If you’ve ever found yourself kept awake by things that go bump in the night, you already know that homes can generate all kinds of odd, apparently inexplicable noises. While some of these sounds may stem from foundation settling or other non-urgent issues, others can occur due to plumbing problems that require professional care.
Once you know what kinds of sounds a plumbing issue can create, and what those sounds may signify, you can recognize a problem and contact your plumber for an inspection before that issue can develop into a crisis. Pay special attention to the following five sounds that often signal plumbing trouble.
1. Water Dripping
Even at low volume, an insistent sound of water dripping can keep you awake at night or distract you from daytime work. In many cases, this sound occurs when a faucet’s inner mechanisms no longer seal off the water flow completely due to corrosion or wear and tear. Over time, this tiny failure can make a big impact on your water bills.
If you keep hearing water dripping even though none of your faucets leak, you may need to get the plumbing system’s pipes inspected. A cracked pipe or loose joint can dribble water inside walls or foundations, potentially causing serious structural damage. The sooner you schedule an evaluation for this symptom, the better.
2. Gurgling Sounds
Gurgling sounds often indicate a clogged drain line somewhere in your plumbing system. You can often tell whether you suffer from a system-wide clog by noting whether activity in one plumbing appliance triggers a bout of gurgling in another, such as a shower drain that gurgles when you flush your toilet.
Outdoor drains can develop clogs just as interior drains can. For instance, if a sewer line clogs up, you may experience gurgling accompanied by a foul odor. Get this symptom evaluated and dealt with immediately. A rooftop drain vent clogged by debris or dead vermin can also produce these trouble signs.
3. Banging, Rumbling, or Knocking Noises
You may notice a repetitive knocking or banging noise coming from within your walls. This sound, which plumbers refer to as water hammer, often results from loose pipes, pipes struggling under excessive water pressure, or the old-fashioned air chambers that feature in vintage plumbing systems.
An experienced plumber can find and fix your water hammer problem. Possible solutions may include the replacement of narrowed pipes, pipe tightening, or adjustments to your water pressure settings. If your pipes come with air chambers, your plumber may install a silencing device called a water hammer arrestor to eliminate the knocking.
Water heaters can sometimes make loud knocking or rattling noises as they collect mineral deposits such as lime and calcium. As these minerals fall out of suspension, they can trap water between the deposits and the bottom of the tank. When the heater activates, the boiling water pops out from beneath the sediment, making a loud banging noise.
If you ignore this problem, the water heater may start overheating, which in turn may eventually lead to a destructive, expensive leak. You may also benefit from the installation of a water softener system.
4. High-Pitched Squeals or Whines
High-pitched noises coming from your plumbing system may mean nothing more than a worn-out washer in a faucet. However, they can also indicate a problem in your pipes. For instance, the same kind of sediment that collects in water heaters can also narrow pipe diameters, creating abnormally high water pressure.
You may also hear whining or whistling noises if a pipe’s pressure-reducing valve sustains damage or wears out. Request professional plumbing services for this potential problem before the increase in pressure can cause the pipe to crack or burst.
5. Toilet Hissing Sounds
Toilets typically make a characteristic hissing sound for several seconds after people flush them. This sound occurs as fresh water fills the toilet tank to replace the water lost by flushing. However, if you hear this hissing sound from your toilet constantly, whether you flush or not, the toilet has developed a problem.
The most likely culprit in this case involves a fault in the assembly that opens and closes the bottom drain of the toilet tank. Normally, a chain attached to the flush mechanism lifts a rubber flapper to open the drain. If this flapper has worn out, or if the chain has gotten detached from it, your toilet tank water may flow continuously.
If a mysterious noise makes you wonder whether your home has developed a plumbing problem, contact Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. at (630) 964-2222, for assistance. Our skilled technicians can inspect every inch of your plumbing system to track down the noise and make any necessary repairs or replacements.