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Plumbing Noises Explained by WRJ Cota & Cota

Jun 29, 2017 11:01AM ● By Linda Ditch
Ever wonder what those noises coming from your plumbing mean? Maybe there’s a thump in the wall or a gurgle in the drain. Here are some of the most common noises and what they might mean.

Water running when it shouldn’t. This is usually a problem with the toilet. Remove the toilet tank cover and look inside. Has the chain leading to the flapper come loose or become kinked? Fixing that could solve the problem. Next, reach in and press on the flapper. If this stops the running water, the flapper and its opening (also called the seat) may need to be cleaned or replaced.

Is water running into the overflow pipe? When you lift up on the float arm (a metal rod with a plastic ball on the end) or the plastic canister float that slides up and down a plastic pipe, does the water stop? If so, the fill valve is not completely shutting off the water and the ballcock assembly may need to be replaced.

Thump in the wall when the water turns off. Known as a water hammer, this happens when a valve is closed quickly and the water stops hard. Water hammers are common with washing machines and some older dishwashers, which have electric shutoff valves. When they shut off the water, it immediately stops. The installation of a charged air cylinder known as a shock absorber or water hammer arrester, which acts as a cushion for the stopping water, will fix the problem.

Drain gurgling. This is a blockage of air in the drain, typically caused by a clog. Removing the clog should fix the problem.

Rattling. Something is loose—a pipe clip or hanger, or the pipes are rubbing together.

Whistling noise. This is usually a broken faucet washer that is caught in a valve. The sound is water trying to get by.

Strange noises from the water heater. This is frequently just normal tank expansion. However, properly maintaining your water heater is important. Open the manual pressure relief valve at least once a year to make sure it works. Never set the temperature higher than 212 degrees. On addition, keep combustible items away from gas water heaters. Your owner’s manual will give you all the information necessary to keep your water heater working safely and efficiently.

Fixing these problems can be straightforward, DIY repairs for a handy homeowner. However, if you are at all unsure how to proceed, call in an expert, such as Cota and Cota in White River Junction. They will be able to access and fix the problem so your home’s plumbing doesn’t disturb your peace and quiet.

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