Noisy plumbing can indicate issues that can lead to major damage or even be dangerous. There are four noises, in particular, that should put you on high alert and indicate that you should call an emergency plumber.
1. Dripping or Rushing Water
You should never hear the sound of water dripping in the walls, in the ceiling or floorboards, or beneath a cabinet. The sound of rushing water in these locations is also a bad sign if you don't have water actually running somewhere in the home, as this can be indicative of a burst water supply line or water main. Water damage can be occurring inside the walls of your home, which can end up being quite extensive if you don't act quickly.
2. Rumbling Sounds
The parts of your plumbing system that may rumble are typically the water heater or hot water pipes. The cause is overheating. The temperature in the water tank is too high, either due to a thermostat setting or a faulty thermostat. The rumbling you hear is the sound of the water boiling. This is a very dangerous sound, as the overheated water will lead to high-pressure conditions that can cause the tank to leak, or even burst with explosive force. Cut off power to the heater and call a plumber immediately.
3. High-Pitched Whines
Whines from the plumbing pipes are typically the result of constricted pipes, which is the result of mineral scale buildup inside the pipes. As the opening gets smaller due to the scale, the pressure of the water trying to travel the narrower pipes results in a whine. Eventually, water flow may stop completely or a pipe may burst, so you need to call a plumber in soon. Whines from the water heater, on the other hand, require an immediate call to the plumber. Although scale buildup may be the cause, there could also be pressure building in the tank that could lead to a leak or burst tank.
4. Banging Noises
Banging noises from the water heater indicate there is scale buildup. The tank needs to be flushed and cleaned, but the problem isn't usually severe enough to necessitate a call to an emergency plumber. Banging in the pipes is caused by valves closing quickly so that the flowing water bangs against the closure. This shakes the pipes violently, which can cause them to spring leaks. Although not an immediate danger, you want to have the problem addressed as soon as possible.
Contact a plumber immediately if you hear any of the above sounds. A dangerous, or at least damaging, situation could be developing.