Ask a Plumber Blog: Guidance from a Master Plumber

Why Are My Pipes Making Strange Noises?

When the water pipes in your home are quiet and working normally, you probably don’t give them much thought. As long as the water goes down the drain when you use the sink and the toilet flushes without spilling water out onto the floor, it’s all good.


Well, normally it is, but what if everything is working properly, yet you start hearing strange noises coming from your sink drain and behind the walls every time you use the water or turn your faucets off?

That banging or moaning noise could indicate that a poltergeist has decided to move in, but it’s probably a safer bet that somethings up with your water pipes instead.

Below are several of the common problems that we typically see and some ways to fix them.

5 Common Noises Your Pipes Make:

Banging or Hammering Pipe Noises

Water hammer may seem like a generic name for any type of pipe sounds you may hear, but it’s actually a specific noise and a specific type of plumbing problem. Water hammers are an extremely common type of noisy pipe problem to have and even though it is alarming to hear, it is also one of the easier plumbing problems to fix.

Water hammers occur when the water is initially turned off and the high pressure inside the pipes forces the water to look for somewhere to go. This results in the water banging against the pipe walls or the shut-off valve as it searches for a place to escape.

To fix this problem, you need to reset the water system’s air chamber. This is done by shutting off the main water supply to the home, which is done by turning off the shut-off valve, then opening all of the faucets in the house to completely empty and drain the pipes.

When doing this yourself, don’t forget about opening the faucets in your basement, the laundry room, and outside the house. Once this is completed, you can turn the water back on, and your “poltergeist” problem should be gone.

vibrating plumbing pipes noise trinity plumbing llc

Vibrating Pipe Noises

A vibrating pipe noise typically indicate that there is excessive water pressure running in the pipelines.

To test the water pressure in your home yourself, you will need to purchase a threaded pressure gauge. You can usually find these at a home improvement store, such as Home Depot or Lowes, for around $10.

Screw the water pressure gauge directly onto a sink faucet and check to ensure that the water pressure in your home does not excess 80psi. If you find that it is higher than that you will need to have a pressure reducing valve installed to help control your home’s water pressure, since if it is left untreated it not only wastes water, but can cause pipe damage and water leaks.

Whistling or Squealing Pipe Noises

There’s no way to prevent the normal sound of water running through the pipes, but if you’re hearing whistling or squealing noises it means the flow of the water through the pipes has been affected.

If the whistling seems to come from just one faucet and it is only happening when that faucet is run, then it probably is coming from inside the faucet itself. Most likely it is something like a dirty aerator or a washer that has become worn. To stop the noise, simply replace the part causing the problem and the whistling should stop.

If you’re hearing the whistling throughout the house, however, the problem is usually within the pipes themselves. They may have a mineral buildup or you could have a worn main water supply valve that is causing the noise. When this is the case, a professional plumber can locate the problem and recommend the best solution to fix it.

Speaking of whistling sinks, check out the spooky tune played by this sink that was recorded by meteorologist Matt Reagan in his hotel room during Hurricane Michael when it made landfall in Panama City, Florida.

LISTEN: A sink in a hotel on Panama City Beach seems to be whistling from the wind. Extremely creepy. I don’t think i’ve ever seen anything like this. #HurricaneMichael

Matt Reagan (@ReaganMatt) October 10, 2018

Squeaky Pipe Noises

This is one of those aggravating little noises that homeowners often complain about because it is in the wall and they can hear it, but it’s hard to see exactly what is happening. In most cases, a faint squeak noise is usually an indication that the copper pipes in the wall weren’t insulated properly.
When hot water flows through the metal pipes, it causes them to expand. When this happens the pipes rub up against the structural features of the house, causing a squeaking or rubbing sound.

Although we can tear out the drywall and properly insulate the pipes, we usually recommend turning your water heater down a little bit to see if that will correct the problem first. This doesn’t always work, but sometimes this is all that it takes to fix the problem.

Ticking Noises

It may sound like a ticking noise to you, but in reality, that noise you are hearing could be a dripping leak. By doing a little troubleshooting, such as resetting the air chambers like we discussed earlier and noting when you are hearing this particular noise, you may be able to determine whether something serious is going on or if what you are hearing is just the hot water pipes expanding.

If you can’t pinpoint the problem or your troubleshooting doesn’t work, it’s most likely time to get some professional help for the problem.

strange noises your plumbing pipes make trinity plumbing infographic

Do You Have a Noisy Pipe Problem?

If you have a noisy pipe problem, contact Trinity Plumbing. We’re happy to perform routine maintenance checks to fix any plumbing issues you have and help you to avoid any additional problems in the future.

Robert (Master Plumber)

Robert (Master Plumber)

Owner of Trinity Plumbing, LLC
Residential & Commercial Plumbing

Serving: Acworth, Dallas, Kennesaw, Marietta, Smyrna, & surrounding Metro Atlanta areas

Full Bio & All Author Posts
Robert (Master Plumber)

Robert (Master Plumber)

Owner of Trinity Plumbing, LLC
Residential & Commercial Plumbing

Serving: Acworth, Dallas, Kennesaw, Marietta, Smyrna, & surrounding Metro Atlanta areas

Full Bio & All Author Posts