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If Your Plumbing is Making These Sounds, There’s a Problem

Listen up! If your plumbing is making any unusual noises, it’s trying to tell you something. Strange sounds can come from anything connected to a water line, and they indicate issues both minor and major.

Keep your ears attuned to these sounds to catch problems early.

A Bang or Thump When You Turn Off a Faucet

If a loud bang or thump greets you each time your turn off running water, you likely have a water hammer. A water hammer occurs when the water velocity is brought to a halt, sending a shock wave through the pipe. It can be pretty jarring -- even worse, damaging to your plumbing system. All that thudding could loosen connections.

Contact a professional plumber to determine if your water pressure is too high. If it is, a plumber can either adjust the pressure or install a water hammer arrestor. A water hammer arrestor is a small, vertical cylinder installed on the water line that absorbs hydraulic shock -- a silencer for your plumbing system.

Strange Toilet Noises

You’re so familiar with the sounds your toilet makes that your ears will be attuned to anything out of the ordinary. Fortunately, most unusual toilet noises can be narrowed down to just one of several problems.

Foghorn sound: If your toilet makes an alarming foghorn sound when you flush, it’s likely because it has a metal ballcock (don’t laugh) fill valve. The washer inside the assembly may be loose or worn. To be sure, follow these steps:

  • Open the toilet tank
  • Flush the toilet
  • When you hear the foghorn noise, lift the float to the top of the tank

Did the noise stop? If so, you’ve found your culprit.

If you’re ambitious, you can remove the ballcock valve and disassemble it to replace the washer. Or you can more easily replace the ballcock valve entirely. This device is relatively inexpensive and available at most any hardware store.

Persistent hissing: The hissing following a flush is the sound of the tank filling. It should stop once the tank is full. But if the hissing continues, it’s likely because water is leaking out of the tank. The rubber flap at the bottom of the tank can degrade, letting water slip through and into the bowl. That’s why the tank is refilling continuously. Fortunately, this is an easy fix:

  • Cut the water to the toilet by closing the shutoff valve on the water supply line.
  • Flush the toilet to drain the tank.
  • Disconnect the flapper
  • Attach the new flapper

If that didn’t work, your toilet’s fill valve might be faulty. In that case, call the pros.

Gurgling or bubbling: Gurgling or bubbling suggests negative air pressure in the drain line, likely resulting from a clog. As air releases, it causes the water in the toilet to bubble. This could either be a minor issue or a major one, depending on the clog’s severity. Clogs can be caused by toilet paper or more stubborn obstructions such as tree roots. If you can’t work out the clog with a plunger, contact a professional plumber for assistance because a clog of this magnitude could lead to filthy and unsanitary sewage backups in your sink bathtub.

Rumbling or Banging From the Water Heater

A water heater is one of the most silent appliances in your home, so when it makes any noise at all, it’s usually cause for concern. Keep your ears open for rumbling or popping sounds, as they could indicate trouble.

A water heater that pops and bangs typically has a bed of sediment or mineral buildup (calcium or lime) on the burners. (The sound you’re hearing is hot water bubbling up through the layer.) To prevent this, flush your water heater annually.

This is a common problem with hard water. Install a water softener to protect your water heater and plumbing.

Turn to the Tacoma Area Plumbing Professionals

The experts at Bob Larson Plumbing LLC are happy to listen to your plumbing system for an accurate diagnosis. We have more than 20 years of experience and come highly rated! To schedule your appointment, call (253) 780-0844 today!

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