Water Pipes Making Humming Noise? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

If your water pipes are making a humming noise, this could be due to several reasons. In some cases, homeowners describe this strange humming noise sounding like a foghorn, as it usually reverberates.

Water pipes can make a humming noise due to high water pressure. It could also be a faulty ballcock valve in the toilet tank or a loose faucet washer. Other causes are a worn-out solenoid fill valve in an appliance or a faulty gate valve. Turn off the valves one by one until the humming stops to help find the source.

Regardless of why your water pipes are humming, we’ll walk you through all possible causes. With a little troubleshooting, you can stop that annoying humming noise coming from your water pipes and fix the underlying problem.

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Why Are My Water Pipes Humming?

There could be several reasons why your water pipes are humming. Let’s explore each of these in detail, along with their possible solutions.

1. High Water Pressure Causes Pipes To Make A Humming Noise

If water is running somewhere in your house and the pipes are making a humming noise, it could be the water pressure. Even if it just lasts for a few seconds, the problem might be that your water pressure is too high. It’s also widespread for increased water pressure to emit a loud high pitch sound as well.

The cause of water pressure being too high could be an issue with your water pressure regulator or your thermal expansion relief device. Your water pressure in your home should be between 40 and 50 psi. Typically, the highest is 60p psi, and it shouldn’t be more than 75 psi.

It may also be directly related to the physical location of your home, especially if it’s at the bottom of a hill. We’ll take a closer look at what you can do about high water pressure in a moment. First, check out the other possible reasons your water pipes are making a humming noise.

2. Problem With Ballcock Valve In Toilet

One of the most common causes of that humming, foghorn noise in your plumbing could have to do with your toilet tanks. If you hear the noise every time someone flushes a toilet, the problem could be inside the tank.

More specifically, the humming noise is most likely caused by a problem with the ballcock valve. (Also known as the fill or flapper valve in the toilet.) Many older toilets are fitted with these types of valves.

When these valves get offset or old, they will no longer close properly. When the ballcock cannot close correctly, it starts to shudder, leading to an incredibly loud echo in some cases.

The easiest solution for this is to replace the “ball” piece of the valve so that it can close completely. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to replace the whole valve. For best results, we recommend contacting a certified professional to troubleshoot the issue. Then, if necessary, they can replace the ballcock valve to eradicate the humming noise.

Video: How To Replace A Ballcock Fill Valve

3. Loose Faucet Washer

Another possible cause for your water pipes making a humming noise has to do with your faucets. Are you hearing this sound when you turn a faucet on? If so, then it’s most likely an issue with a faucet washer.

When exposed to water, a loose faucet washer can create quite a bit of noise and may start to sound like “humming.” To correct this problem, tighten all of the screws throughout your faucet system. If the humming in your faucet continues, contact a local plumber to take a look.

3. Issue With Washing Machine Or Dishwasher

Do you hear a very strange sound from your dishwasher or washing machine as it fills up with water? One of the most common noises these appliances make is a sharp, “machine-gun-like” noise that signifies a valve issue. If the rattle grows in intensity, it may result in reverberating, humming sounds.

When you have these noises coming from your dishwasher or washing machine, it is most often a worn-out solenoid fill valve. This valve is very similar to the one in your toilet but is much stronger, smaller, and more challenging to reach. In this case, it is probably time to replace your solenoid fill valve before it fails.

4. Problem With A Gate Valve

A gate valve is what controls the flow of water through a pipe. They are generally the valves with a twist-type handle on top, similar to an outdoor spigot.

If you have an issue with this valve, you may hear a humming noise anywhere along your water pipeline. The humming noise will be most apparent when you turn your water on and off. With an issue like this, it is best to consult the expertise of a certified professional.

How To Fix High Water Pressure Problems

If you have humming noises in your water pipes caused by high water pressure, you need to get to the root of the problem.

For most cases of high water pressure, you can correct the issue by implementing a water pressure regulator or water pressure reducing valve. This device can be installed yourself, or you can opt to have a plumber install it for you. It installs on the main water line coming into your home.

If the cause of high water pressure has to do with the location of your home, it becomes a bit more challenging.

Homes near fire hydrants or tall buildings can be especially prone to experiencing water pressure issues. The reason is that towns and cities tend to keep pressure higher in these areas. Or, if you live at the base of a hill, gravity could contribute to your high water pressure problems.

How Do You Determine If You Have High Water Pressure?

Regular household water pressure should be between 40 and 50 psi. You need to get a pressure gauge to determine your home’s water pressure.

