How to Quiet Noisy Water Pipes
Are your pipes noisey and annoying? Does your faucet make a high pitched wine every time you turn it on? There are a handful of reasons as to why a water pipe can become loud and noisey. A water hammer, loose mounting or high water pressure can cause water pipes to clang and clatter. Here are tips for quieting your water pipes, and how to diagnose whats causing all that noise.
Problem 1 – Water hammers
Imagine a fast-moving stream of water traveling down a narrow pipe. A water hammer happens when water finds a closed valve in place of what was an escape point. All of a sudden, the water has nowhere to go. As it comes to an abrupt stop, a loud thud results, and it can be heard throughout the entire house. This sound is known as a water hammer. The hammering action of the water creates this noise and is also capable of damaging joints and connections in the pipe.
A simple solution is to install and utilize an air chamber. Air chambers act as cushions to prevent water from slamming against the piping. Because air compresses, it absorbs the shock of the fast-moving water before it has a chance to slam against the end of the pipe. Many household plumbing systems have air chambers built into them at critical locations. In some homes, air chambers exist at every location where water is turned on and off — even the toilet.
To eliminate a water hammer, you need to fill all the air chambers with air. You can’t inspect the air chambers, so this procedure is a must whenever you notice a faint noise in the pipe:
Shut off your home’s main water supply valve.
Open the highest faucet inside your house.
Find the lowest faucet on the property — it’s usually on the first floor somewhere outside or in the basement — and turn it on to completely drain all water from the pipes.
As the water drains from the pipes, air automatically replaces it.
The moment the water is completely drained from the piping, turn off the lowest faucet and reopen the main valve.
Air pushes out of the horizontal and open vertical water lines, sputtering as it exits the faucets inside. However, air remains in the air chambers, eliminating the problem.
Problem 2 – Loose mounting straps
Sometimes a water hammer can jar and loosen you rpipes mounting straps. These straps are metal plumber’s tape or the nail-in hooks and hangers that attach pipes to your homes framing. A loose pipe strap allows the pipe to freely vibrate as water is turned on and off. Check all accessible pipes to ensure that they’re properly and tightly connected.
Problem 3 – Too-high water pressure
Another reason for banging pipes is high water pressure. You can adjust water pressure with a water-pressure regulator or pressure-reducing valve. Most modern homes have one of these mounted at the location where the main water supply enters the home.
If you don’t have a regulator, consider having one installed. A professionally installed pressure regulator can cost several hundred dollars, but it’s a good investment in the long run. We recommend that you leave this to the professionals (call us today) rather than trying to install a pressure regulator yourselve. There are serious plumbing repercussions involved with water pressure regulators if not installed correctly.
Not only is high water pressure wasteful, but it can damage dishwashers, washing machines, and other water-supplied automatic appliances. In fact, many appliance warranties are voided when water pressure exceeds 100 pounds per square inch.
Testing water pressure is important regardless of whether you have a pressure regulator. You can test the water pressure yourself using a water-pressure gauge that screws onto a hose bib; in most communities, the water department will conduct the test at no charge. Take them up on this offer!