The most important thing to do in determining what certain plumbing noises mean is to figure out whether they are coming from the pipes themselves or if they’re happening on the drain side.
Hissing Noises in Pipes
If you have a hissing noise coming from your pipes when a faucet is turned on just slightly means that there’s an excessive water pressure problem. You may want to contact your local water company in this case. They can tell you what the water pressure is in your area. With this information, you can call a plumber to find out if installing a pressure-reducing valve on the incoming water supply pipe will solve the problem.
Thudding Noises & Shuddering Pipes
If you have shuddering pipes, accompanied by thudding noises, whenever a faucet or valve in an appliance is turned off, it’s called “water hammer.” What causes this thudding and shuddering is noise and vibration caused by reverberation from the pressure of water being quickly discharged into piping that has some sort of tee fitting, elbow, or other restriction.
“Water hammer” problems can be fixed by having a plumber install shock-absorbing fittings often called air chambers. By connecting these to the problem faucets or valves, they will absorb the shock wave caused by the halted flow of water by allowing the air they contain to compress. If further repairs are needed, your plumber will consult you.
Screeching or Chattering Noises in Plumbing
If you turn on a faucet or a valve is open and there are screeching or chattering noises that happens, there are a couple of reason. One possible reason is that there are loose or defective parts in the plumbing. The solution in this case is actually rather easy. You just replace the faucet or valve with a new one.
The other possibility is that washing machines and dishwashers can transfer their motor noise into the pipes if they aren’t connected properly to the plumbing. It could be that they are connected to the plumbing with rigid pipes, which isn’t a good idea. The solution for this is also rather easy. The offending appliance just needs to be linked to the plumbing with different plastic or rubber hoses. That will help isolate the noise.
While these solutions are rather simple, you still want to call a plumber to make sure the repair is done right.
Other Piping Noises
There are other common noises in the plumbing that mean that something needs attention. Other common plumbing noises include creaking, scratching, snapping, squeaking, and tapping. These are all typically caused by contraction or expansion of pipes that supply hot water. The noise is from the pipes hitting against house framing or sliding against loose fasteners.
Finding the source is usually as easy as just following the sound, especially if it’s coming from exposed pipe. The culprit is often a loose pipe hanger or pipes that are very close to floor joists or other framing. The solution is typically simple, using foam pipe insulation and checking the pipe hangers and strapping are correctly supporting the pipes. You still want to hire a plumber to make sure the job’s done right and that there aren’t multiple pipes that need to be addressed.
Noises Coming from Drain Pipes
If you hear noises coming from the drain pipes, you’ll want to consult a plumber. There may be pipes that are not properly insulated or are too close to surfaces that they’re striking against. This isn’t typically a do-it-yourself job, so you really should hire a plumber to evaluate and repair these drain pipe issues.
Make sure that any plumbing noises you have in your home are correctly troubleshooted and repaired. While you may able to do some of the troubleshooting yourself, consult a licensed plumber to double-check your troubleshooting and make the repair. That way, you know any and all potential plumbing problems are fixed before you have a larger plumbing repair on your hands.