewer pipe that carries waste to the main sewer line, usually located in your yard or in the street. If this pipe gets clogged, you will likely be dealing with backup in your basement.

Things that can block or plug this pipe includes tree roots seeking water or by flushing bathroom products other than toilet paper. Whether you’re coping with tree roots or a clogged 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, encounter 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 likely too high. This can cause problems such as water leaks and damage to faucets and other fixtures. A plumber can help you regulate 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: Loose Pipe Clamp

The most common trigger of vibrating plumbing is a loose pipe clamp. This hardware keeps pipes in place when water is running 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 call 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 diagnose and fix these problems.

5. Plumbing is Bubbling

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

Cause: Blocked or Incorrectly Vented Drain

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

Central Heating & Plumbing Can Solve Your Strange Plumbing Noises

Nobody wants to hear a loud or strange noise coming from their plumbing. There are lots of different noises that can be heard from your pipes and what they mean may differs. If you have any questions about the sounds you’re hearing in your home, give us a call at 724-401-1843 today. We’re here to assist you when you need a plumber in New Castle or neighboring areas.