Noisy pipes are irritating. The noise itself is not actually the problem; it is a symptom of a problem. Sometimes the problem is simple; sometimes it is not so simple. It is kind of like having a rock in your shoe, it isn’t a serious problem, but it is annoying until you get the rock out.
Pipes are kind of strange sometimes. They can make all kinds of strange noises, squeaking, banging, hammering, humming, chattering, and a multitude of others. Regardless of what noise it is, it can still get on your nerves.
Water pressure within a house is a common cause of noise in pipes, so one of the first things that accomplished is a water pressure test. Normally, water pressure at your water service entrance should be no higher than 60 psi. Higher water pressure can cause not only noise, but excessive wear and tear on fixtures in your home, resulting in the need for more repairs or even replacements, which means added expense for a home owner. Higher water pressure could be caused by a boost in pressure by your public provider. If your pressure is above the recommended psi, a pressure reducing valve (PRV) can be installed at the service entrance to bring the pressure back down to an acceptable level. If you already have a PRV, it may need to be adjusted or replaced.
Banging or hammering sounds in water pipes are usually caused by very quickly turning off the water at a faucet or other fixture. Old style faucets and valves were typically compression type stops, and turned off water supplies slowly. New faucets and valves are a disc type stop, and turn water on or off almost instantly. This fast stoppage of water causes a water shock wave in the pipe causing the hammering type sound. Special devices called water hammer (or shock) arrestors can be installed to compensate for this shock wave. Other factors influencing this type of noise could include water pipes that are not properly secured or outside irrigation systems turning on or off.
Humming or chattering in water pipes is quite often caused by compression washers or other internal parts of fixtures that are worn or loose. Other causes include loose pipes rubbing against other metal objects or wood framing.
Squeaking is usually caused by the expansion and contraction of water or drain pipes. When hot water runs through water piping the pipe will expand and when the water is turned off, it will contract. The same is true for drain pipes, when hot water runs through the drain it will expand and as it cools, it will contract. This expansion and contraction actually causes the piping to move and can cause squeaking where it rubs against strapping or against wooden framing.
As previously stated, some of these noises are annoying but pretty much harmless. However, banging or hammering caused by shock waves can be harmful to pipes and to fixtures, and should be repaired to avoid unnecessary damage to the system.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in your home, give us a call so we can determine the cause and make recommendation to you for solving the situation.