Nope, that’s not a Ghost — It’s just Pipes that Hum

Water Pipe Repair in North Salt LakeThe scenario: you’ve finally purchased the beautiful Victorian home of your dreams. A few weeks after moving in, though, a persistent hum coming from the center of your house rouses you in the middle of the night. Come morning, the sound is gone, but it comes back after a few days.

You’ve tried everything, from switching the circuits to soundproofing the walls, but nothing seems to get rid of the sound for good. Is it time to call a medium?

Just Your Pipes

Before you try to contact beings from another world, suggests you check your pipes first. Chances are the sounds you’re hearing are just plumbing hums, or water hammers.

A plumbing hum happens when you abruptly turn off the water supply and the fast-moving stream of water traveling down a narrow pipe suddenly comes to a stop. The water pressure creates the humming or shrieking noise as it slams against the closed valve. Loose mounting straps and faulty toilet valves can also be the culprit behind plumbing hums.

Just because a vengeful poltergeist wasn’t behind the sound, however, it doesn’t mean you can be complacent: the hammering motion can actually damage the connections and joints in your pipe.

Nip the Humming in the Bud

You may reduce instances of humming by finding a municipal supply valve and changing your plumbing system’s water pressure. Consider installing a regulator in the future as well. You may have to shell out several hundred dollars for it, but it can help preserve your pipes in the long run. Keep in mind, however, that it’s best to leave the installation and adjustment of a pressure regulator to a professional.

If the shrieking sounds persist after you have adjusted the water pressure, check the pipe-mounting strap. These straps are made of vinyl-coated hooks that attach the pipes to framing. If the strap is loose, the pipe vibrates more freely as you turn the water on and off. Making sure that the pipes are tightly connected can help solve the humming problem.