Four Spooky Plumbing Problems with Easy Explanations

the top of a pumpkin

Halloween is fast approaching, and it seems like the spirit of the holiday is in the air everywhere. From a chill setting in with the changing season to kids getting their costume ready, traditions are starting up again quickly. Heck, it may even seem like your house is getting into the spirit, with creaking walls, tapping noises, and unexplained flushing which makes it seem as though your home has picked up a few seasonal haunts.

However, these issues aren’t a sign that you have a poltergeist. In fact, the majority of the time they have a simple explanation and a fairly routine repair procedure. On this blog, we’ll discuss a few of these spooky sounds or behaviors which you may encounter during this season and discuss what causes it and how to get it resolved.

Banging Noise in the Wall

Have you ever heard an unmistakable tapping or banging noise coming from inside your walls? No, a ghost isn’t trying to push its way out, but your plumbing might be. This is a common condition known as “water hammer” and is caused by an excess of water pressure in the lines in your walls. When you run your faucet, everything may seem fine and normal, but shutting off your faucet quickly stops the momentum of the water flowing through your lines. This energy combined with the weight of the water and the added momentum of even more water behind it means a lot of pressure on your plumbing line which now suddenly has to contain the water flow. As a result, it vibrates or shakes, and runs into the studs in your wall, the drywall cover it, and other things located within. This is the tapping or banging noise you hear.

The thing that throws many people for a loop is the fact that your water hammer may be nowhere near the faucet that you’re turning on and off. It could be clear on the other side of the house, and you may never actually put together the connection between your faucet or fixture and the strange sound. However, getting rid of the issue is generally simple: have a plumber inspect your water pressure and have a new water pressure regulator installed if your current one has worn out.

Foul Smells from Your Toilet

Does one of your sinks suddenly smell like something died many years ago and its spirit has now come to haunt your nostrils? There’s a pretty simple explanation for this as well, and it has to do with your plumbing trap. The trap is a small bend in your drain line that’s designed to catch and contain water naturally. This water functions as a sort of vapor barrier, preventing the foul odors and smells from your drain line from traveling back up and coming back out the drain.

However, because this barrier is just water, it evaporates over time. If you haven’t used a sink for several hours or a few days at a time, the liquid in the trap may have evaporated, which creates a gap in the barrier that vapors use to get back up. The solution to the problem is about as simple as you could get: run your faucet for a couple of minutes and the smell should dissipate. If the drain in question is in your kitchen sink, also consider tossing frozen chunks of lemon down the drain and grinding them up in your garbage disposal, which will replace the foul odor with one of citrus freshness.

Mysterious Flushing Toilet

Nobody in your home has used a restroom for quite some time, and yet out of nowhere a toilet turns on and starts running. This spooky problem also has a simple explanation: your toilet flapper is leaking. A leaking flapper allows water to slowly drip or trickle out of the tank down into the bowl below. As the water drips out, the level in your tank recedes. When the level recedes, your float drops until it reaches a critical point where it opens your fill valve and allows the tank to refill. Until you fix your leaky flapper, this process will only repeat and become more and more frequent.

Changing out a defective flapper is extremely simple, requiring only a replacement part from your local home improvement warehouse and a few minutes of your time. However, the service will not only get rid of the problem, but also help you save money by preventing unnecessary water waste.

Got a plumbing problem you need fixed this Halloween season? Leave it in the hands of the experts at Carter Quality Plumbing! Give us a call at (803) 998-2270 today to request a quote.