4 Plumbing Sounds That Signal a Problem

overhead view of bathroom

While it’s normal for a residential plumbing system to make some noise while operating, certain sounds can indicate that there’s an issue somewhere in the pipes or fixtures. If you’re not sure whether your home’s plumbing is making regular noises or if you should be calling a plumber, keep reading!

The Drain Gurgles Under the Sink

If you hear a gurgling, glugging sound in a sink drain or in the plumbing directly underneath a sink, there are two likely causes.

  • A clog is forming.

  • Something is blocking a plumbing vent.

While most homeowners are familiar with clogs, many are less familiar with plumbing vents. Your plumbing system has pipes specifically for ventilation. These pipes stick out of your home’s exterior (usually on the roof) and allow sewer gases to leave your plumbing system and fresh air to come in. Unfortunately, because these vent pipes are exposed to the outdoors, they can get clogged with debris, such as leaves, branches, bird’s nests, and animal carcasses.

The Pipes Make a Shaking or Clattering Sounds

It’s fairly common for water supply pipes to move a little as water rushes through them. However, if you can hear the pipes shaking or clattering, then it’s a good idea to call an expert check on the pipes and secure them with new mounting straps. If the pipes move around too much, the fittings may become loose enough to cause a leak.

The Pipes Make a Banging Sound

This sound is created by a phenomenon known as water hammer, and you’ll hear it when you suddenly turn off the water at a faucet or when a water-using appliance shuts off. Right up until you turn off the water, it’s rushing through your pipes to the point of use (ex. a sink, washing machine, etc.). When the water gets shut off all of a sudden, it’s brought to an abrupt stop, which produces a shock wave and hammering sound in the pipe.

Plumbers install piping with air chambers that act as cushions to absorb the shock waves and prevent water hammer. Over time, however, these air chambers can get waterlogged and must be created again.

The Water Heater Makes a Popping or Knocking Sound

Unfortunately, that is not the sound of a fresh batch of popcorn. If you hear popping or knocking sounds coming from your water heater, then it’s overdue for a good flushing. Water heaters need to be flushed periodically to get rid of the sediment that builds up inside of their tanks. The sediment (made of limescale and other mineral deposits) collects on the bottom of the tank and forms a barrier over the burner, decreasing your water heater’s efficiency and hot water capacity.

For smart plumbing solutions in Tyler, you can count on Rudd Plumbing, proudly serving East Texas since 1920. Give us a call at (903) 290-0851.

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