Do you take your home's plumbing for granted? You shouldn't. If the system that was designed to provide you with clean water and wash away waste just keeps on keeping on, day after day, you should actually consider yourself lucky. Faucets, fixtures, and pipes that need repair or replacement often make their presence known loud and clear. Here are 5 funny noises you might hear from plumbing which is in distress, together with potential solutions.
- Faucet Drip, Drip, Drips
A faucet that drips on and on and on when it's supposed to be turned firmly off is definitely annoying. In addition to the aural irritation, the noise is a reminder of the quantity of (expensive) water that you are involuntarily wasting. Most likely all that's required is a new washer, but if the sink or bathtub hardware is more than 20 years old, you may be ready to replace your faucet, especially if you've been through this drippy story a few times before.
Another type of bothersome dripping may occur in your kitchen sink sprayer. Instead of gushing up like Old Faithful, your sprayer might gasp out just a trickle of water. When this happens, it could be that the diverter valve (which is located in the faucet handle) needs cleaning. Take it out and give it a good soak in a white vinegar solution before replacing.
- Faucet Squeaks
A squeaky faucet is another relatively minor problem that nevertheless has incredible nuisance value. Fortunately, this kind of faucet repair can generally be taken care of with a minimum of fuss or expense, via a washer change or an application of plumber's grease to faucet handle stem threads that have worn down. Once again, though, a faucet which has outlived its useful lifespan may need replacement, rather than repair.
- Pipes Screech or Whistle
While it may be annoying or even frightening, pipes that whistle, screech, squeal, or howl like a banshee when you turn on the faucet are not usually a major trouble spot. The main difficulty is in pinning down the precise source, as there are quite a few possible causes for the racket.
You may have air in your pipes. This is an easy DIY fix. Close the water shutoff valve and turn on the faucet full force until it drains dry. Then reopen the valve.
You may have a bit of debris or other obstruction in your pipes. Flushing the system with water can help.
The pressure may not be turned up high enough. Short-term fix: turn on the faucet to full pressure every time. Longer-term repair: replace faucet washers or valve stem. Adjust your water pressure regulator.
The water flow rate to individual plumbing fixtures may need adjustment.
- Shower Whooshes or Rumbles
A disturbing whooshing or rumbling sound when you try to take a relaxing shower is probably caused by a buildup of mineral sediment (aka "lime scale") in either the water heater or the pipes, common in regions with very hard water. Flush your water heater once a year to remove the scale. If the problem is in the plumbing pipes themselves, you may need to have them professionally cleaned by a licensed plumber. In either case, consider installation of a water softening system to reduce this type of issue in the future.
- Pipes Rattle
Sometimes a bizarre noise connected to your bathroom or kitchen fixtures may not be coming from the inside of your plumbing system, but rather the outside. For example, if your pipes have a tendency to shake, rattle, and roll, they may simply be loose. Securing them firmly in place could be all that is necessary to calm them -- and you -- down.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.