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Your plumbing is making noise. What’s it trying to tell you?

Practical home plumbing self-assessment tips you can use before calling in the experts

Shake, rattle, and roll belong in a song, not your plumbing. What about other noises? A hiss? Banging? Gurgling?

What is your plumbing trying to tell you when it starts making noise? Here are some practical home plumbing self-assessment tips you can use before you call in the experts.

My sink is making noise. Now what?

If the noise is coming from the sink, it indicates a problem with the taps, the drain, or the plumbing line itself.

If it is the drain, take note of which sink is causing the noise. The kitchen sink drain can become blocked from bits of food or oil - it’s a good idea to keep both out of the drain system. In the bathroom, the drains could become clogged from a mix of soap scum and hair.

If there is a gurgling sound coming from one of the sink drains, it could mean it’s clogged or partially blocked. If more than one drain is gurgling, the problem could be in the sewer or main drain line.

A gurgling noise in the drain could also be the result of a blocked plumbing vent pipe in the roof. These vents are small enough that birds can build a nest, or fly in and become trapped. Leaves can also accumulate in the vent pipe.

The pipes are talking

Plumbing pipes can make all kinds of noises. Heating and cooling in the plumbing lines can sometimes be heard as they expand or contract. A pipe that vibrates or makes a thrumming sound and may be the result of too much water pressure.

What about a loud banging noise? Or a series of smaller banging noises? Common causes include trapped air in a pipe or changes in water pressure.

A bang from trapped air can be heard when the faucet turns on. Seasonal cottages, for example, have air in the lines as the lake water is pumped up to all the fixtures.

Bangs can also be heard when the water flow suddenly stops, such as turning off a faucet. This is known as a “water hammer”.

Many plumbing pipes are hidden from sight or enclosed in a wall. If a pipe fastener becomes loose, a rattling noise can be heard as the water moves through that section. Rattling can also occur if your pipe fittings have become loose over time or were not installed correctly.

Appliances such as a dishwasher, or washing machine, may squeak or squeal when running because of a broken or worn washer.

And that hissing sound? This will occur when there is a leak in a water line under pressure. Find the source of the hissing and there will likely be a pool of water. Turn off the water to the area until it can be fixed.

Toilets can make all kinds of different noises from ghost flushing to whistling to several others that have already been mentioned above but some of the reasons may differ. For example, whistling could indicate a problem with the ballcock valve. This is the valve in the toilet tank that fills it with water.

Err on the side of caution and avoid costly damage

If there is a noise that worries you, contact Plumbtech Plumbing Inc.

The Barrie-based company can inspect your water pipes and correct the fastenings and/or install shock arrestors. Experienced plumbers serve the greater Simcoe County area and Muskoka. They know their noises and have the tools to diagnose and fix them.

Plumbtech Plumbing also has a 24-hour-a day, seven-day-a-week emergency service. Call 705-722-7209.