At Blue Bear Plumbing, we receive phone calls each day from concerned homeowners in the Boston area who hear strange noises coming from their plumbing systems. Even in older homes, you should expect your plumbing to work quietly and deliver clean hot and cold water on demand. If you hear any of the following 11 noises, call us to schedule an appointment with one of our technicians. We will find the reason for the noise, explain the necessary repairs and fix the problem for you.

1. Banging

Banging noises from a residential plumbing system indicate that there is a problem with the pipes. In most cases, what has happened is that a bracket holding the pipe in place has come loose or broken. Typically, this type of banging only happens when you turn the water on and off. The movement of the water causes the pipe to swing in place and bang against the wall or frame of your house. The pipes are usually in good shape. One of our technicians can examine the pipe brackets to find the broken one and quickly tighten it or replace it with a new bracket.

2. Hammering

Known as a water hammer, this noise indicates that there is a problem with the water supply. You can test this by checking to see if the noise stops once you turn off the faucet. The sound is produced by a phenomenon known as hydrostatic shock that results from a sudden change in the acceleration of water through the pipes. Water hammers can be remedied by installing a damper system in your plumbing that prevents hydrostatic shock. Water hammers should be repaired because the pressure buildup inside the plumbing system can cause pipes to break or burst.

3. Clanking

If you hear a metal-to-metal clanking sound from your plumbing, this is related to the hot water heater. Older components inside the tank are being subjected to high pressure and hitting the side of the tank. The problem can be corrected with new parts for your water heater. In more severe cases, it is best to replace the entire unit. Our technician will also check the fittings and pipes coming out of the water heater to look for any signs of corrosion or damage that may need to be addressed when the new water heater is installed.

4. Vibrating

Vibrations in a plumbing system typically begin at the pump. What happens is that the pump is vibrating, and the energy is being transmitted through the pipes. This can be an especially challenging problem to diagnose on your own because the noise can be produced quite a distance from the origin of the sound. In these cases, the technicians from Blue Bear Plumbing install special clamps around the pipes to prevent the vibration from traveling throughout your house. We’ll also check the pump to make sure that it is working properly and secured in place.

5. Buzzing

Buzzing is another common problem that is reported by Boston area homeowners. This typically indicates an issue with the electrical parts of your plumbing system, such as the electric motors that help distribute hot and cold water. In many cases, buzzing sounds can be fixed with sound insulation around the pipes. Because electrical components are involved, though, we always recommend that the entire plumbing system be inspected. Buzzing can mean breaks in electrical wires that can cause a fire in your home.

6. Popping

Water heaters are responsible for many of the unusual noises that homeowners in Boston notice coming from their plumbing systems. If you hear a popping sound, it may be caused by a buildup of calcium inside the tank. You can follow the manufacturer’s instructions for routine cleaning of the tank to see if that helps. If the popping continues after draining it, the tank may need to be professionally cleaned. Our technicians can remove the outer shell of the tank and use special techniques to remove calcium. They’ll also inspect the tank for any signs of corrosion that is caused by excess calcium. You can reduce the likelihood of future problems by installing a water softening system.

7. Hissing

Hissing from a hot water heater may be caused by steam escaping from the unit. It may also be caused by the interaction of the heating elements and minerals in the water. The elements should be checked for any buildup. Installing a water softening system and routine cleaning of the hot water heater are also recommended. A technician from Blue Bear Plumbing can drain and clean your hot water heater.

8. Clicking

Clicking noises from your plumbing system are related to the water pump relay that controls pressure through the pipes. Much like your heater in the winter, relays do make a quiet clicking noise when they turn on and off, but the sound should be barely noticeable. If the clicking is loud or frequent, the relay may need to be replaced. Running your plumbing with a bad water pump relay increases the likelihood of too much pressure inside the pipes, and this can lead to them breaking or bursting. If the relay does not allow enough water through the pipes, you will have low pressure for your appliances and fixtures. This means that you’ll be using more water than necessary, and your utility costs may increase gradually.

9. Clunking

When the pipes, check valve, or controls of your water heater need to be repaired or replaced, the unit may make a clunking noise occasionally. The sound comes from the changes in water pressure as the unit delivers hot water from the tank to the pipes.

10. Dripping

Dripping is never a good sound, and it’s also the one issue that most homeowners in the Boston area ignore. Drips from your fixtures indicate that the gasket is broken or the fixture is damaged. Even the smallest dripping problem should be repaired by a technician from Blue Bear Plumbing because this is one problem that can quickly escalate. Not only will your fixtures further break down, but the dripping water also creates an ideal environment for mold growth. Removing mold from your bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry area is costly, and many types of mold are known to produce health issues.

11. Shrieks

Hearing a shrieking sound from any part of your home is unsettling, to say the least, and few people consider their plumbing systems as the source. Most shrieking sounds come from the heating system, which is not typically considered part of the plumbing system. We typically see this happen in older homes that use radiators or steam pipes. In these cases, the shrieking comes from a hole or break in the water pipes that support the heating system. Usually, the issue can be quickly repaired. If your heating system has not been properly maintained, though, our technician may recommend replacing sections of the pipe.

Get Help With Your Plumbing Noises

Regardless of the age of your home, you don’t need to live with mysterious and troublesome plumbing noises. Blue Bear Plumbing offers a complete range of expert residential and commercial plumbing services, including water heater installation and repair, drain cleaning, sewer camera inspection, and gas fitting. You can also count on us for heating and cooling installation, repair, and maintenance. Call us today for more information.

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