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Question DetailsAsked on 2/26/2015

Why is there water noise through our walls when the toilet is flushed?

The water noise that comes from flushing the toilet upstairs is unbearable.
It comes through our walls in the living room, hallway and master bedroom.
When company is here it is embarrassing that we know they are using the toilet. The shower and sink when used do not present this problem. Anyway we can fix this terrible sound?

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1 Answer


Since you did not say that you have noticed any leakage, I infer this has been the case since you moved into the place. If this is a NEW noise, I would be getting a sewer and drain cleaner contractor in to run a camera through your pipes, because it may be you have a cracked pipe or a joint broken loose which is interfering with the flow and causing noise and may leak seriously in short order.

If you have heard this since you moved in, I would guess you have plastic (likely black ABS or maybe white or green PVC) drain pipes. They do not absorb noise like cast iron, so you can hear the water running down in them quite clearly in uninsulated (interior) walls. Only solution - having the walls sound insulated, which will reduce but commonly not eliminate the noise - or replace them with cast iron (which does not get any near as noisy) and insulate around them, or relocate the pipes away from the public rooms, which is a major thing to do.

Likely reason the toilet makes more noise that shower and sink is the greater volume, so you are splashing more water around in the pipes. If you listen near the walls you can probably still hear a trickle sound from at least the shower.

Do make sure the flushing is making the noise, not the water pipes - with someone listening in the downstairs, have someone take the top off the tank and hold the ball or cup/canister float (which would normally drop down and open the fill valve) up while flushing, so no water comes into the tank during the flush. If the sound still occurs, then is sewer pipe noise. If does not occur until the float is released and the tank starts refilling, then is water pipe noise. (I am assuming the toilet itself is not the source ofthe noise, like a humming or squeeling fill valve). Either way, typically means a lot of drywall tearout and replacement/repainting, bcause you cannot just use injected foam to insulated around the pipes and get a good result. For one thing that can cause condensation and corrosion on the water pipes, for another putting the insulation solidly in the wall without an air gap around the pipe transmits more noise - it is the air gaps in insulation, or air gaps in walls, that stops noise transmission, not the insulation itself.

Normally nothing is done about this because of the cost (probably in $500-1000 ballpark generally) to open up walls and maybe ceilings and insulate, then repair drywall and repaint - most people only do it (if at all) during a general remodel. If you do get it done, be sure to test it for some days BEFORE the drywall is put back up to be sure it is adequate for your needs.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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