Noisy Toilet Water Pipes

Updated February 21, 2017

Although most of us see only the interface, toilets are, in fact, complex networks of plumbing pipes, sewage pumps and water level meters. All of this complication means when a loud noise comes from the toilet or the pipes it is connected to, the problem may be more than a simple clog.

Water Hammer

The water hammer sound refers to a sound pipes make after the toilet stops filling the bowl after a flush. This sound is created by fast running water that is stopped by the immediate closure of a valve. Although the sound itself is disturbing, the circumstances that cause the water hammer sound can also lead to loosened pipes and even joint stress. While the water hammer noise cannot be completely eliminated, you can minimise it by installing a permanent chamber, a copper pipe that is installed near the shutoff valve of the toilet.


While the water hammer noise happens most often just after someone uses the toilet, groaning sounds from the pipes can happen at any time of day. This type of problem occurs most often in apartment complexes, large homes and establishments that have several toilets. The groaning is commonly misapprehended as air in the pipes; however, the actual cause is a broken fill-valve in the toilet tank.

In a house with multiple toilets, find the toilet with a broken fill-valve by switching off all toilets save one and flushing repeatedly at hour intervals. Change the active toilet every three hours until you have located the source of the groaning. Fill-valves cannot be cleaned or repaired and must be completely replaced to effectively eliminate the groaning.


Toilet pipes that rattle may suffer from one of two causes. Rattling may simply be a side effect of the water hammer valve closure, which can be solved by a permanent air chamber. If the pipes are unshielded or not insulated, the problem may be partially frozen pipes. Frozen pipes struggle against the water pressure both to flush the sewer water out and to replenish the bowl with fresh water, which can cause rattling in minor cases. Shield pipes from cold wherever they are exposed to freezing temperatures.


Shuddering pipes after flushing can also mean a backup or blockage in the sewage drainpipe. A sewage block can eventually result in overflowing toilets and sinks. Call a plumber to relieve a problem with the sewage drainpipe.

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About the Author

Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.