Gurgle, Gurgle, Glug: Why Is Your Sink So Noisy?

When you turn on your kitchen tap, you should hear nothing but the quiet whoosh of water flowing into the sink. And when you turn the tap off again, the water should drain away silently without so much as a splash or a drip.

So when your tap gurgles or your drain empties with a loud glug, you know something sounds wrong. To determine why your sink makes such a raucous, take a look at the guide below.

Your Tap Gurgles

When air becomes trapped in the tap, the water flowing through the pipes pushes the air out, making a gurgle as it goes. Most of the time, you won't have to worry about the sound, and the pipes will clear when you run the water for a few seconds longer.

However, the air could also mean a few other possibilities:

You Have a Low Well

If you see trace amounts of sediment in the water alongside the gurgling sound, your well supply may be low. As the water level drops, air mixes in with the water that flows through your home.

In drought season, you may have to temporarily reduce the water usage in your home. If the water drops for an extended time, you may wish to purchase a cut-off device that reduces over pumping.

You Set Your Water Heater Temperature Too High

Do you only notice the noise when you turn on the hot water? Air bubbles in hot water could mean that your water heater's thermostat is set too high. As a result, the water boils rapidly in the tank, creating the bubbles you see in your tap.

Adjust your water heater's thermostat to a safer temperature, about 60 degrees Celsius. Allow the water to cool before testing the tap again.

You Have Loose Fittings

Your plumbing involves a lot of connections throughout your house, and each of these connections needs to create a tight seal. If a fitting or valve comes loose, air can sneak into the system, creating pockets that place pressure on your pipes.

Your Drain Glugs

When you pour large amounts of water down your drain, you force air into the pipes. As the air and the water push against each other, they create suction, which produces a gurgling noise. As with your tap, a temporary gurgling noise doesn't always mean trouble.

But be aware that the sound could also indicate the following if you notice it consistently.

You Have a Food Clog

Large amounts of food, oil, grease, fat and debris need to go down your sink to completely clog your pipes. Oftentimes, the debris breaks up as it travels through your plumbing and out to the sewer system. But in some cases, the food latches onto other oils and fats that have already collected around the pipe's edges and curves.

This partial obstruction still allows some water to flow through your pipes. But the remaining water will slowly seep through the clog itself and soak into the debris. Any air stuck in the clog floats up to the top, creating a gurgling sound.

Your Vent Has an Obstruction

Your plumbing includes a vent that allows gases to release outdoors. Oftentimes, contractors place these vents on top of your roof so unusual odours stay far away from your nose. But this rooftop location also leaves your vents vulnerable to birds and debris build-up.

If a bird builds a nest near your venting system, or if your tree clogs the vents with fallen leaves and twigs, the air releases out of your sink rather than out of the vent.

Talk to a Plumber About the Noise

These are a few reasons that could contribute to a noisy kitchen tap or drain. If you hear unusual sounds coming from your plumbing, don't hesitate to talk to a professional about the problem. He or she can inspect your home for loose valves and replace corroded components so your sink runs quietly.  

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