No one likes to hear unknown noises in their home. You know the source most likely isn’t a ghost. And you, of course, remind yourself that when you hear those noises late at night. We’re here to give you that more reasonable, less spooky explanation. It’s your plumbing! We’ve put together a list of four plumbing noises you never want to hear – and what causes them.

A Quick Warning

To avoid damage or in rare cases unsafe conditions, some of these sounds require prompt action, such as a water pump that won’t shut off. Turn off such equipment right away. Urgent action is also needed to stop building flooding of sewage backup or to shut down other equipment that may be unsafe.

Plumbing Noises: Buzzing, Vibrating, Humming, and Rattling

There are two likely causes of buzzing, vibrating, humming, and rattling plumbing. The first is because the water pressure is too high. And vibrations from a well pump or other pumps (such as a hot water circulating pump) are readily transmitted through metal and even some plastic plumbing pipes. There is also the chance that the pipes may not be secured to the wall. Water piping can be attached to the building via wall studs or floor/ceiling joists. And the vibration quickly moves through the wall or floor and amplifies it, kind of like a giant speaker.

Banging, Clanging, and Hammering

You may hear noises that sound like a giant water-based hammer when your water faucets are shut off. And you may even hear them while the water is running! Water hammer is caused by valves shutting off too fast. To check, try partly closing a water supply valve. If the noise stops, water hammer is most likely the culprit. Our advice is to get water hammer treated as soon as possible, as it can cause major damage over a long period of time!

Hissing, Whistling, and Whining

You may be hearing high-pitched hissing or whistling sounds and water runs through your pipes. This noise is usually caused by too high water pressure. You may be able to stop or reduce these noises by reducing the incoming water pressure. It should be noted that this high-pitched noise shouldn’t occur when the water isn’t running. If you’re hearing these noises while the water is off, you may want to give us a call.

Squealing and Screeching

Shrieking plumbing noises can drive a person mad. Like above, squealing and screeching when your faucets are on could be caused by water pressure that is too high. However, it could also be caused by internal faucet parts that need to be repaired or replaced.


Drips at plumbing fixtures may make an obvious dripping sound. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the dripping water will be easy to find. It could be a small leak or a continuous stream. So, make sure to keep an eye out for any water stains and/or mold. These small drips can cost a lot in water bills. Have a plumber look at it to repair.

Gurgling Toilet

Burbling or gurgling noises near your toilet are usually caused by worn out valves or ball cock. But on a more serious level, could be a sewer line clog. A noisy toilet can usually be corrected by replacing or fixing those worn out parts. But again, you’ll most likely need a plumber to unclog any plumbing vents that might be jammed.

Running Toilet

If your toilet is running, you may hear water rippling or continual dripping. Sometimes, only an adjustment is needed. But if the toilet parts are old, is best to replace them and rebuild the toilet.

Rumbling, Knocking, or Cranking Water Heater

Some water heater noises may honestly be normal. But scale or sediment formation in a water heater can increase the sounds of clanking, popping, and rumbling. It may be a good idea to first drain your heater through the use of a garden hose. But if your system is old, it’s more likely time to replace it. Sediment in water heaters causes them to deteriorate.

Can’t Bust Your Plumbing Ghost?

If you can’t detect or solve your plumbing noise mystery, you can always call on Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating, and Air. We’ll come out and we’ll have the repair or replacement done quickly and with as little intrusion into your daily life as humanly possible! That’s why we think you should choose us. Call us at 1-412-461-2198 or contact us here! We hope to see you soon; that is, only if need help solving mystery plumbing noises!

Schedule Service

At Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating, and Air, we are here to help you and are happy to process your scheduling request by email if that is your preference. Please indicate what service area you require in your request, and we will get back to you within one business day of receiving it.

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