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Do You Have Water Noise in Pipes?

copper plumbing pipework

Domestic plumbing systems should always be silent when running. But at times, several factors may cause the piping system to produce noisy sounds, which is quite annoying. You don't necessarily have to contact a plumber in case of loud pipes since some of these plumbing problems are minor issues that you can fix yourself. Noisy water pipes are not an emergency issue but an indication of an underlying problem in your pipes and the plumbing system.

There are several reasons for noisy water pipes; they may arise due to blocking and loose fittings. Noisy pipes are not just annoying, but they are also a problem with running water. Seek help from a professional plumbing service provider to fix any plumbing problem you might have.

Related article: water pipe noise when water is not running

Related article: pipes knocking when hot water is turned on

Common Causes of Water Noises in Pipes

Several factors cause disturbing noises coming from your pipes. Here are six of the most common causes.

Water Hammer

Water hammers are the loud, banging sound produced when the water supply valve closes instantly such that the running water is blocked from exiting. Eventually, water hammers cause the pipes to collapse. This problem is common when using large appliances that consume so much water, like the dishwasher.

Water hammers can cause damage to the piping system, including the water pipe joints. 

You can fix the water hammer problem by checking the air chamberThis is the vertical pipe near the faucet holding the plumbing attached to the sink. The air chamber absorbs shocks coming from water moving with high pressure using the trapped air in it. Water may fill the air chamber, making it ineffective in shock-absorbing, resulting in hammering noises.

Here is how you can fix a damaged air chamber.

  • Turn off your mains water supply
  • Drain all pipes. Turn on all the taps on the top and bottom stories of the house.
  • Turn the main water supply back on and leave it open to allow all trapped air to flush out.
  • Turn off all running taps and faucets
  • Inspect the water supply line if the problem persists. Fix by applying clips where necessary. 

You can also fix the water hammer problem by installing a water hammer arrestor or a water pressure gauge in the water valve. It has a spring-loaded shock absorber that absorbs shock waves when water bangs the closed shut-off valve by diverting the water force.

High Water Pressure

When water is running at high pressure, a vibrating sound is produced. When you suddenly close the shut-off valve, the water flow is interrupted to cause a banging noise. High pressure may damage your pipes and appliances like the dishwashers and the laundry machine.

To address the pressure issue in your plumbing system, fix a water pressure regulator to the faucet or valve. Besides the regulator, you can also opt for a pressure gauge to eliminate this issue. You can get these gadgets at a home improvement store. Check the pressure gauge regularly to ensure water is running at the recommended pressure (40-60psi). A pressure regulator or a pressure reducer will prevent the water pressure from increasing to a higher level than recommended. 

Adjust the regulator if your water pressure exceeds 80psi.

Copper Pipes 

Concealed copper pipes supplying hot water may expand due to the generated heat. When the hot water stops running, the heat drops, and the pipe reduces in size. The change in the size of the pipes causes them to rub against the wall structure. As a result, a disturbing noise is produced.

To tackle this problem, lower the temperature on the central heating unit.

Loose Water Pipes

Water pumped from the source has a lot of pressure. When the pipes are loosely attached to the frames, the high pressure will cause the pipes to vibrate or bang up against these frames producing noise. When left unaddressed, the pipes can develop leaks as they bang against the wall.  

To fix a shaky water pipe, follow the guide below:

  • Turn on the water to freely flow. This will help you identify where the loose pipe is.
  • Reinforce the pipe with a rubber pipe insulation or foam and use metal tape to attach back. Avoid using galvanized straps on copper pipes as they can react, resulting in the pipes wearing out to form leaks.
  • If the loose pipe is inaccessible, but the foam at the pipe section is accessible. If it is still in vain, you'll need to open the wall structure to access the pipe.

Damaged Washer

Washers in the plumbing system are used to seal against leaks. However, the washers can get damaged if no proper maintenance is observed, causing water to escape through the leaks. A squealing or whistling sound accompanies the escaping water. 

To eliminate this sound, shut off the valve and check the hose to inspect the washer. Replace the washer if it's damaged.

If you don't find any problem with the washer, your faucet/tap is to blame. Shut off the main valve, then replace the faulty faucet/tap. 

Sludge Build Up and Blockages in the Pipe

Debris may build up when the pipe components wear and tear out. They will eventually start running along the pipes producing a rattling noise. The mineral buildup has the same effect. The central heating systems build up sludge which, with time, circulates the pipeline creating the same effect. 

Don't attempt to fix the water heater by yourself; get help from an experienced plumber for a power flushing service.

What do Noisy Water Pipes Indicate?

Banging Noises

High water pressure may be the cause of banging noises in your pipes. Trapped air and water hammers can also cause these banging noises.

Air may be trapped in the water pipes by sludge buildup in the pipes. The escaping air may produce sounds when you open the faucet. The banging sounds are usually heard when you are opening the tap. 

When suddenly closing the tap or shut-off valve, a humming sound is produced. Water travelling at high pressure hits the closed shut-off valve, making a loud, banging noise.

Shaking and Rattling Water Pipes

Shaking water pipes occur in hanging pipes. The slips holding the hanging pipes may get loose, causing the plumbing pipes to start swaying.

When warm water passes through copper pipes, they expand. They later reduce in size when warm water stops moving. This change in size causes motion such that the pipes scratch against the house's studs or support brackets in the walls causing loud, rattling noises.

Squealing or Whistling Noises

Squealing and whistling noises indicate a damaged washer in your plumbing system. It can also mean clogging in the piping passage line. Materials like solid waste and other debris clog the pipe blocking water from flowing. As a result, a squealing sound is produced.

Hire a plumber to remove any debris clogging your pipes to eliminate these whistling sounds.

Gurgling Sound

A gurgling sound is produced when the water line is blocked. This is evident when draining out excess water/waste. Debris buildup and materials drained through the pipes may cause the pipes to clog. So you should be careful with what you allow to pass through your pipes. 

Cleaning the duct is simple but if the debris build-up is extensive, hire a professional heating engineer to remove it, we provide a power flushing service

How Dangerous are Water Hammers and other Water Pipe Noises?

Water hammers come up when you close the valve immediately, blocking the running water in the pipe to produce a banging noise. Water hammers can damage the seals or washers of the pipes, meters, and gauges, whose replacement cost is high.

Pipe noises can happen anywhere; in the kitchen, washing machine in the laundry room, or anywhere else. You should address these plumbing issues fast as they can cause damage if left unaddressed for long.

Vibrating pipes banging against the wall may leak water to the wall cavity. The leaking water leading to water ingress can bring about mould growth on the wall surface. Moulds cause structural problems to the wall and are harmful to the health of inhabitants of the home.

Final Word

Different strange noises coming from the water pipes indicate various underlying problems in the plumbing system. If left unaddressed for long, they can result in more significant issues and eventually damage the pipe or appliances in your home.

All homeowners need to know how to identify and fix each pipe problem. If you find it hard to resolve these issues yourself, find a professional plumber who can efficiently provide emergency services and plumbing services.

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