These Plumbing Problems Aren’t Ghouls — But They Do Go Bump in the Night

Anyone who has ever been taking a shower or brushing their teeth before bed and has heard something go bump in the walls knows how scary these strange sounds can be, especially around Halloween. There’s nothing like a mysterious sound coming from who-knows-where to get the heart pumping and the hairs standing on end. Luckily, these sounds don’t (usually) mean that the house is haunted. Instead, they’re an indication of something much more sinister: a plumbing system issue. But when homeowners know what the sounds mean, they can be better prepared to deal with them in the best manner possible.

A Haunting Humming or Buzzing Sound

A humming or buzzing sound is often a cause for concern, especially if it continues long after it is first noticed. The good news is that a humming or buzzing sound isn’t usually caused by something super serious.

The humming sound is usually caused by the pipes vibrating behind the walls. And while this isn’t necessarily going to damage anything right away, it’s still pretty annoying. The vibration is typically caused by the home’s water pressure being a little too high. If the humming persists, it’s best to call a plumber to take a look at the water pressure, lowering it to between 40 and 60 psi if necessary. If the humming is coming from the toilet, it could mean a faulty or worn-down fill valve that needs to be replaced.

Screaming Pipes or the Wind Outside?

Some plumbing issues sound like there’s a ghost screaming in the walls. Some homeowners describe this as a whistling sound rather than a scream, but the result is still the same. It still causes chills and doesn’t mean anything good, that’s for sure. When the screaming or whistling noise sounds like it’s coming from a fixture, it’s likely due to a worn-down washer or some other piece of internal plumbing hardware that needs to be replaced.

However, a whistling sound can also be caused by high water pressure or a faulty pressure regulator valve. If the sound is coming from behind the walls, it could be because minerals have built up in the pipes and the sound of water rushing through the constricted piping causes the sound. If this is the case, there may need to be some repiping done by a professional plumber.

Water Hammer Can Give a Fright

What homeowners often describe as the scariest sound coming from behind the walls is the banging sound of a water hammer. This sound usually happens when a valve is shut off somewhere in the house, causing the remaining water in the pipe to create a kind of shock wave as it bangs against the pipe. This, in turn, can cause the pipe itself to move, banging into wooden wall components of other pipes.

A water hammer is usually easy to fix with the help of a plumber. Calling a professional company to perform water line services and check the water pressure is usually all it takes. Most of the time, one can fix the water hammer by lowering the water pressure in the home.

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