A loud pipe sound coming from your plumbing can be frustrating. The sounds come and go and it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where the noises are coming from, what’s causing them and how to fix them. Although a trained ear is required to identify and resolve pipe sound issues, we’ve compiled the top 5 sounds homeowners experience.
We call this pipe sound a water hammer. Water moves quickly through pipes and when fast-closing valves (toilet fill valve and faucets) close, it causes the water to suddenly stop, creating the “hammer” effect. Neglecting this sound can eventually lead to burst pipes, so make sure to address the underlying issue. You can add a water hammer arrestor or check your air chambers to ensure they have not filled with water.
When the water pressure coming into your home is too high, it can cause pipes to vibrate. Ignoring this problem can have expensive consequences as it’s a major cause of leaks, damage and wasted water. Test your pressure with a water pressure test gauge and then install a pressure-reducing valve on your main water line to decrease pressure. A licensed plumber can perform both the test and gauge installation if you are uncomfortable tackling the job on your own.
When water flow is restricted, the resulting pipe sound is best described as whistling. The two main causes for whistling pipes include the buildup of sediment or a defective washer/water valve. Flushing your pipes can help to remove the sediment, but if your water valve is defective it will most likely need to be replaced.
Old or poorly installed pipes can loosen from their fastenings and rattle when water is rushing. To stop the clatter, you’ll have to secure the pipes or add additional cushioning. Many homeowners make the mistake of holding off fixing rattling pipes because it involves opening up walls. Ignoring this pipe sound could eventually lead to burst pipes and an expensive cleanup and repair.
Hot water causes pipes to expand while cold water causes pipes to contract. During the contraction period, the pipe could make a creaking sound, especially if it‘s rubbing against any nearby wood. The best way to fix creaking pipes is to add additional pipe insulation to keep them at a consistent temperature.
If your pipes are making new sounds, you should be listening carefully. Anything new or out of the ordinary is a sign your plumbing needs some maintenance. Ignoring sounds for too long can lead to larger (and more expensive) problems.