Plumbing Noises You Do Not Want to Ignore!

The holiday season is full of sounds that can warm your heart from Christmas carolers to logs cracking in the fireplace to the laughter of children and loved ones around the dinner table, but your plumbing system making unexpected noises can put a winter chill in your bones.

“From clanking radiators and creaky floors to gurgling toilets and dripping pipes, your home can sometimes make a cacophony of sounds,” writes Monica Torres in the HuffPost. “It’s important to know the difference between noises that are simply annoying to live with and ones that you should not ignore.”

Let's face it, the only haunting noises you want to hear this time of year should be from rewatching the ghosts from “A Christmas Carol” and not your pipes making moaning noises.

When it comes to your plumbing, certain sounds can be an indication of a serious problem. If you're hearing any of the following noises, it's important to call a plumber right away.


  • What it Sounds Like: A rattling or clanging sound. If you live in Texas or the southwest you might be looking in your boots for a rattlesnake!

  • What it Could Mean: Loose pipes, improperly secured pipes. Water hammer, caused by the sudden stop or change in water direction, can also lead to this sound.

  • What a Plumber Will Do: A plumber will inspect the plumbing system to identify and secure loose pipes. Additionally, they may install water hammer arrestors, which absorb the shock caused by sudden water flow changes. Proper securing of pipes and addressing water hammer can prevent damage to pipes, fittings, and fixtures.


  • What it Sounds Like: A loud banging or knocking sound. There might not be anyone at your door but your pipes talking to you!

  • What it Could Mean: Banging pipes are a common cause of water hammer. This occurs when a water valve shuts off too quickly, causing the water to surge back through the pipes. Water hammer can damage pipes and appliances, and it can also be quite loud.

  • What a Plumber Will Do: A plumber will inspect the plumbing system to identify and secure loose pipes. Additionally, they may install water hammer arrestors, which absorb the shock caused by sudden water flow changes. Adjusting water pressure and securing loose pipes can also help eliminate water hammer.


  • What it Sounds Like: A high-pitched screeching sound that can sound as pleasant as fingernails on a chalkboard.

  • What it Could Mean: If you hear a screeching noise coming from your faucets, it's likely that the washers are worn or damaged. This can cause the water to leak out of the faucet.

  • What a Plumber Will Do: A plumber will inspect the plumbing system to see if your washers are worn or damaged and replace them as needed.


  • What it Sounds Like: A gurgling or bubbling sound in your drains.

  • What it Could Mean: Gurgling sounds typically indicate issues with drainage and ventilation. It may signal a blocked or clogged drain or a problem with the venting system, leading to air bubbles in the drain.

  • What a Plumber Will Do: Plumbers will use drain snakes or augers to clear blockages in the drain and ensure proper venting. If the issue persists, they may conduct a camera inspection to identify more severe blockages or defects in the sewer line. Addressing gurgling sounds promptly can prevent slow drainage, foul odors, and potential sewer backups.


  • What it Sounds Like: A subtle hissing noise – again, if you have a snake phobia, this sound will raise the hair on your neck!

  • What it Could Mean: A hissing noise can be a sign of a hidden water leak. Leaks may occur in pipes, valves, or fixtures, and the hiss is the sound of water escaping.

  • What a Plumber Will Do: A plumber will conduct a thorough inspection to identify the source of the hiss. This may involve pressure testing, using specialized equipment to detect leaks, and visually inspecting pipes and fixtures. Once the source is identified, the plumber will repair or replace the damaged components, preventing water waste and potential water damage.


  • What it Sounds Like: Steady dripping sound – second only to the buzz of a mosquito that keeps insomniacs awake at night.

  • What it Could Mean: The sound of dripping water is a clear indication of a leak, whether from a faucet, fixture, or a hidden pipe. Ignoring a drip can result in wasted water, increased water bills, and potential water damage.

  • What a Plumber Will Do: Plumbers will inspect the affected area to locate and repair the leak. This may involve replacing worn-out washers, fixing faulty valves, or repairing damaged pipes. Timely intervention can prevent water waste and mitigate the risk of structural damage.


  • What it Sounds Like: A high-pitched whistling noise.

  • What it Could Mean: Whistling sounds often indicate a malfunctioning pressure-reducing valve (PRV), causing excessive water pressure. High water pressure can strain pipes, fittings, and appliances.

  • What a Plumber Will Do: Plumbers will test and, if necessary, replace the PRV to ensure that water pressure is within the recommended range. Ignoring a whistling noise can lead to damage to plumbing fixtures, increased water bills, and potential leaks.


  • What it Sounds Like: A continuous running or hissing noise from the toilet tank.

  • What it Could Mean: Constant running indicates a leak in the toilet tank, allowing water to continuously flow into the bowl. This leads to water waste and higher water bills.

  • What a Plumber Will Do: Plumbers will inspect the toilet tank components, including the flapper, fill valve, and flush valve, to identify and repair the leak. Ignoring a running toilet can result in substantial water wastage and increased utility costs.

Ignore Your Plumbing Noises at Financial Risk

There is a reason you should not ignore plumbing noises as minor problems can turn into costly repairs for homeowners and landlords. Here are five of the most costly plumbing repairs in your home:

  • Sewer Line Replacement: A damaged sewer line can lead to backups and environmental hazards, requiring extensive excavation and replacement.

  • Slab Leak Repair: Undetected leaks beneath the foundation can cause structural damage, necessitating costly repairs.

  • Water Heater Replacement: Ignoring signs of a failing water heater can result in a sudden breakdown, requiring a costly replacement.

  • Mold Remediation: Prolonged water leaks can lead to mold growth, requiring specialized cleanup and repair.

  • Pipe Replacement: Aging or corroded pipes may require replacement to prevent extensive water damage and maintain a reliable plumbing system.

Call Pilot Plumbing today in North Houston and Montgomery County to solve your plumbing noise problems.

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