plumber working under sink

3 Strange Plumbing Sounds and What They Mean

The usual sounds you expect to hear from your plumbing are running water, the flush of the toilet, and an occasional squeak from an old faucet handle. However, many plumbing systems and fixtures are far from perfect and can start producing an array of odd noises after a while.

Below, our plumbing experts explain what causes three of the most common plumbing sounds our customers ask us about.

Gurgling Under the Sink

If your sink is making a gurgling, glugging, or bubbling sound that’s noticeably louder than before, there are two likely causes. Either a clog is forming somewhere in the drain, or there is a blocked vent pipe somewhere in the drain-waste-vent system.

Although most people don’t know it, some of your home’s plumbing pipes aren’t meant for water at all. They’re actually designed to let sewer gases vent outdoors, usually through a pipe in your roof. When they get blocked by something, like leaves or a bird’s nest, you might start to hear that gurgle.

In either case, you’ll want to involve a professional plumber to get to the root of the issue and remove the blockage.

Banging in the Walls

If you hear a knocking or banging sound from the pipes in your walls, you’re hearing a phenomenon called “water hammer.” Inside your pipes, water is rushing toward its destination. When that flow abruptly stops, it creates a shockwave in your pipes that causes them to shake and sometimes even bang against their surroundings.

Most homes have a device that prevents water hammer, but over time, the air pockets inside those devices can fill up with water and fail. You can try to restore the air pockets by following these steps:

  1. Shut off your home’s water at the main shut off valve.
  2. Drain your home’s water supply by turning on the cold water faucets, starting with those on the top floor of your home and working your way down. Then flush all the toilets.
  3. After all the water has drained out of the faucets, wait 30 minutes.
  4. Turn your main water supply back on, and wait another 10 minutes.
  5. Turn on your cold water faucets from the lowest level of your home up. The toilets will refill themselves.
  6. Check to see if water hammer is still happening.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, contact a plumber for help.

Popping or Knocking Inside Your Water Heater Tank

As your tank water heater ages, it’s going to collect a layer of sediment (mineral buildup) at the bottom of the tank, right over the heating element. Air bubbles can get trapped underneath this layer, and as the heating element warms that area, the bubbles can pop with extreme force, producing the sound you hear.

The best way to prevent sediment buildup is to flush your water heater tank at least once a year or more often if your water is especially hard.

Dial One Sonshine is prepared to meet your plumbing needs with quality solutions. Call (714) 252-7460 to schedule a same-day plumbing service in Orange County!

Categories