Does it seem like your house may have picked up a poltergeist in the runup to Halloween this year? Chances are you haven’t inherited a ghost who’s trying to torment you—it’s probably just your home experiencing a fairly routine problem in your plumbing. The pipes that run through your walls and fixtures which contain or utilize your water are all prone to some odd noises, and some of them may seem completely disconnected to your plumbing, prompting the mystery. On this blog, we’ll take a look at three common plumbing problems that can make some spooky noises in your home and tell you a little bit more about what causes them and how to get them fixed.

Tapping or Banging on the Walls

Does it sound like something is tapping on your walls from the inside, trying to escape? If you notice a frequent, loud tapping coming from inside your walls, the answer is most likely a condition known as “plumbing hammer.” Plumbing hammer occurs when the water pressure in your plumbing lines is too high. When you have high pressure, suddenly cutting off the flow of water means the energy from that water flow needs to be redirected somewhere. If there’s nowhere to go, the pipe itself shakes or vibrates. Thus, you get the tapping or banging in your walls after a toilet flush cycle or when you shut off a faucet. Fixing this issue is pretty simple, but is something you should leave to a professional—dealing with water pressure issues takes some expertise, and you may need to have a new pressure regulator valve installed on your main water line to limit the pressure of the water entering your home.

Whistling Coming from Your Pipes

Do you hear a high-pitched whistling coming from your walls or from an exposed pipe when you have water running somewhere in your home? Whistling is a symptom of two possible things: either an obstruction in your plumbing line which is vibrating as water passes over it, or a worn-out plumbing valve. A worn-out valve is an easy fix—all you need to do is figure out which valve is doing the whistling and a plumber can swap it out quickly. An obstructed pipe is a different matter: you’ll have to find where the whistle is coming from. If the spot is easily accessible, then you can quickly remove the issue or replace the damaged pipe. However, finding the whistling source quickly isn’t always easy. Whistling can sometimes appear to be coming from a rather long section of pipe, and precisely locating the issue can be tricky. A professional plumber can help you get this done quickly and accurately.

A Toilet That Runs Without Flushing

A toilet that turns on and runs without being flushed isn’t a sign that a ghost has used your restroom without your knowledge. Instead, this is usually a sign that your flapper has gone bad. Your flapper is a small piece of rubber that acts like a drain stopper between the tank and the bowl portion of your toilet. When you press the flush lever, the flapper lifts and the water from the tank rushes down into the bowl. This flushes the waste and dirty water down the drain and replaces it with fresh, clean water.

However, because flappers are made from rubber or flexible plastic, they corrode rather quickly and within a year or two could develop cracks or leaks which allow water to trickle through them. Before long, so much water has leaked through the flapper that the water level in the tank drops far enough to turn on your fill valve again. Thus, you get a toilet that runs without shutting off. Replacing your old flapper is a really simple service, and a common one at that—don’t be surprised if you have to do this every two to three years for each toilet in your home.

Do you need help solving a strange plumbing noise in your home? Call John Owens Services at to request an estimate today.


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