Why are my water pipes noisy?

Most noises you hear in your home can be attributed to minor, ignorable issues. But clanging sounds coming from your plumbing could signal something else. Here are some common reasons your pipes will make noise and ways to fix them.

Water Hammer

When running water is turned off it can slam into the shut-off valve, creating a loud thud and earning the “water hammer” title. The alarming noise can also be pretty damaging to your water pipe joints and connections. There are two ways to address water hammer:

  • Replenish the air chamber: The air chamber is the vertical pipe that connects the sink or tub to the wall cavity. Air typically fills the chamber to decrease and absorb the impact of water being turned on and off. If water gets stuck in the chamber, the chamber is less effective and the hammering noise gets louder. Here’s what you can do:
    • Shut off the water supply valve
    • Open faucets to drain remaining water
    • Turn water valve back on

This process helps replenish the air chamber with air, pushing the water out that’s causing the noise.

  • Install water hammer arresters: Arresters have a cushion of air that lessens the impact of rushing water. The devices connect to water pipes and uses a spring-loaded shock absorber that takes on the momentum of water when it’s forced to stop. While it’s possible to install the water hammer arresters yourself, it may be best to call in a pro if you’re unfamiliar with plumbing.

Copper Pipes

Copper lines have the ability to expand as hot water passes through. When the pipes swell, they may rub against surrounding interiors like wall studs, support brackets or joists. To avoid the grinding or rubbing noise caused by copper pipes, set your water temperature slightly lower.

High Water Pressure

Water pressure that’s set too high is not only noisy, but also potentially damaging to appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine. Water should flow throughout your home at 40 to 80 psi (pounds per square inch). Newer homes have a pressure regulator – typically mounted near where the water line enters the house – that tell your water pressure level. If your home doesn’t have one, you can have one installed for under $50.

Plumbing noises shouldn’t be ignored, especially if they’re getting louder. Inspecting the issue sooner than later will save money and the need for major plumbing repairs down the road.

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