How to Fix a Humming Noise in Your Pipes
LESLIE: Andrew in North Carolina is dealing with a plumbing issue. How can we help you today?
ANDREW: Bought a house about three years ago. It was built in the 1950s.
ANDREW: And two-and-a-half baths. We bought it – I had it replumbed with all modern PVCs, CPVCs, the whole bit. And after that, the one bathroom – whether you use the toilet, the sink or the shower – on occasion, it’ll have a hum in the pipes. Not consistent. No rhyme or rhythm. Then we had a new septic tank put in and I was thinking maybe if they redid that, it would – something would change and it did not change. And we still have this problem. I was wondering what can be done to stop that.
TOM: Well, the humming noise in the pipe is probably caused by a valve that’s not completely closing. So this could be the toilet fill valve, for example. As the toilet goes to refill, sometimes the valve doesn’t fully close. You get sort of vibration as the water continues to move over it and that can cause that sort of what you’re describing as a humming noise. It might just be a vibration or it could be something else somewhere down the line from that where you’re running a sink or a faucet or something else that’s just running water through the pipe. It has a bad valve associated with it and that’s causing that vibration, which is leading to the noise.
Does that make sense as a possibility?
ANDREW: I would understand that in the toilet but what about the sink? If you draw a cup of water, just that little bit it’ll cause it. That water …
TOM: Yeah, well, that makes perfect sense because there are valves inside the sink faucets that this happens to, as well. So, if it’s happening when you’re letting water out or when the toilet’s refilling, I would simple replace those valves. A toilet fill valve is very easy to replace, very inexpensive. Probably about $10. Easy do-it-yourself project. Sink faucet, a little bit more money and not quite as easy but it can be a do-it-yourself project if you can fit under the cabinet, you know, to get to all the fittings and the fixtures and the faucets and so on.
But generally, it’s a noise in the valve and it’s a simple fix. And the good news is that it will have no ill effects on the plumbing system whatsoever. So it’s just more of an annoyance that you can make go away, Andrew, if you replace those valves that are affected. OK?
ANDREW: OK, so we replace the toilet valve and the sink valve, that should stop it.
TOM: That should do it.
ANDREW: OK. Well, we’ll give that a try.
TOM: Alright, Andrew. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ve got to believe, buddy. You’ve got to believe.