Please help! Loud, worrisome, persistent sound (like washing machine in last cycle but louder) - don't know source!


My wife was taking a shower when her water pressure starting becoming persistently weaker, as if on a repeating pattern of shorter bursts of water. I had heard a loud sound in our basement that was occurring at the same time but had thought it was the washer on the last cycle (when it's spinning loudly/drying the clothes and causing the machine to move a bit,etc.)...However, when she told me the washing machine wasn't on I went down and heard the sound extremely loudly, but have NO IDEA what the source was (it stopped after a couple of minutes further after being on for several minutes in a row). Our radiator is off, as is our central A/C, and it appeared to be coming from the general vicinity of the washer/dryer/electric box (though again the washer/dryer was completely off). We will also call the water company but wanted to ask if anyone else has ever experienced this/has any thoughts on what it could have been? (it felt like something was going to "blow" or something so it was definitely troubling)...

Thanks for any thoughts -

- Alex


Sounds like a water heater issue; call these guys and they'll be able to help you out: 

Tim Daniel plumbing and heating (973) 927-5742


GoToGuy said:
Sounds like a water heater issue; call these guys and they'll be able to help you out:  Tim Daniel plumbing and heating (973) 927-5742

It was just such a "violently" loud, recurring sound (similar to when my washing machine violently spins during its last cycle, but much louder) so it was quite perplexing. I also DID check out the water heater and didn't notice anything strange coming directly from it as far as noises; only further away towards where the washer/dryer is in our basement. I'm curious how the water heater could cause such as sound? (though I thank you for the suggestion).

- Alex


banging water pipes? I hear some really funky sounds in my apartment when the downstairs guy turns on the water, sometimes. It doesn't sound dissimilar to a washing machine, but it usually doesn't last very long. Less than a minute.


I guess I'm just wondering the extent to which should worry that something in my basement (piping or otherwise) will fall apart or something - it was that "violent" sounding when it happened...I DID call the water company and they basically said that if the water pressure in the shower now seemed back to normal that there was not much they specifically could do unless the problem recurred. They're probably right, but I have to admit that it also felt like a sort of "wait until AFTER the bridge collapses before investigating the cause" sort of vibe (not to be overly paranoid grin)...

- Alex


is the sound recurring, or was it only that one time?

My guess is it's the pipes, though I don't actually know what it is that makes pipes bang. I think sometimes air gets in them, which causes a problem, but the air eventually comes out of the faucet and clears up the problem. Maybe a pipe got loose from a wall mount somewhere.


If the problem persists, it sounds like a plumber would be the person to call. (I know there's something called "water hammer," which might be what you're experiencing.)


yes, water hammer is what I was referring to.  Though I wonder if a plumber can figure out what the problem is without being there while it's happening. Maybe they can run tests on the water system to find problems? I dunno.

What happened to all of the MOL plumbers? They don't post anymore.


It thus far was a one-time occurrence, which was why it was so surprising and unexpected, and it happened while my wife was running hot water in the shower. It went away shortly after she shut off the shower. In what research I've done it sounds like perhaps flushing out our water heater might be beneficial (?) (though I suppose calling an actual plumber is the safest bet). We may also wait and see if it recurs...

- Alex


yes sounds a lot like water hammer.  It’s probably due to a unique combination of water flowing in different directions governed by the specific use at the time.  A plumber can install an arrestor, but I wouldn’t do anything unless it starts happening frequently.  You may even figure out the specific combination of use that sets it off.  I see no benefit in flushing out the water heater unless you belelieve there is scale buildup.  


What kind of heat system do you have?

If you have radiators, is there a small valve on the upper end of the radiators? Would a "key" fit into that valve?


If it happens again, maybe make a video with sound on your phone? Possibly a skilled plumber could watch/listen and use the video as an aid in beginning to diagnose the issue. Things that happen within walls (plumbing, electric) always scare me. Too many variables!


I just had this issue with my washer.  Whenever the tub started filling, it was in these weird water bursts, it was loud, and the pipes were moving a lot.  Disconcerting indeed.  After reading this thread I looked up info on water hammer HERE, turned off the water valves on the pipes that lead to the washer, ran the washer for a little bit until no water came out and that fixed the problem.  Definitely worth a try before calling a plumber. 


We used to hear loud noises in the walls whenever someone flushed the toilet in the basement.  The whole house shook. I don't recall the exact name of this part except to say that our plumber replaced the flapper (?) that led to our toilet.  An inexpensive fix and we've never heard that horrible noise again.  


I had this issue with my hot water in the shower. Turned out the rubber washer and screw in the stem had worked itself loose. So if you just barely opened the hot water it would hammer very loud in the walls. 

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