Why Do Pipes Groan and Vibrate?


Why Do Pipes Groan and Vibrate?

Posted on June 20, 2024 by Melbourne Plumber

plumbing sounds

We have all at some point in our life used a faucet and when turning it on or off heard the pipes groan or vibrate. It’s a bit unsettling and instantly makes you think that something is going to break. After a few times of it happening with no major consequences you tend to get used to it. Or at the very least, it no longer freaks you out. But, what causes the pipes to make those noises in the first place?

There are a multiple reasons pipes can make noises such as groaning or rattling. In this article we want to go over those causes. 

First, let’s describe what the groaning sound actually is. It’s called acoustic resonance. Essentially it is tiny vibrations which cause a small sound. But the width and length of the pipe act as sort of an amplifier. The sound becomes louder and deeper the longer and wider the section that is being vibrated. 

Pipe Narrowing

When water flows over or through an area of the pipe where there is a narrowing, it can cause noises to emanate from the pipe. The narrowing is usually in older pipes that have either built up sediment over time or have been narrowed by damage. 


Additionally, sounds can emit from a pipe when rushing water hits a closed valve. The valve can be partially or fully closed and the sound can still occur. 

Air Bubbles

Sometimes air bubbles being trapped inside your pipes can cause it to make strange noises. The noises can be anything from rattling or vibrating to a swishing sound. In cases like these you can try to let the air vent yourself or hire a professional plumber in your area to resolve the issue. 

Loose Pipes

Loose pipes can also be a cause of groaning or moaning sounds in your plumbing pipes. If you are handy with a wrench, you can tighten them yourself. Or you can hire a plumber to professionally tighten your pipes and make sure they don’t come loose again.

Simple Expansion and Contraction

When something is heated and then cooled at a rapid pace it will sometimes make noises. Pipes are no different. This is especially common if the pipes are older and have spent many years getting heated and then cooling off again.


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