Are your noisy pipes talking trouble?
Noises coming from inside the walls, especially in older homes, might conjure up images of evil spirits, but the more likely culprit is the plumbing. Here’s a rundown of common noises and likely causes.
That Constant Gurgle
Does it sound like the water is running even when all the faucets and appliances are off? The trouble may be inside a toilet tank. If the toilet flushes fine, but keeps on running, you likely have a leaky flapper. (A flapper is the rubber piece that stops the water flow when the tank is full.) The fix is easy: Clean off the flap with an old toothbrush to see if you can achieve a watertight fit or replace the flapper. Most home improvement stores can provide you with how-to instructions.
An occasional harmless “cough” from a faucet occurs when air enters a pipe. But regular coughing may be a sign of a cracked pipe. Call the water department and have them check your meter and surrounding lines. If they don’t find a problem, call a plumber. Fixing a leak before it becomes a break saves money in the long run.
If you hear loud bangs when a faucet is turned off you may have “water hammer.” This issue can occur when a washing machine or dishwasher changes cycles and a water valve slams shut. The sudden change in water pressures can cause pipes to jar. Having a plumber install water hammer arrestors should solve the problem.
When water pipes moan or whistle, this may mean there is an obstruction in a pipe that is creating higher-than-normal pressure. The x may require draining and flushing out the system or replacing some or all of the water pipes.
We all know what this means — a leak. If a faucet won’t stop dripping, you may have worn washers or a leaky valve assembly. A fairly handy homeowner can x most drips with the replacement parts available at home centers. A second option is to replace the entire faucet.