A Popping Sound in a House Drain

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Water should drain quickly and freely through your drains, without backing up or bubbling.
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As a homeowner, there can be many unexpected costs and the need for frequent repairs. When there are issues with your plumbing, you may fear expensive and labor-intensive repair costs. In the case of a popping sound in your hose drain, you may find that repairs are fairly minimal, non-invasive, and reasonable inexpensive.

Popping Sound in Drain Pipes

If you hear a popping sound in your drain pipes, try not to panic. It is unlikely that your pops have cracked or are under such pressure that they are in danger of exploding. The first thing you should do is quietly walk to the source of the noise. Follow the noise until you identify where it is coming from. See if there is a pattern to when the noise occurs—for instance, are certain appliances being used when this happens?

Plumbing Drain Noises Diagnosis & Repair

A drain pipe noise problem can be the result of several issues. Drain pipes and hoses are used to remove water and waste from your plumbing system. Drain traps prevent overflow and sewer gas from getting back up into your pipes. There should be a free flow of water from your sinks, washers, and tubs to the trap and then into the pipes below, out to your sewer or septic system.

Issues with any of the above elements of the overall plumbing system in your home may cause a popping sound. When you identify where the noise is coming from, you can then take action.

Clean the Drain

Before trying drastic measures, attempt to clean the drain connected to the hose or pipe where you have been hearing the popping sound. This can be achieved with a plunger, pipe balloon, pipe cleaner, or plumber's snake. Run water through the drain once you've finished cleaning it to see the popping sound has stopped.

There are a number of commercially available drain cleaning products that reduce or eliminate clogs. Proceed with caution and consult your plumber before using these, as they contain caustic chemicals and may harm your pipes over time.

Remove the Drain Trap

If the popping sound continues after you have cleaned your drain, you might need to physically remove the drain trap in order to clean it manually. Food or other waste can become stuck in traps and cause clogs, noises, and other issues. Use a high-pressure hose or faucet to thoroughly clean the drain trap before reassembling it.

A popping noise may be caused by dangerous sewer gas emanating from a drain, particularly when a trap is not present or is not properly connected. Due to the nature of this type of repair, it is best to consult a plumber whenever possible.

Drain Vent Cleaning

The drain vent is a vertical piece in your plumbing system that permits air to be pulled in to the plumbing system and helps to avoid a vacuum. If cleaning the drain and trap did not work, you might need to clean your drain vent. This could resolve the popping issue.

Consider the Temperature

Particularly in older homes, the temperature, both in the house, outside, and immediately outside and inside your pipes, can play a role in odd plumbing noises. Are your pipes insulated? If cleaning the system hasn't worked, consider whether your plumbing is insulated against heat or cold.

Try turning on very cold water in a sink that is connected to the problem spot in your plumbing. As it drains, does the popping noise occur? If so, it's likely that the issue is related to temperature. In this case, though the popping noise might be disconcerting, there is actually nothing wrong with your pipes.

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Andrew Leahey

Andrew Leahey has been a writer since 1999, covering topics as varied as technology how-to guides and the politics of genetically modified organisms to African food supplies. He is pursuing his J.D. while renovating an 1887 farmhouse located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.