What is that noise in my house?

Houses make sounds. Some sounds are normal, and some sounds are an indication that there is a problem with one of the areas in your home.

Gurgling, banging, and whistling noises are some of the noises that indicate there is a problem with one of your plumbing fixtures.

Some of these noises can be corrected if you have access to your water supply pipes. Some of the sources of these noises need to be corrected by a professional plumber.

Gurgling Wastewater Systems

Gurgling noises are typically noises that are coming from the wastewater system in your home. It could be making a gurgling noise because the drain is clogged, and it needs to be cleaned out.

It also could be because there is no air supply vent to the plumbing fixture, or the vent has some sort of blockage. For example, in a bathroom, if you flush the toilet and there is no vent to that toilet, or the vent is not working properly, it may suck the water out of the trap on the bathtub into the trap on the toilet.

This will cause the bathtub trap to become dry, and you can sometimes hear a gurgling noise from the drain. Also, if one of the traps is not full of water anymore, it will not stop the sewer gas from coming into your home, and you may start to smell a foul odor.

Whistling Faucets or Fill Valves

Whistling noises are typically noises that are coming from malfunctioning faucets or fill valves inside of your toilet tank. If there is water flowing over an opening that is not fully open and there also is air present, it will make a whistling sound.

Typically, by replacing the internal cartridges in your faucet or the internal parts of the shutoff valve in your toilet, the noises will go away. Whistling noises also can be an indication of high-water pressure.

Banging Pipes Problem

At times, you may hear your pipes start to bang if they have not been secured properly or if they have become loose.

If you check, your pipes should be secured to every other joist in the wall, or about every 32”. The worst hammering and banging noises occur on fixtures with quick-closing valves or electric valves called actuators.

The two that are the most common are the dishwasher and the clothes washer. As they become filled with water, the appliance will electrically shut off the valve. This abrupt shut off of water will sometimes cause a banging reaction and sound.

There are devices that can be installed at the water supply to each of those fixtures that provide a small shock absorption to reduce the noise or take it away completely. Hand-controlled fixtures, such as faucets, usually do not cause as much banging because the shutoff is much more gradual.

Whole Home Shock Absorber

Finally, there is a whole home shock absorber, a device that is added to the main line of the home directly after the water meter. It resembles a small propane tank. It is pre-pressurized with air and contains a rubber bladder on the inside.

As the system pressures up, it allows for expansion and contraction inside, preventing the pipes from banging. The extra air goes directly into the device, causing the rubber bladder to move.

Recently St Paul Pipeworks did a repipe where a customer was hearing a banging noise. They could not isolate where the sound was coming from, so they installed a whole home shock absorber, but even that didn’t stop the noise.

Finally, they isolated the sound to the water meter itself. They called the City of St. Paul, and the city came out and replaced the water meter free of charge, causing all the noise to go away.

St Paul Pipeworks goes the extra mile to make sure all of their customers’ plumbing needs are satisfied. If you are hearing strange noises that may be coming from your plumbing fixtures or are just looking for a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area, give St Paul Pipeworks a call today.

Yours Truly,
Matthew Dettwiler
Social Media Manager


Q: Why is my plumbing making noise?

A: Plumbing systems can produce various noises due to different reasons. Some common causes include:

  • Water Hammer: When water abruptly stops or changes direction in a pipe, it creates a loud banging noise known as water hammer.
  • Loose Pipes: Vibrations from water flow can cause pipes to become loose, resulting in rattling or knocking noises.
  • Air in the Pipes: Trapped air can lead to gurgling or bubbling sounds when water flows through the pipes.
  • Mineral Buildup: Sediment or mineral deposits in pipes can obstruct water flow, leading to whistling or hissing noises.
  • High Water Pressure: Excessively high water pressure can cause loud banging or humming noises in the pipes.

Q: Can plumbing noises indicate a serious issue?

A: While some plumbing noises are harmless, others may indicate underlying problems that require attention. Ignoring certain noises can lead to more significant issues, such as burst pipes or leaks. It is essential to have a professional plumber inspect your plumbing system if you notice persistent, loud, or unusual noises.

Q: How can I prevent water hammering in my plumbing?

A: To prevent water hammer, you can take the following measures:

  • Install Water Hammer Arrestors: These devices absorb sudden water pressure changes, preventing the loud banging noise.
  • Adjust Water Pressure: Consider reducing the water pressure in your home if it’s excessively high.
  • Secure Loose Pipes: Ensure all pipes are adequately fastened and secured to prevent unnecessary movement and vibrations.

Q: What should I do if my plumbing is making strange noises?

A: If your plumbing is producing unusual noises, you can follow these steps:

  1. Identify the Source: Determine where the noise comes from to narrow down the possible causes.
  2. Check for Obstructions: Ensure all drains are clear and debris-free.
  3. Inspect for Leaks: Look for signs of leaks or dripping water around your plumbing fixtures.
  4. Contact a Professional: If you cannot identify or resolve the issue, it’s best to contact a licensed plumber to diagnose and fix it correctly.

Q: How can I prevent plumbing noises in the future?

A: Regular maintenance and some preventive measures can help reduce plumbing noises:

  • Annual Inspections: Schedule yearly plumbing inspections to catch and address any potential issues early.
  • Water Softener: If you have hard water, consider installing a water softener to prevent mineral buildup in the pipes.
  • Proper Use: Avoid flushing foreign objects down the toilet and be mindful of what goes down the drains.
  • Timely Repairs: Address any plumbing problems promptly before they escalate and cause more significant disruptions.

By taking these steps, you can maintain a quieter and more efficient plumbing system in your home.

Why is my plumbing making noise?