Loud Pipes: Where is that Noise Coming From?

Refilling the air chambers in your pipes in one way to eliminate the hammering sound made from water pipes.

Creaky pipes. They make you check over your shoulder every time you’re home alone. It could be a drawn out whistling sound or a loud banging sound.  Either way, noisy water pipes are a nuisance.

There are many reasons why noisy pipes can occur and it can even be a combination of reasons. Loud pipes can be caused from high water pressure, loose mounting straps, or air chambers filled with water.  Here are 3 simple solutions to combat noisy water pipes:

Adjust Water Pressure

A quick fix is to adjust the water pressure. Most modern homes already have a regulator; they are located where the main water supply enters the home. Water pressure should range between 30 to 55 pounds per square inch. Use a wrench or screwdriver to adjust the pressure.

If you don’t have a water pressure regulator, consider having one installed. Not only is high water pressure wasteful and expensive, it can damage your water-supplied automatic appliances such as dishwashers, icemakers, and washing machines. Appliance warranties can even be voided when water pressure exceeds 100 pounds per square inch. A professionally installed pressure regulator is a great long term investment.

Tighten Loose Mounting Straps

Loose pipe-mounting straps can also cause water pressure. Pipe-mounting straps are vinyl-coated nail-in hooks and hangers or metal plumber’s tape that attach pipes to framing. With a loose pipe strap, pipes can freely vibrate against framing as water is turned on or off.

Check all exposed pipes are that accessible and not covered by a wall. Ensure that all pipes are properly and tightly connected. If not, it’s time to secure the pipes. A pipe banging against a masonry wall can be silenced by wedging a wood block behind it, fastening the block to the wall, and securing the pipe to the wood with a pipe strap. If the noise is coming from a pipe that is in the wall, avoid tearing through your drywall by placing padding or foam insulation at each end where the pipe emerges from behind the wall.

Refill Air Chambers

An easy DIY fix is to refill the air in your plumbing air chambers. An air chamber is a vertical pipe located in the wall cavity at the point near a faucet or valve where the water-supply pipe exits the wall. They act as cushions to prevent water from slamming against piping when a faucet is turned off. The air absorbs the shock of the fast-moving water before it has a chance to slam against the end of the pipe.

Overtime, air chambers gradually fill with water, causing a water hammer. The hammering action that creates the horrible sound is capable of actually damaging joints and connections in your plumbing. Here’s how to replenish air chambers and eliminate a water hammer:

  1. Shut off your home’s main water supply valve.
  2. Turn on the highest and lowest faucets inside your home.
  3. After the water has completely drained from all pipes, turn off the lowest faucet.
  4. Reopen the main water valve.
  5. Allow water to flow, then turn off the highest faucet.

At first, water may sputter out of faucets because of the air in the pipes, but that will stop after the plumbing has refilled with water. The air replenished in the air chambers will eliminate the water hammer.

These three fixes should eliminate the annoying noises from your plumbing and the headaches that come with it. If not, call the experts at Ben Franklin Plumbing. Our punctual plumbers are available to help with all of your plumbing repair needs. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a service.

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