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Question DetailsAsked on 4/20/2018

it is a rushing sound in the ceiling and goes away when you shut off the main water to house

a whooshing sound you can hear in the air channels downstairs.

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2 Answers


Hello Stonefinger9,

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Iann M

Answered 2 years ago by Member Services


Assuming by air channels you mean you are hearing it through the heating/ventilating ducts (which can carry sound a long ways), since this is a new sound sounds like a water pipe break - possibly from frozen pipe if you have had unusually cold weather recently.

I am assuming this sound is continuous until you turn the main shutoff valve off. If only occurring when you are using water at some discharge point track down the source by finding out which use causes it - can be a partial blockage in a pipe causing cavitation, or a fill valve (most commonly toilet) chattering or partly constricted so it makes a lot of noise when operating. Obviously, if occurring continuously likely a leak so needs immediate tracking down. If only heard when certain fixtures or appliances are in use, would normally not be leaking - or maybe only in the appliance or fixture itself when in use, because the household pipes are almost always pressurized so would leak continuously if there was a leak in one of them.

Assuming continuous sound when main shutoff valve is turned on:

First things I would check if weather has been cold, and especially since you evidently have not had flooding visible in the house (at least yet) - look around outside (including any pool or outdoor hot tub/sauna or irrigation system you may have) for flooding from a frost-cracked outdoor faucet (or burst hose if left connected to faucet), or for a poorly heated/insulated pipe in an unheated crawlspace or basement.

If you have outdoor well, check also for leakage from any piping between well and house.

If you have attic water heater, air-to-water heat exchanger or solar hot water system, check they are not leaking. Check water heater and any boiler to see if it is leaking or its overtemp / overpressure valve is maybe discharging water - possibly directly into a sewer pipe connection so it is not causing flooding.

If you have hot water baseboard heating system, listen (beware of hot metal) at pipes to see if it is a leak in the huydronic heating system. If unable to tell there, try turning the water supply to just that system off (should be a shutoff valve within a couple of feet on the iunlet pipe to that appliance) and see if the sound stops.

If you have a water purification system or water softener, check that - could be you are hearing the recharge cycle or flush cycle - either normally occurring (tyhpically daily or every few days), or the flush valve or recharge cycle could have gotten stuck in the on position and be continuously flushing the system.

If you happen to have a continuous hot water circulating pump, a pressure booster pump, or a humidifier check those for any leak or possible cavitation (bubbles forming in the pump) noise as the possible source.

Also check water connections to each fixture and appliance for any leak - each sink, toilet, shower/tub, sauna, hot tub, etc - and all water using appliances like dishwasher, clothes washer, reefer with water/ice maker, etc.

If no luck there, then start using ear to pipes and walls or a stethoscope to start tracking down the source of the sound. Obviously, if you are not seeing water inside then the leak is likely in crawlspace or unfinished basement or outdoors. Definitely track this down ASAP - or have a Plumber do so - before you get possible major water damage.

And of course, if you do get significant flooding may be worth an insurance claim, depending on your deductible.

If unable to track it down yourself, Plumbing would be the normal Search the List category to get a plumber in to track it down and fix it.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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