Most people do not think much of their water pipes until they hear a strange noise come from it. That is because pipes that are working well are virtually silent. There can be many issues that can cause water pipes to start making noise. Some of these issues require a simple DIY fix while others need a professional. Here are the different noises you might be hearing and what it means:
Hammering or Banging
These sounds are some of the most common heard by people. When water is turned off, and high pressure builds in the pipes, the water tries to escape and ends up banging against the pipe walls or shut-off valve. This noise usually occurs after a faucet is shut off.
You can fix it yourself by resetting your home water system air chambers. To do this, turn off the main shut-off valve and open all your faucets to completely drain the pipes, remembering taps on lower floors like the basement sink or outdoor hose. Then, turn the water back on, and the hammering noise should be gone.
If it does not go away, check the supply pipes. Older homes have pipes that are not secured well, making it move and create waves that can lead to water hammers. Try attaching clips and plumber tape wherever necessary.
You might hear this noise in either the pipe system or through certain faucets or valves. If whistling is coming from a faucet or two as it runs, the issue is probably a worn washer that needs replacing. To fix, turn off the water supply and replace the part. A toilet that stops
whistling after the tank fills usually needs the ballcock valve replaced. If a toilet whistles all the time, it likely requires the vertical overflow tube to be bent down a bit so that the ballcock turns off quicker.
If you hear this noise all over your home, you may have too much buildup of minerals in your pipes, a worn main supply valve, or an inefficient pressure regulator. The fix to these will depend on the age of the pipes and how your supply system is designed.
Thrumming and Vibrating
These noises are indicative of excessive water pressure. To test the pressure in your home, purchase a threaded pressure gauge that can screw directly on a faucet or valve and make sure it does not exceed 80 psi. If your water pressure is higher than that, you will need a pressure regulator installed as soon as possible as high water pressure can damage a house.
Some other common sounds people hear in their pipes are a faint squeak or rubbing, which is caused by improperly insulated copper pipes. As metal pipes are heated, it expands causing the pipe to rub against the structure of the house. Supply pipes are drywalled in, which means walls will have to be torn down to pad those pipes. If you think this might be your issue, try turning the temperature of the water heater down slightly.
A dripping or ticking noise could be a sign of a drain or leak issue. Try resetting your air chambers, if that does not work, fill your bathroom sink with hot water then flush the toilet, which pushes cold water into your pipes. Drain the hot water from your sink, if you hear the noise, the problem is likely thermal expansion.
If these simple fixes do not resolve your noise issue, call us at Total Plumbing to examine your pipes further. There could be a more significant problem that needs to be addressed for the noise to stop.