Ever have a water leak and hear shaking, rattling or roaring? Your house can sound like a plane on a tarmac or one of those AAMCO commercials with the car shaking and all that noise coming from the engine!

In actuality, if you turn on the faucet and there’s a leak, it can cause your pipes to make noise – and the roaring noise can get loud enough to make vibrations, so you may hear whining, squeaking, hissing, banging or rapid machine gun fire sounds. But here’s the thing: each noise is specific to a problem within your pipes. Let’s explore the sounds to help you diagnose the problem.

Trapped Air

Vibrations in your pipes aren’t good for your pipes or your fittings. Air that gets trapped in pipes can be common. This is usually found in older homes and it can be noisy. To treat it, a plumber would need to drain your system and then reconnect the water supply.

​Sounds: vibrating and jack hammer sounds.

Water Hammer

This is when you turn the faucet off and hear a loud bang or a series of smaller bangs. This is due to the water pressure. If you turn the faucet off, the momentum of water can cause a small vacuum to occur and the stream of water will literally crash against the valve. If you close the faucet valve slowly it can minimize it. If it doesn’t alleviate it, a plumber can check for water hammer.

Sounds: a loud bang and then smaller bangs.

Air Hammer

If you turn the faucet on and hear a bang, this is an air hammer, meaning there was air trapped in the pipes. This can occur if you’ve worked on the pipes and turned the water off and now there’s air escaping. Try opening the faucet a bit more slowly. If it continues to occur, let your plumber know as there may be more trapped air.

Sounds: an air gun, machine gun or bang.

Rattling Pipes

No, a boy band didn’t move in downstairs. In older homes, air hammers and water hammers can occur. Pipes can also make noise if they aren’t securely fixed on a wall or the ceiling. To avoid further damage, let your plumber know you may have a loose pipe that needs to be tethered.

Sounds: vibrations, scraping, rubbing and rattling noise.


Diagnose the noise and try turning the faucets on/off a bit more slowly. If you still hear the noise or find water spots under the sink or in the basement, it could be a sign that there’s a leak letting air in. Let your plumber know so they can assess the situation further. No one wants their pipes going bump in the night!

​For all of your plumbing needs, contact the experts at Smoak’s Comfort Control today!