Under most circumstances, your household plumbing and pipes work seamlessly. You may not notice your home’s plumbing until something goes wrong. More significant nuisances can be a leaking or burst pipe. However, the annoying nature of noisy pipes cannot be underestimated. Pipes that make noises even when not in use can keep you awake at night and disrupt your daily life. Learn more about the top three reasons you may be hearing noisy home pipes.
1. High Water Pressure
A primary cause of noisy pipes can be water pressure that is too high. In this case, that noise can be a warning sign that you should correct the problem. If left unaddressed, water pressure that is too high can damage expensive appliances that use water, including your washing machine and dishwasher.
Many modern homes have a water pressure regulator located where the water supply enters into the house. If your home does not have one, you can have one installed. Most plumbers would recommend having water delivered into the home at a pressure between 40 and 80 pounds per square inch (psi).
2. Copper Pipes
If your home has copper pipes, some noise may become a part of daily life. This is because copper pipes usually expand when hot water goes through them. They also absorb some of that heat because copper is highly heated conductive and malleable. If the copper pipes in your home do not have much space around them, as they expand, they may rub against the interior structural components of your home (such as joints and studs). The noisy action can even continue as the pipes contract after use.
You may be able to correct this problem by turning down the temperature on your water heater. This may be warranted if you find the noise particularly annoying or distressing. Aside from the sound, in most cases, noisy copper pipes are not dangerous to the structure of your home, and copper is generally an excellent material for piping. If you ever remodel your home, you might choose to use the opportunity to place foam padding around copper pipes, which can help to reduce the noise from the pipes expanding and rubbing against the internal structures.
3. Water hammer
You may have never heard of water hammer, but if you have noisy pipes, you might know the sound all too well. Water hammer occurs when water is turned off, and it has no place to go, so it slams up against the shut-off valve. The action creates a loud thud noise that can sound much like a hammer, which led to the name water hammer. A water hammer sound can be alarming. Recurring water hammer can also damage the pipes, particularly around the joints and connections.
A recurring water hammer sound can be addressed through multiple methods. One involves the air chamber, which is a vertical pipe located in the cavity of your wall, usually near the faucet. The air in this chamber usually compresses and absorbs shocks associated with the stop of fast-moving water. However, this air chamber can fill with water and no longer work, causing water hammer. You can clear your air chamber by turning off your water supply, turning on all the faucets to drain the plumbing, and then turning the water back on.
Alternatively, you can install water hammer arrestors. These devices connect to your pipes and offer a spring-loaded shock absorber to redirect the force of the water. These devices will never get waterlogged. Some homeowners may have enough DIY skill to install these themselves. However, many people will want to hire a plumbing specialist to address this need or other issues related to noisy pipes.
Noisy pipes are not just a nuisance; they can signal severe issues with your plumbing. If you can’t get to the bottom of your noisy pipe problem, call your local plumber. With years of experience and the know-how to run special diagnostics, your plumber can restore the peace in your home by quieting noisy pipes.