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Common Plumbing Noises and What They Mean

Plumbing pipes are relatively quiet under normal circumstances, so if yours have been making noises, it’s probably worth checking them out. As one of the leading heating and air conditioning companies in San Jose, Efficient Systems discusses common plumbing noises and what they mean.

Common Plumbing Noises and What They Mean



Whistling sounds are usually caused by a leaking toilet fill valve. The sound is transmitted through the pipes, so pinpointing the toilet in question isn’t always easy. If you’re hearing this sound, go through the house and check each toilet. Once you’ve found the culprit, adjust the fill valve mechanism. If the whistling sound is persistent, you may have to replace the fill valve.

Vibrating Sounds After Flushing

Sometimes a toilet can make a brief vibrating sound after flushing, which also happens to be related to fill valves. The diaphragm gasket is a flexible rubber component that’s part of the fill valve top cap. As it ages, the rubber becomes less flexible, to the point where it vibrates (as opposed to settling in place) after the toilet is flushed. This noise is amplified by the pipes, making it sound louder than it really is.

To address this, simply lift the fill valve float arm to stop the vibration. This isn’t a permanent solution, of course, so if the noise persists you’ll need to have the diaphragm gasket replaced. The component itself is readily available in most hardware stores and, depending on the type of toilet, usually takes less than an hour to replace. If you’re not confident doing toilet repair yourself, plumbing, heating and air conditioning companies like Efficient Systems are here to help.

Banging Noises

Banging noises in the pipes can be caused by two different conditions:

  • Improperly Secured Piping — Water flowing through the pipes exerts pressure at turns and obstructions in the plumbing. Improperly secured piping will start banging and vibrating when hit by such pressure, which is why long pipe runs should be well-secured. If you’re planning on undertaking a renovation project, take it as an opportunity to reduce the number of turns in your home’s plumbing system.

  • Water Hammer — Water hammer happens when a faucet is turned off abruptly under high pressure. The remaining length of the faucet absorbs the full force of the water pressure, creating a loud hammering sound. Persistent water hammer can damage the water pipes. Water hammer can be fixed by installing a device called a water hammer arrestor, which features a valve that adds headroom to help absorb water pressure.

Call Efficient Systems for Your Plumbing and HVAC Needs

If you need heating, air conditioning or plumbing services, talk to one of the best heating and air conditioning companies in San Jose. Call Efficient Systems at (317) 759-5562 or fill out our contact form.