We Solve 5 Common Plumbing Noises: What They Mean and How to Repair 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 typical, 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 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 have hard water. Having a plumber add a water softener is the best way to solve this problem.

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 life span and you’re faced with leaks, discolored 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 water supplier or issues with your water heater. A telltale indication of high water pressure is hearing slamming in your pipes, particularly 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 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 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 enticing to use a liquid drain opener to fix the issue, but this can cause more problems. These products are corrosive 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: Blocked Sewer Line

Your home has a sewer pipe that carries waste to the main sewer line, usually situated in your yard or in the street. If this pipe gets plugged, 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 coping with tree roots or a clogged toilet, you’re going to need assistance from a professional plumber.

Cause: Plugged 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 clogged, you’ll likely notice gurgling, experience slow draining or smell sewage. A plumber can help you get to the bottom 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 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 around 60–70 PSI.

4. Plumbing is Vibrating

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

Cause: Loose Pipe Clamp

The most common cause 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 due to high water pressure or a water hammer, which happens when water that’s flowing fast hits a closed valve. A plumber can identify and correct these problems.

5. Plumbing is Bubbling

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

Cause: Clogged or Improperly Vented Drain

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

Moyer Total Indoor Comfort Can Resolve Your Odd Plumbing Sounds

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 484-646-3363 today. We’re here to help when you need a plumber in Kutztown or surrounding areas.