What’s That Clanking? Common Plumbing Noises and How to Fix Them

What’s that sound?! No, it’s not a ghost clanking around inside your walls. Even if that seems like the most logical explanation when noises wake you up in the middle of the night, it’s actually your plumbing. There are a variety of things that could be causing those strange noises emerging from your walls and pipes, most of which are not serious (or paranormal). We’ll walk you through some of the most common culprits, and what you can do to fix them.

Thudding and Shuddering

What’s the problem? A thudding noise accompanied by shuddering when you turn off your tap is a condition known as a “water hammer.” A water hammer is caused by the abrupt shift in water pressure inside the piping system when you turn off the water. Putting a sudden stop to the flow of water creates a shock wave that reverberates back through the pipes, causing the loud thudding sound.

What’s the fix? Installing a device called a “water hammer arrestor” will help to absorb and dissipate the force from the shock wave, preventing it from making such a racket.


What’s the problem? If you hear a screeching sound when you turn your faucet on, especially one that disappears once the valve is completely open and water is flowing, there is most likely a loose or defective part somewhere inside the faucet.

What’s the fix? The only solution is to replace the broken piece or valve with a new one. A plumbing professional can help you locate the exact culprit if you’re unsure how to do so.


What’s the problem? Rattling sounds behind the wall can be disconcerting and may cause you to worry that your house is falling apart. That’s not the case! It’s just a sign that your pipes are not sufficiently secured. The rattling results from the sheer force of the water flow, causing the pipe to vibrate and bang against any nearby surfaces.

What’s the fix? This one’s easy – all you have to do is better secure the pipes to a solid surface or wrap the contact points in foam insulation so that they can’t be shaken by the water pressure.


What’s the problem? Nothing’s broken. Hissing sounds as you turn your faucet on just indicate that your water pressure is too strong.

What’s the fix? Start by calling your water supply company to find out whether your water pressure is indeed higher than it should be. You can purchase and install valves that will reduce the water pressure and eliminate the hissing noise.

Miscellaneous Noises

What’s the problem? Sometimes you’ll hear various sounds coming from your pipes, like scratching, squeaking, tapping, creaking, or snapping. These miscellaneous noises are caused by the expansion and contraction of the pipes used to supply your hot water. The noises occur when the movement inside the pipes causes them to strike loose fasteners or other surrounding material.

What’s the fix? These noises are generally harmless. However, excessive movement can, in some cases, cause larger problems like leaks or flooding, so keep an ear out for any change in the sounds that may be a sign of a worsening situation.

If you’re still unsure of the source of the sound or how to fix it, contact Bonfe to schedule an appointment with one of our plumbing experts.

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