What’s that noise? No, your house isn’t haunted: your plumbing system is just trying to get your attention. Pipes can make all sorts of sounds that range from quiet and annoying to loud and unsettling. Each noise indicates a specific type of plumbing issue.


A banging noise in your pipes actually has a name: it’s called a water hammer. This happens when water has been abruptly shut off. All the water that was trying to get through the pipes now hits a closed valve, resulting in a shockwave. If your plumbing is now banging regularly, your system has probably become waterlogged. Cure the problem by turning off the water behind the waterlogged area. Open the faucet and allow the water to drain properly.


This gross noise sounds as if your plumbing is trying to clear its throat. And in a way that’s what’s happening here. Your pipes are gurgling because they’re having trouble draining properly. The blockage could be from a small object, soap scum, or other types of buildup. A thorough drain cleaning results in smoother, quieter flow.


Pipes have small parts, too. These are objects like aerators for faucets or washers that connect each joint. Whistling occurs when one of these small parts has worn away. Most of the time, the noise can be fixed by simply replacing whatever part is broken. If the whistling is more widespread, the problem probably lies within the pipes themselves. You may have mineral deposits on your hands. That can be solved with chemicals or a vinegar and baking soda solution.


A ticking noise can actually have many root causes. One of them is temperature: your pipes naturally expand when they’re hot and contract when they’re cold. Another could be an unstable plumbing system. Some of your pipes may have become detached and are now ticking against the wall or floor. Water leakage is also a possible cause: the slow drip of a leak can sound like ticking. Professional plumbers will be able to accurately diagnose what the source of the tick is, as well as how to solve it.

As frustrating as noisy pipes are, it’s important to not ignore them. Some of the quietest plumbing sounds could end up becoming the most expensive to solve. So the next time your pipes decide to speak up, listen.