Hook it up to a hose faucet and make sure all other water sources (including water-using appliances) are turned off to get a baseline reading. If there is any water running in the home, you won’t get an accurate reading.

Make sure to screw the gauge onto the hose faucet, don’t use the hose. You should be able to do this by hand easily. However, if it is leaking a bit, tighten it carefully with a pair of tongue-and-groove pliers or an adjustable wrench.

If you don’t have a hose bib you can use, you can attach the pressure gauge to the cold water supply line of the washing machine. Shit off the water behind the machine and disconnect the hose from the faucet.

Have a bucket handy to catch water from inside so you don’t make a mess. Screw the pressure gauge onto the faucet, then open the faucet completely to test the water pressure. If you get a pressure reading greater than 75, you should consider taking steps to lower our water pressure.

Is High Water Pressure Bad?

High water pressure is much better than low water pressure when it comes to showering, washing dishes, or even washing your car. However, it does come at a cost.

Water pressure that is too high means that twice the amount of water is flowing through your pipes, much of which is wasted. More water means a higher water bill.

High water pressure also puts an excessive amount of strain on your plumbing system as a whole. It can even decrease the life span of your appliances that need water to function, such as your water heater, washing machine, and dishwasher.

Is It Dangerous When Water Pipes Make A Humming Noise?

If your water pipes are giving off a humming sound, this indicates that something is wrong or broken somewhere. This problem, no matter the cause, will not go away until it is fixed.

As with most plumbing concerns, it’s recommended to have it corrected as soon as possible to prevent it from getting any worse. By ignoring the problem or putting it off for later, it will cost you much more money to fix if more damage occurs over time.

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When To Call A Professional About Water Pipes Making A Humming Noise

If this is a venture you are not comfortable taking on your own, then perhaps it’s best to call a professional. Calling a pro is especially helpful if you’re not sure what the issue is.

A contractor will come out and inspect your pipes, valves, and the works to find out what’s going on. They will also fix any issues as they find them.

When looking for a contractor, it’s best to get at least three quotes to compare the price. Also, be sure to ask them what’s included in the quote so you know whether or not you’ll have to come out of pocket for anything.

Are Your Water Pipes Making A Different Sound?

Water pipes making a humming noise isn’t the only indicator of a problem. Pipes make all sorts of sounds for different reasons. Other common sounds you might hear are gurgling, banging, or whistling.

Pipes Making A Gurgling Sound

When pipes are having a hard time draining, they may emit a very distinctive gurgling or glugging noise. This noise most often signifies the existence of an obstruction or clogging in the pipes.

This blockage could be the result of an item that was accidentally put down the drain. It could also be mineral or hard water deposits on the sides of the pipes, soap scum, or other debris buildups. To correct these gurgling noises, you need a professional drain cleaning to eradicate pipe obstructions.

Pipes Making A Banging Sound

Banging noises in your water pipes is another indication of water pressure issues. It may also have something to do with the water flow.

The most common causes of this are trapped air bubbles or water hammers. Water hammers occur when a valve or faucet is suddenly turned off. The water that was rushing to exit has high momentum, and when it meets a closed valve, it results in a loud bang.

Issues in your water line may result in the air becoming trapped in your pipes. If the banging noises are a result of air in the pipes, the noise will generally happen right when you first turn on a faucet. Both of these issues can happen for various reasons, so it is best to have a professional evaluate and fix the problem.

Pipes Making A Whistling Sound

Your plumbing system relies on several small pieces to make faucets and valves function correctly. If one of these components wears out, you may hear a whistling or squealing noise when that area of plumbing is in use.

Most often, broken or worn washers will occur near your washing machine or dishwasher. If you notice these noises coming from those appliances, have a certified plumber come out to verify that all the valves and components are operating correctly.

Wrapping Up Why Water Pipes Make A Humming Noise

Water ipes can make all sorts of noises, and most of them signal some sort of issue. If your water pipes make a whistling sound, it’s likely due to high water pressure or a faulty ballcock valve in the toilet. Other potential causes are a loose faucet washer, a worn-out solenoid fill valve in an appliance, or a broken gate valve.

If the high water pressure is to blame, you can try using a water pressure reducer or regulator valve. Replace a faulty flapper valve in the toilet tank or a loose faucet washer.

If it’s the solenoid fill valve in your dishwasher or washing machine, you should replace it before it fails completely. A broken or faulty gate valve is best handled by a licensed plumber.

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Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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