Halloween is coming quickly, and that means now is the season for unexplained spooks and chilling frights. And while costume-clad trick-or-treaters may bring about lots of noise with frequent knocking and sugary demands, they aren’t the only noises you might be hearing from our house. In fact, your walls themselves might be emitting unexpected creaks, thumps, or taps that signal the presence of a potential poltergeist.
However, these noises are more than likely not the work of a haunting spirit, but rather an audible signal from your plumbing lines. And ignoring these issues likely won’t make them go away anytime soon either. Here are three of the noises you might hear this holiday season and a brief explanation as to what might be causing them.
Thumping, Pounding, or Clanging
Are you hearing an unexpected thudding, vibrating, or pounding sound coming from inside your walls? Do you seem to notice it immediately after a large water use, such as flushing a toilet, filling the washing machine, or turning off the shower? This is a problem known as “plumber’s hammer” and it is typically a sign that the water pressure in your indoor plumbing lines is too high.
When water is flowing, it actually carries a moderate amount of momentum because of its relatively heavy weight. Therefore, a good amount of water moving at a fairly high speed can carry a not-insignificant amount of force. When you close off your water tap, such as when your toilet or washer shuts off, that water then needs to come to a sudden stop, and this gets even more difficult when the water in your lines is at a high level of pressure. Sometimes, when this force has nowhere to go, it simply reverberates throughout the water line, causing the line itself to vibrate. This creates a loud and distinct thumping noise in your wall, often in an area somewhere near the water fixture that has just shut off.
Is this issue harmful? Not necessarily. However, a vibrating water line can eventually experience issues. The vibrations can slowly cause the line to break and spring a leak. Likewise, excessive water pressure can cause a number of really dangerous issues. Therefore, we advise fixing this issue by having a professional plumber install a water pressure regulator in your home.
Have you ever heard an unexplained high-pitched whine coming from inside your walls, under your sink, or near some appliance that uses hot water? The explanation for this phenomenon is simple: the sharp temperature difference between the water and the pipeline is causing the pipe materials to rapidly expand. When these materials expand, they cause other supplemental changes in your pipes. For example, a copper hot water line that expands rapidly will create a squeaking noise against an anchoring strap that holds the pipe in place. As the line shifts or readjusts after the temperature drops back down, the squeaking can return again.
While this noise is also not inherently dangerous to your plumbing, it can tell of a pretty distinct problem: uninsulated plumbing lines. Hot water lines that are not insulated will lose a lot of energy, and that will put a rather significant dent in your wallet. Furthermore. Rapid expansion and contraction of your plumbing lines could lead to material fatigue after several decades, and that in turn could cause the line to develop cracks or leaks that waste water and damage your home.
Non-Stop Sound of Trickling Water
This noise, while easily the most discernable, might be the spookiest of them all. A trickling water sound is indicative of a leak, and plumbing leaks are no joking matter. Even a small leak can slowly cause issues like structural rot, ruined flooring, destroyed drywall, mold growth, and plenty of other issues if they aren’t handled correctly.
Trickling water sounds can happen all over your home, including around sinks, in toilets, near showers, and even in walls that may seem like they are nowhere near any sort of a water fixture. Many people also forget about a potential source of leaks, and that is the water lines that run in the slab beneath your feet. Slab leaks are a particularly serious issue that can cause major foundation damage, and nobody wants to deal with that kind of fright at any point of the year (much less around the holidays).Happy Halloween from our family to yours here at Smith’s Plumbing Services! Call us at (901) 290-1110 today and let us take the fright out of your plumbing problems.