How to Identify and Fix Noisy Pipes I IT Landes
How to Identify and Fix Noisy Pipes

Noisy pipes can vary from mild annoyance to something alarming, especially if they start making noise out of the ordinary. This commonly occurs in older homes. No one looks forward to experiencing plumbing problems. The sound of noisy pipes can evoke thoughts of worst-case scenarios, including costly plumbing replacements and emergency piping leaks.

Fortunately, addressing noisy pipes promptly by a plumbing professional often prevents them from becoming a major cause for concern. The following are some of the reasons why your pipes might be making noise and some of the solutions plumbing professionals may offer.

Loose Fittings Lead to Noisy Pipes

Your home’s piping network allows water to travel through it. This means that something is traveling through the pipes, causing friction and pressure. If you hear rattling, clunking or vibrating in your pipes, it could be that your pipes were not fitted correctly at installation, or they may have come loose over time. Regardless of the issue, you should have it addressed by a professional who can help refit them. They can establish appropriate fittings, tighten bolts and replace worn-out fixtures. In some cases, they may recommend rerouting plumbing to improve water flow and reduce the chances of the pipes experiencing this issue again.

Copper Pipes Expand and Contract

Many homes have copper pipes fitted. Copper offers numerous benefits, including durability and malleability. In the modern era, copper often replaces steel and lead piping in many places. One attribute of copper pipes is their expansion and contraction with temperature changes.

If you hear noisy pipes after running hot water for a while, it’s likely the expanding copper pipe network. As the pipes expand, they rub against joints and other support structures in your home. While not a major problem, it can be annoying. Your plumbing professional can help mitigate the noise by installing insulated foam rubber to minimize friction or making other adjustments to the piping installation to eliminate the noise.

Water Hammer

Water hammers occur in piping systems where valves control the flow of steam or liquid. A water hammer results from a pressure surge or high-pressure shockwave traveling through a piping system, causing the fluid in motion to stop or change direction abruptly. This shockwave, technically known as a hydraulic surge or hydraulic shock, manifests as a knocking or banging sound in pipes immediately after they are shut off.

Water hammers commonly occur when an open valve is closed, causing water to slam into the valve, or when a pump turns off, removing pressure and causing water to flow in the reverse direction back to the pump.

Unlike gases, water, like other liquids, cannot be compressed under normal circumstances due to the lack of space between molecules. The impact of water against a closed valve creates a shockwave that can travel at the speed of sound between the closed valve and the next elbow in the piping system.

While it might seem that a small amount of water creating a relatively small shockwave is harmless, the result is a spike in pressure in the plumbing network, which can be ten times the system’s typical working pressure. Water hammers can quickly damage the piping system through a singular major event or cumulative damage with smaller events over time. Ignoring a water hammer can lead to long-term effects such as pump and flow system damage, leaks in joints and fittings, ruptured pipes, accidents, downtime, and maintenance.

Preventing water hammers can be achieved by selecting the right type of check valve. Tilting disc, piston style and swing check valves use gravity to return the valves to the closed position, preventing water from crashing into the valve mechanism and generating pressure waves through the piping network.

For those experiencing water hammer issues, consulting with a plumbing professional about considering spring-assisted check valves can reduce or eliminate the possibility of a water hammer. Air chambers also provide an effective solution. During a piping network inspection, plumbing professionals can determine if system flushing is necessary, if pressure reducers and regulators need installation, or if the overall operating pressure of the system needs reduction.

High Water Pressure Leads to Noisy Pipes

High water pressure causes buzzing sounds in pipes as the water vibrates through them. A plumbing professional may install water pressure regulators to address this issue. Modern homes may have these installed during construction, but, like all mechanical devices, they can fail, leading to the return of high water pressure issues.

Water pipes produce a loud banging sound when attempting to move too much water too quickly, causing high PSI. This can result in other problems with the water lines. In the worst-case scenario, high pressure can lead to a water line burst. Homeowners should know the location of their main water supply shut-off valve in such cases. However, it is preferable to prevent plumbing emergencies caused by high water pressure by immediately contacting plumbing professionals if you suspect your pipes are making noise due to excess water pressure.

Sludge Buildups and Blockages

Pipework can experience wear and tear, particularly in areas with hard water. Central heating systems can lead to a sludge buildup circulating in pipes. As solid particulates circulate in the system, they can generate noise in the pipes, such as rattling or the sound of particles hitting the metal sides. There is no do-it-yourself solution for this issue. In a futile attempt, some homeowners have tried to drain their pipes independently, often resulting in a messy situation, unexpected pipe damage, and the eventual need to call a plumber. In such cases, the cost of repairs becomes significantly higher than if they had initially entrusted the project to professionals.

Screeching Noise

Faulty water pipes typically cause plumbing sounds. However, other issues can generate noises that might be mistaken for pipe problems. For instance, a broken toilet fill valve, a damaged faucet or a blocked drain could be the culprits. If any of these pose an issue, you’ll likely hear a screeching noise when you turn the water on. One effective way to address this is to have a trustworthy plumbing professional replace the faucet or fixture causing the screeching noise. During the replacement, your plumber can inspect the rest of your plumbing network to ensure there are no other issues you need to be aware of.

Prevent Pipe Noises With Plumbing Maintenance

Regular plumbing maintenance can minimize the chances that you will have to deal with noisy pipes or plumbing emergencies. Additionally, plumbing maintenance improves drinking water quality and gives you peace of mind. It can protect your home from pipe bursts, reduce the risk of chemicals or pollutants entering your drinking supply and increase the longevity of your plumbing system. Regular professional maintenance schedules keep your plumbing in good condition and can protect you from costly repairs. Read here to learn some more tips on how to avoid causing damage to your home’s plumbing system

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