Why Does My Plumbing Sound like a Foghorn?


If your plumbing sounds like a foghorn, something is likely amiss. It could be something major or minor depending on where the sound is coming from. You need to get it checked to get rid of the humming loud sound and avoid any damage to your plumbing.

Here are some reasons that explain why your plumbing sounds like a foghorn.

Why Does My Plumbing Sound like a Foghorn?


Sound like a foghorn coming from the toilet is one of the most common sound problems that you may encounter. If you hear the foghorn sound every time you use the toilet, chances are all is not well with the ballcock valve inside the toilet.

This is because as the ballcock ages and grows old, it isn’t able to close the valve properly. This creates friction and a shudder that is, in most cases, the reason for the loud sound. Another reason may be that the washer inside the assembly is loose or broken.

How to Solve This Issue?

Here are a few steps that you can follow to analyze the situation:

  • Open the toilet tank and flush the toilet.
  • If you hear the noise, lift the float to the top. This may sometimes fix the issue. If that happens, you are good to go. Sometimes, you may have to replace the entire ballcock valve in its entirety. Alternately, if the problem is not that grave, you may do well by merely replacing a part of the valve.

In any case, this should not set you back by a lot since these components are easily available online and in hardware stores and they come in a wide price range that makes them affordable and easy to replace.


The faucet washer may be at fault if you hear this persistent sound once you open the faucet. Sometimes, a loose faucet washer also creates a loud sound when it is subjected to water. The first point of intervention should be to tighten all the faucet screws and see if the sounds stop. If nothing happens, you would need to call in a plumber as it could be a bigger problem.


Sometimes strange sounds emanate from the dishwasher or the washer. This is because water fills in them, indicating a valve issue. This sound keeps growing, leading to a foghorn-like sound that can get very annoying if left unattended.

A worn-out and outdated solenoid fill valve may be the problem most likely. The problem is that, unlike the toilet, this valve is hard to reach and you may not be able to pick it up with your hands alone. You may need to call an expert to help you with this and therefore, with the sound.

Another thing that you can do is to not let the valve reach a point of no return. If you face even minor issues, fix it right then and there without letting the issue get aggravated.

Water Heater

A water heater is one of the most important machines in your home. If you hear foghorn-esque sounds coming from it, chances are not all is fine with it and it needs attention.

To begin with, any type of sound, mild or loud, may be a cause of concern and must be treated as such. The most likely problem here would be mineral buildup on the burners. The foghorn sound that you are hearing is the sound of water trapped in these sediment layers. In fact, this is a common problem with hard water.

To avoid this situation, you need to flush your heater annually. Additionally, people also install a water softener to protect their plumbing.

Water Supply Lines

Check your water supply lines thoroughly if you hear any sound like a foghorn. If you live in an old home, you may experience issues with the supply lines as they aren’t secured very well.

This leads to water hammers in them. You need to secure these pipes with a plumber’s tape and this should take care of the issue in most cases. If the problem still persists, you may have to call a plumber to fix the pipes.


If you have checked all the above and still struggling to figure the source of the sound, you may be better off calling a professional. You may feel confused and think that the sound is coming from all quarters and you would still not be able to find the source. In such a scenario, a plumber would be of great help.

There are a number of checks that a plumber will usually do in such a situation. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Pipes: Are they old and worn out?
  • Brackets: Are any brackets holding the pipes loose? Loose pipes are usually a cause of concern.
  • Pressure Regulator: A plumber will also check the pressure regulator for the sound. If it is the source of the problem, you need to be prepared to get it replaced.

Other Causes

Sometimes, sound like a foghorn may indicate other problems. These include excessive water pressure in the pipes or faulty insulation.

It is for this reason that it is recommended that one always keep the water pressure in their house to manageable levels and not let it go very high. Water pressure below 80 psi is considered ideal for homes. You should also check all copper pipes are properly insulated at all times.

Turning the water pressure down also makes a sea of difference if you have figured the problem is with the copper pipes.

The Final Word

Plumbing sound like a foghorn may indicate a host of problems. It could be the toilet, the faucet or water heater, or any other appliance in your home. In most cases, a basic check may do the job while in some cases, you may have to call a plumber to identify the cause of concern. But don’t worry, it is something that can be fixed and you don’t have to live with that annoying sound always.

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