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 dependable. When your plumbing is making sounds or is loud, you might start to worry. While some sounds are normal, others aren’t. We’ll walk you through five common noises 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 struggle 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 last 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 new ones installed.

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 banging in your pipes, especially after turning off a faucet.

If this is what’s creating 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 kinds.

Cause: Clogged 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 rises instead of draining, particularly in multiple drains.

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

Cause: Clogged Sewer Line

Your home has a sewer pipe that transports waste to the primary sewer line, usually located 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 searching for water or by flushing bathroom products other than toilet paper. Whether you’re dealing 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 hear gurgling, experience 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 sound.

Cause: High Water Pressure

Humming means your home’s water pressure is probably 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 cause of vibrating plumbing is a loose pipe clamp. This hardware keeps pipes secure when water is running 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 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 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 clogged or improperly vented drain, a plumber can take care of it.

LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc. Can Resolve Your Strange Plumbing Sounds

Nobody wants to hear a loud or odd noise coming from their plumbing. There are lots of 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, give us a call at 570-648-0748 today. We’re here to help when you need a plumber in Paxinos or neighboring areas.