Plumbing tips to quiet your noisy water pipes

June 24, 2014

There are plenty of causes for noisy water pipes, including a loose mounting strap, water hammer and excess pressure. Here's how to fix these issues.

Plumbing tips to quiet your noisy water pipes

These problems can cause clanging sounds in your pipes that can jolt you awake at night or simply annoy you during the day.

These clanking sounds are usually referred to as water hammers, which result from quickly moving water hitting a closed valve and having no exit point. The impact produces a loud noise that can sound like someone smashing a hammer over iron. Not only can the sound startle you, it can also damage your pipes and connecting joints.

You can sometimes fix water hammers and other pipe sounds by tightening a pipe's mounting strap. These straps usually keep your pipes in place with nails placed in hooks or slots or held by metal plumber's tape. If these holders aren't securely in place, water can cause pipes to vibrate or clank as water flows through them. Check these mounting straps and tighten any loose ones if you hear clanking pipes in your home. You can also place a piece of rubber or wood behind the pipe if your pipe is hitting your wall.

All about the air chambers

Perhaps the most common way to fight water hammer involves fixing your air chambers, which are key pieces of piping that help reduce the force of fast-moving water before it leads to a water hammer.

A problem arises when these chambers no longer have air in them. To fix this, you need to first shut off your water supply, turn on the faucet where the noise is stemming from and completely drain the water. If you can't find the specific location causing the water hammer, you may have to shut off your entire water supply and drain all the water from your house. This should cause air to reenter the air chamber and effectively stop water hammer.

Mind the water pressure

Sometimes you may also need to adjust the water pressure, as too-high pressure in your pipes can cause water hammer and other sounds. You can either buy a pressure-reducing valve and use that or use your regulator, which should be included in most homes. If you don't have a regulator, you should think about having one installed. Be careful when adjusting water pressure because too-low water pressure can result in the water supply failing to flow properly on upper-levels of your home.

You can test your own water pressure with a water pressure gauge, but often, water utility specialists can also run the test for free. Water pressure should usually run between 30 and 50 psi, and anything over 100 psi can lead to damage to appliances and piping. When you can't adjust the water pressure, whether through pressure-reducing valves or through the use of a water pressure regulator, think about installing air chambers if your plumbing system doesn't have them.

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