Are you hearing strange noises in the middle of the night like banging, clattering, or hammering coming from inside your walls? Have you noticed the kitchen sink drain makes a gurgling sound at different times? Or do you hear the sound of dripping water, but can’t figure out where it is coming from?
While you might initially think your home is being haunted by a Halloween ghost, these are all indications something is wrong with the plumbing in your home. The noises in water pipes at night are often more noticeable since there are fewer background noises, especially after you have shut off the TV and are getting ready for bed.
Finding the source and cause of the problem is important because, if you say it’s a ghost and do nothing, it can lead to more costly plumbing repair services down the road. Once you identify the reason for the noises, you can then assess whether it is something you can do yourself or if you need help from professional plumbing companies, like us, here at MET Plumbing.
Banging, Clattering, or Hammering Noises
The first thing you will want to do is make sure there is no water running anywhere in the home. Next, turn on the cold water of one faucet to see if you hear any of these sounds. Then, shut off the cold water and repeat it with the hot water. Repeat this process for every faucet in the home.
If only one or two of the faucets make noise when shutting off the water, it often indicates the pipes do not have an air chamber or have filled with water. Air chambers are special attachments that cushion the flowing water and prevent noise. Without an air chamber, the water is not cushioned when you shut the faucet off, and it will attempt to flow backward, resulting in a banging, clattering, or hammering noise.
If only a few faucets make these noises while water is running, it could indicate loose fittings and attachments that hold the plumbing lines. Since there is nothing to hold the pipes securely, they can move as the water flows through them and bang the inside of walls.
If all of your faucets are making this noise, then it is probably because the air chambers have filled with water or do not have air chambers installed. It could also indicate the plumbing was not correctly installed in the home and all the water lines are not secured correctly.
Fixing Banging, Clattering, or Hammering Problems
There are a few simple things you can do yourself before calling in a plumber for help. First, check to see if there is a pressure regulator attached where the water comes into the home. If there is, you need to make sure it is set at 55 PSI or less. Anything higher, and it can create excess pressure that can cause pipes to bang and hammer and also damage appliances, like your dishwasher, refrigerator’s ice maker, and washing machine.
The other self-check you can do is to shut off the main water line into the home. Next, open the faucet at the highest point in the home, and then the faucet at the lowest point, which could be your outdoor water faucet. Once all the water has drained out, shut off the highest point faucet.
Now, turn the water back on, leaving the low-point faucet open to allow the air to flow out of the lines. If you no longer hear noises when turning the water off, this means the air chambers were previously filled with water.
By draining the water out of the lines and allowing air in, it refilled the air chambers. If you still notice noises, then your plumbing is most likely missing air chambers, and you will want to have these installed by your local plumbing company.
For plumbing lines that are not secured, it is best to leave this to a professional because you need to make sure to use the right hardware to secure pipes in place. In addition, it could require cutting into drywall or flooring to access the water lines.
Gurgling Sounds Coming out of the Drains
Gurgling sounds could occur if the water is being run in another part of the home and is attempting to draw air into the drain lines. For instance, if you flush the toilet and notice a gurgling sound coming out of the bathroom sink drain, this means the toilet is attempting to draw air into the drain from the nearby sink.
Gurgling is often indicative of improper plumbing venting or there is a blockage in the vent. Plumbing vents are those pipes you see on the top of your roof where the bathrooms are located in your home. Sometimes small objects and animals can fall down the pipes, if they do not have screens, and can cause a blockage.
Fixing Gurgling Sounds
You will want to make sure none of the vents are blocked. Your plumber can do this for you because it can require using a long plumber’s snake to reach all the way down and through the vent. You will also want to install screens over the top of vents to prevent objects or small animals from falling down inside the pipes.
Dripping Water Noises
If you hear what sounds like dripping water, you need to find the source immediately. This indicates there is a water leak in your home’s plumbing. The first thing to do is to make sure all water faucets are shut off and not dripping themselves. Late at night, when everything in the home is quiet, a dripping faucet can make it seem like it is coming from the walls because the sound carries everywhere.
Finding the Source of Dripping Water
An easy way to check for slow dripping faucets is to make sure the sink is dry, close the drain, and also wipe dry the end of the faucet. Wait an hour, and then return and inspect the sink and faucet. If you see water in the sink and notice the end of the faucet is also wet, this means a faulty shutoff valve in the faucet.
Have your plumber replace the shutoff valve and washers or have them install a new faucet. If none of your faucets are leaking, yet you hear water dripping, then the problem becomes more serious. It could mean a fitting between pipes has become loose or the pipes have developed a small crack.
Depending on the location of the sound in your home, there are a few different self-checks you can perform, as follows:
- Feel around the bottom of the wall for dampness, as well as wet spots on the floor or carpeting.
- In basements, look around where you hear the sound for wet spots and puddles of standing water.
- Check your crawl space in the location where you hear the sound for wet spots or puddles of water.
- If you notice falling down or wet insulation from the basement ceiling or under the crawl space, this often points to the source of the leak.
Even if you cannot find the source of the dripping sound, it is still highly recommended to contact a plumber for assistance. Small drips and water leaks can damage insulation, cause wood rot, create mold and mildew, and damage the support structures of your home.
Crackling, Snapping, and Popping Sounds
If you notice these types of noises coming from your hot water heater tank, it is a good indication there is sediment buildup in the bottom of the tank. Sediment can form from calcium deposits and minerals in hard water, as well as be caused by rusted particles inside the tank.
Removing Sediment from the Water Tank
Contact your plumber to request that the water heater tank is drained and flushed. This is an extreme and potentially dangerous process, and it should only be performed by an experienced plumber since they will be draining out scalding hot water.
For water tanks more than ten years old, the tank could be near the end of its useful lifespan, so it may be time for a new water heater. Your plumber can advise you on your options, such as energy-efficient tankless hot water heaters.
From whooshing sounds to banging and clattering, these types of noises do not mean your house is being haunted by a ghost. Rather, your home is trying to tell you something is wrong with your plumbing.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the noises your pipes, faucets, toilets, and plumbing make are all unique and indicate different types of problems. Diagnosing and troubleshooting the causes and remedies will often require help from our expert plumbers at MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning.
Feel free to give us a call at 281-603-9949 for help resolving your noisy plumbing today! Remember to ask about our current promotions and plumbing specials!