Home Improvement

Water Pipes Making Noise

Noisy pipes are quite common in older homes. From banging to whistling, these sounds can be both annoying and scary. Sometimes they can be a minor annoyance and other times they can be a sign of a serious problem with your plumbing. Which is which, depends on the sound you hear. So if you:

  • hear a humming sound when the water is not running,
  • hear a rumbling sound when the water is not running,
  • hear a strange noise when the tap is opened,

Then, read along.

Table of Contents:

Banging or knocking noise when no water is running

This sort of noise can be heard out of the blue or rather randomly, meaning one morning, it could be all nice and quiet until the next day, when you wake up to a banging racket. Quite the way to start or end your day, isn’t it? The most likely cause for your pipes to make funny noises, when no water is running, is sediment build-up.

How to clear sediment build-up

The older your plumbing is, the more mineral build-up you would have, thus, the more noisy it will be. To remove the sediment, do this:

  • Pour some hot water down the drain where the noise is coming from.
  • Pour some baking soda in the drain and let it sit for a while.
  • Pour boiling water to clear out the baking soda.

Knocking noise after you shut off water supply (either cold or hot)

You might have noticed a noise after your dishwasher or washing machine have finished their cleaning cycles. You might even hear fast knocking noise after you flush the toilet. The reason for this is probably water hammering.

Water usually hammers after a water valve is abruptly turned off. The water which was running inside the pipes then crashes into the valve, producing a hammering noise. Some homes have water hammer arrestors, which should prevent this from happening. In older homes, however, plumbing installations have T-sections, which are in effect air chambers. These chambers hold air and act as shock absorbers. Every once in a while, the air inside gets replaced by water and that’s when the noise starts. This can happen even if there is no water flowing.

Fixing your problem with water hammering may prove difficult, but let’s see what you can do. For this purpose, you’d have to drain all the water from your plumbing system, then refill the latter again. Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn off the water supply to your home.
  • Find the highest tap in your home and turn it on.
  • Find the lowest tap and turn it on.
  • Let all the water drain out. Afterwards, air will fill up the air chambers.
  • Turn off the lowest tap.
  • Turn on the water supply.
  • Wait until the top tap stops sputtering, then turn it off.

Clicking/ knocking noise when hot water is turned on

This kind of noise starts very soon after you turn on the hot water tap and doesn’t stop until you close the tap. If that is the case, chances are you probably have CPVC lines, short for chlorinated polyvinyl-chloride lines. These are used for hot water supply and many homes have them.

The reason for the noise is the nature of CPVC lines. This kind of piping usually expands and contracts after hot water has run through it. If the pipe has been routed through a hole, which is too small, then you’d hear noises when it expands. A good builder should take this factor into consideration, but alas…

The only solution is to find that problematic pipe and expand the space around it. Sadly, that would require cutting through the wall.

Learn what other plumbing solutions we offer by visiting our page.

Groaning noise

A groaning noise, or sometimes a hissing noise, is a sign that you have a constriction somewhere in the pipes. The noise happens when the water flows through a narrower section. If you hear this noise, it’s probably coming somewhere from your toilet or taps. Internal plumbing fixtures wear out, causing this type of noise to happen.

This is how to determine the source of the noise in taps:

  • Turn on the cold water, then turn it off.
  • Do the same with the hot water tap.

Whichever tap makes a noise is the one you need to replace.

Humming noise

Water pipes making a humming noise is usually the result of having a very high water pressure in the plumbing lines. If, or rather in this case, when, the pressure is too high, pipes can start to vibrate. That vibration will make a humming noise, especially if the water is running. You can test the water pressure in your home by purchasing a threaded pressure gauge. They are not expensive and can be found in hardware stores. Screw it directly onto a sink tap. The water pressure must not exceed 80psi (pounds per square inch). If it is higher, you will need to purchase and install a pressure reducing valve.

Another reason might be because one of your valves is not fully open. Make sure all of them are fully opened, before ruling out this possibility.

Rattling noise

Your pipes are hidden behind walls and ceilings and floors. Most of them are fastened safe and sound in their place. However, over time, or due to bad installation, some pipes can get loose. That’s when you hear a rattling noise whenever water flows through that wobbly pipe.


There may be three reasons why you hear a gurgling noise.

  • A gurgling noise is the result of your pipes having difficulty draining. Something is causing that difficulty and it may be: an item accidentally washed down the drain, a debris-build up or mineral deposits on the sides of the pipes.
  • Also a gurgling noise is produced by air forced through water in the drain trap. That’s a sure sign of improper plumbing ventilation.
  • Last but not least, a gurgling noise is caused by a blocked vent pipe. This pipe connects all your other pipes and vents through the roof. It can be easily blocked by leaves, fallen debris during heavy rainfalls, bird nests, etc. When it’s blocked, air escapes from other openings, such as sinks.

Whistling noise

A whistling or squealing noise in your pipe means that the waterflow has somehow been affected. It is possible to hear this noise from only one tap. For your taps and valves to work property they rely on many small, but crucial, components, such as washers. When a washer wears out,  you may hear a whistling or squealing noise every time you turn on the water. Another reason could be that an aerator has become dirty. Either way, it’s easy to replace this part on your own.

If the noise is heard through your entire home, the cause may be anywhere within the whole pipework. Reasons differ:

  • a worn out main valve
  • mineral build-up
  • Ineffective pressure regulator

 There’s no way to know, unless a professional checks it out.

Call a professional

If you’re tired of looking for the source of that annoying noise, then maybe, you should consider hiring a professional. Fantastic Services works with well-equipped and highly experienced plumbing technicians in London, who will find the source of the problem and remove it. So, book a certified local plumber with us and spend your time on more enjoyable activities, while the specialist handles the job for you!

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  • Noisy pipes are not necessarily an indicator of a huge problem with your pipework
  • Try to identify the exact kind of noise or just call a professional to help you out!


Do you have noisy pipes? What kind of sound do they make? Let us know what steps you’ve taken to remove the noise in the comment section below!

Image Source: Shutterstock / FotoDuets

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