Your plumbing should do many things, but that doesn't include waking you up in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, noisy plumbing is a fact of life for many households, and there are numerous potential causes. While some people may be used to the sounds their plumbing makes, it's easy to be startled (and maybe a bit worried) when you hear your pipes rattling around for the first time.
The good news is that many noisy plumbing issues are relatively minor, and it's rare for loud pipe sounds to indicate a true plumbing emergency. Keep reading to learn about three situations that can cause your pipes to make an unholy racket and whether any of them require an emergency visit from your local plumber.
1. Boiler Scale Build-Up
If your home uses hydronic heating, then you've likely got a boiler somewhere that's providing the hot water to keep your house toasty. While modern boilers are incredibly safe devices, many people still find them somewhat unnerving. As a result, it's easy to be worried if you hear pops and bangs coming from yours. Fortunately, this is usually just a condition known as "kettling."
Kettling is most common in houses with hard water because the root cause is limescale build-up on the boiler's heating elements. This build-up causes uneven heating, creating the popping sound that you hear. This condition is annoying but not dangerous, and you can often add a descaler to the system to resolve the situation.
This is not an emergency, but schedule a visit if you don't want to run a descaler through your boiler on your own.
2. Water Hammer
Water hammer is by far one of the most frightening plumbing sounds you can experience. It usually sounds like a loud bang, and you may hear it after you turn off a sink or when an appliance stops using water. In some cases, it may be so loud that you hear your pipes rattling in the walls! Fortunately, water hammer's bark is worse than its bite.
This condition has numerous causes, but most relate to improper water pressure or anything that abruptly stops the water flow. Other potential issues include air in your plumbing, inadequately sized pipes, or even problems with pipe mounting.
There is no need for an emergency visit, but a plumber can help you find and resolve the underlying issue.
3. Gurgling Drains
Gurgling drains often indicate a problem with your home's drain vents, a clog somewhere deep in your plumbing, or even a blockage in your sewer line. Gurgling might not seem like a significant problem, but it's usually an indication of trouble in your plumbing. It's especially problematic if you also have frequent clogs or drain back-ups.
If your gurgling accompanies a sewage backup, you may need an emergency visit. In other cases, schedule an appointment as soon as possible to determine the root cause of your drain problems.
For more information about plumbing services, contact a local company.