The Audible Guide To Bathroom Plumbing Problems

It's easy to see visual plumbing problems in your bathroom like water leaks or standing water in your tub. One of the harder problems to diagnose are random sounds that come from the toilet and bathroom as a whole. By carefully listening to the troubling sounds in your bathroom, you can hone in on what the actual problem is and make it easier for when describing the problem to a plumber. Figuring out the source of the noise and the potential problem can also help you budget the possible costs for parts and labor.

Clug, Clug, Clug

After using the sink or shower, you may notice the water is slow to drain and has a "clug, clug, clug" emitting from it as the water slowly drains. This noise is typically the sign of a blockage in the drain. Grease, hair, and other debris could be preventing water from going down the drain smoothly. The clug noise occurs when air comes up between the water and is released from the pipe.

A professional plumber should be brought in for drain clearing and cleaning. Using drain cleaners exposes your pipes to chemicals, may not solve all the problems, and they are generally bad for the environment. Along with freeing the clog in the drain, a plumber has the ability to go deep within your plumbing to determine if another area is the source of a clog.

Clinks & Clanks

When using water, you may notice that pipes in the wall are clinking and clanking. There could be multiple causes of this and a plumber must investigate the problem further.

  • Loose Pipes: When pipes are not properly fastened to to the wall or home structure, they can move and hit each other as water rushes through them. The more they hit against objects, the more likely they can crack or get more damage. A plumber can properly fasten the pipes and keep them from making contact with other pipes.
  • Cold Temperatures: During the winter, temperatures in your walls may cause pipes to clink and clank as they are affected by the cold. In most cases this is normal, but a plumber may need to investigate any potential air leaks in your wall and bathroom. Insulated pipe coverings can prevent the water from freezing and creating additional problems in your home.

Bang, Bang, Bang

When you first turn on the water, you may hear a loud and repetitious bang against the pipes. This noise can be shocking in some circumstances, but it is usually a part of a normal process called "water hammer." When the water hasn't been used in a while, it can shoot out from the hot water heater. The fast rush of water causes the pipes to move and "bang" against other objects.

One of the easiest ways to prevent the noise and protect your pipes is with a water hammer arrestor. A plumber can install the small part that prevents the water from slamming into the pipes. It will also help make water use very quiet in your home.


If you hear a whistling from your toilet, don't worry, an animal isn't swimming inside and trying to communicate. A whistling sound from the toilet is typically an indication of a fill valve problem. When the fill valve is leaking on your toilet, water will slowly run, creating the whistle sound. Sometimes a simple adjustment of the fill valve is the only thing needed to stop the leak. If the leak occurs again, then a plumber can replace the fill valve in the toilet. They can also examine other details under the toilet lid to make sure everything operates smoothly and no water is wasted when the toilet is flushed or not running.

Describing these sounds to a plumber can make it a lot easier for them to figure out the problem before arriving. They may also give you tips over the phone to help with emergency repairs and water stoppage.

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