Pipes Making Noise? Here’s What The Different Sounds Mean!

Are your pipes making a noise that’s both perplexing and nerve-racking? Here’s what the different sounds mean and how you can fix each of them.

Let’s face it, pressure can get to any of us from time to time, and believe it or not, the same thing is true of your plumbing. Under the considerable load of 60 pounds of pressure per square inch, your home’s plumbing can make a nerve-racking array of noises.

But don’t assume that you can’t do anything to silence them. You certainly can. Here are the most common sounds and how to quiet your noisy plumbing.

The 4 Sounds of Pipes Making Noise

That racket you hear coming out of your pipes can take on many different sounds, from banging to whistling to thudding. Here are four common sounds emitted by noisy plumbing and what each of them might mean.

Diagnosing and handling these types of pipes making noise doesn’t require much: perhaps one or two hours if you have convenient access to your problem pipes. In the way of tools, all you should need are a hammer, a pair of pliers, and a pipe wrench.

1. Loud Banging

Water hammer is the loud banging or “pipe-rattling” sound you hear when you open a faucet, run the water, and quickly close the faucet. It can appear suddenly and slowly fade out. This sound can from a faucet anywhere in your house, kitchen, bathroom, utility room, and even outdoor.

This sound is called hammering, and it is so common you’d think it was built into the plumbing system of every home.

Many home fixtures have an air chamber — a length of pipe above the supply line, usually located near a faucet or fixture’s shutoff valve — which sometimes fills with water and causes the hammering. Here’s a more thorough description of water hammering and how to fix it. That article will discuss a permanent solution.

Here’s how to install a water hammer arrestor to prevent hammering or banging on a fixture like your toilet.

For a shorter-term solution (maybe 1-3 years), you’ll want to drain and then refill the system. The air chambers will fill with air again and shouldn’t act up for a while. This is important because water hammer can cause serious damage to your pipes, especially in older homes, leading to thousands of dollars in water damage.

If your plumbing system isn’t outfitted with air chambers, install one at the faucet fixture that’s causing the problem. The air chamber provides a cushion of air on which the bang can bounce. This cushion of air absorbs the vibrations which protects the pipes and removes the noise.

Some air chambers are designed to be added to your washer hookups and are available at any hardware store or plumbing supply house. To install them, unscrew the water supply hose connected to the fixture and insert the chamber between the valve and the hose.

2. Whistling

A whistle indicates that a water valve somewhere in the plumbing is partially closed. The water, under pressure, narrows at the valve and causes the whistle.

Open the valve as far as you can. If a toilet whistles, adjust the inlet valve.

If you hear water running through the plumbing system, check for leaks at toilets, sill cocks, the furnace humidifier, and your water softener.

3. Ticking or Cracking

This annoying pipe noise is the easiest to figure out and handle.

Soft ticking or cracking can be traced to a hot water pipe that was cool, then suddenly reheated with water. The change in temperature causes the ticking or cracking sound.

To solve this problem, simply insulate the pipe to muffle the noise. You can find pipe insulation at any hardware store or supply house.

4. Thuds & Bangs

In general, thuds and bangs (versus the loud banging described above) often result from water pressure in the pipes. In this case, the pressure causes the pipes to literally bang against its metal hangers or perhaps some nearby wall studs.

To determine if this is the kind of bang you’re experiencing, have someone quickly open and close a faucet to reproduce the bang. While they’re doing this, you should watch to see if the pipes move. Of course, you can only do this with exposed pipes.

If you determine this is the kind of problem you’re having, you’ll want to try this remedy:

  • Fasten pipe hangers onto your pipes to keep them from moving. Just don’t use galvanized hangers on copper pipes.
  • You can soundproof the pipes that rattle against the hangers by wrapping a small amount of rubber hose, split lengthwise, around the pipe where it fastens to the hanger.

Conclusion: Pipes Making Noise

As you can see (or hear?), your pipes have the ability to make a wide range of noises. Each one tells its own story and comes with a different solution. More so, all are important to deal with sooner than later.

In conclusion, consider noisy plumbing to be a warning sign of future problems. Those problems are water leaks at the least. Often, they turn into horrific water damage from burst pipes. That’s a problem that can cost you thousands of dollars in expense.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

If you need help identifying the sounds of pipes making noise in your home, don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237).

We will immediately respond to and handle any emergency plumbingdrain cleaning and drain clearing, and water damage problem, including excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines.

Similar Posts