There can be several different underlying causes for noises coming from the water pipes within your home. It is important to determine what type of sound the pipes are making to better diagnose and troubleshoot the problem.
Water pipes that make a groaning or hissing noise are often indicating a constriction somewhere in the waterline. As the water flows through the narrower section, it will create this noise. This problem commonly develops in faucets and toilets as washers and internal fixtures wear out.
To determine the source of the problem, you will want to check both the hot and cold water lines. Start by turning on just the cold water. Then shut off the cold water and turn on just the hot. If the sound is evident with either just the hot or cold water on or is persistent with both water lines, the faucet needs to be replaced.
TIP: If you notice the noise occurs in all the faucets of your home, chances are there is a restriction somewhere in the plumbing lines.
With toilet hissing sounds, the flapper and/or ballcock valve could be worn out and need to be replaced. Remove the back toilet cover, flush the toilet, and watch how the tank refills. If it continues to fill with water past the desired shutoff and runs down the overflow, this, too, could create a hissing sound.
Another type of noise your pipes can make is a pounding or banging sound. This noise occurs when the force of the water flowing through the pipes is abruptly stopped. For instance, as your washing machine is filling with water, you may notice this type of sound when it stops filling.
You may also notice this sound if the pipes inside your walls are not secured in place. As the water flows through the pipes, it can cause movement and a “banging” against the interior wall. To remedy loose pipes, have your plumber secure them in place using different methods.
For more persistent banging noises, there are special “shock-absorbing” devices that can be incorporated into your home’s plumbing. These devices contain air and are added as “T” sections in different areas. When the water is shut off, rather than “bang,” it will attempt to force itself into the “T,” and the noise will be stopped.
In addition, depending on the type of plumbing used in your home, hot water lines can make different noises as the water goes from cold to hot. This is referred to as thermal expansion. There are different ways to resolve this problem. Again, you will want to consult with a professional plumber to determine the most appropriate resolution for your home.
TIP: Do not ignore the noises your pipes are making. In many cases, your home’s plumbing is alerting you to a problem that needs your immediate attention. Ignoring it and not getting it checked out could lead to more costly plumbing repairs later.