What the Sound Of Your Plumbing is Trying to Tell You

When identifying a problem, you should use all your senses. However, no one is telling you to use your sense of taste when it comes to a plumbing problem, but rather, one of your biggest tools to identifying a plumbing problem can be your hearing. Some plumbing problems are silent, this is true, but so many more are as noisy as they are problematic. If you can identify the sound and know what it means, you can identify the problem fast and get it fixed.

While sound can be subjective, if you hear something  close to these common sounds coming from your plumbing, here is what they may mean.


When you turn on the shower and hear shaking in your walls, it is concerning. However, the good news is that it is not the most concerning thing that can happen in your walls. When water goes through pipes, they always shake. However, if you can actually hear the shaking, it means the mounting straps are loosening. It is these straps that keep the pipes in place and help them not be so noisy when water comes rushing through. The fix on this is easy, you simply need to tighten or perhaps replace the mounting straps. However, if you are not comfortable going inside your walls, a plumber can help.


More serious, but similar sounding to shaking is to hear a loud bang when you turn on the water in your home. This sound is called a water hammer. When a closed valve stops the rush of water through a pipe, it creates a water hammer. This happens when air chambers in pipe values are clogged with water. If left alone, this will loosen pipe joints and cause pipe damage. This is why if you hear a banging sound, you want to call a plumber immediately so they can clear the chambers, or, if needed, replace any damaged parts that caused or were caused by a water hammer.

Shaking sounds can be ignored for a little while at least, but loud bangs should be considered very serious as the force can cause damage quickly, especially if the pipes are particularly old.


Similar to shaking, if your faucet screeches like a horror movie sound effect when you turn it on before the water comes out, it is unnerving. However, this doesn’t indicate a problem with the plumbing itself, but rather the faucet. It can mean a loose or somehow defective part within the faucet itself. Usually the most effective fix for this is to replace the faucet itself.


A gurgling sound when your drains are draining water is a little more serious than some other sounds. If a single drain is gurgling, this is usually a strong indicator of a clog somewhere within it. However, if you hear gurgling when you use any drain in the house, it can also mean a venting problem. In this case, if the drain is not properly vented, it can cause air bubbles that produce a gurgling sound. However, gurgling can also mean a blockage in the main sewer line, which is more serious than a standard clog in the indoor plumbing itself.

If you have tried standard methods of unclogging a drain and it still gurgles, it means a deeper clog or a venting issue. Both of which will require inspection and repair from a professional plumber.

Playing It By Ear

Some of these issues aren’t as serious as others, but all of them should be fixed. Any strange noise that your plumbing makes isn’t just a fluke, it is a symptom of a problem that needs fixed. If your plumbing has suddenly become a horrible little symphony, contact us today to see what SOS Drain & Sewer can do for you.