Noisy plumbing pipes are annoying, especially if they’re loud enough to disrupt normal, everyday activities like sleeping. There are several causes behind pipes making noise, whether it’s when the water is off or on, but if you’re experiencing noisy pipes when running water, these are the top three causes.
Your Pipes are Made of Copper
While copper is a durable metal that’s resistant to corrosion and does not leach contaminants into the water, it does have one drawback when used for plumbing. Copper pipes tend to expand when hot water passes through them, making them slightly larger than they’re intended to be. As a result, if your plumbing is in a tight spot, these expanded pipes can rub against other structures such as joists, studs, and support brackets. The noise you hear when the water runs through the copper pipes is the sound of them banging against the surrounding structures.
There is usually no danger of your copper pipes springing a leak or cracking when they expand and contract, but the noise can be distracting. One way to solve this issue of noisy pipes is to slightly lower the temperature of your water heater so that the copper pipes don’t expand as much. You can also put padding around your pipes so that when they do expand, they hit something soft instead of hard.
Your Water Pressure is Too High
Noisy water pipes can result from high water pressure as well. When the water suddenly bursts through the pipes, it actually moves them, which, again, bangs them against the structures that surround your pipes. Usually, the sound goes away as the water pressure evens out, but if you have your water pressure set too high, it may cause noise until you turn the water off.
Most homes these days have a water pressure regulator attached to their water supply that keeps the pressure low enough not to significantly move the pipes. If your house is older, though, there might not be a regulator attached. Keep in mind that the water pressure coming into your house should be no lower than 40 psi and no higher than 80 psi.
You’re Creating a Water Hammer
If you notice that your pipes only make noise just as you’re turning off your faucet, you might be experiencing a water hammer, which is when the flowing water has no place to go and hits up against the shut-off valve. This makes an alarmingly loud noise that is more than just annoying. This phenomenon can also damage pipe connections and joints.
The main cause of water hammers is your air chamber. When working properly, your air chamber, which is basically a vertical pipe installed near your faucet, is filled with air that compresses when you suddenly turn off the water, thereby absorbing the shock of the water having no place to go. As your air chamber ages, it can fill with water instead of air, which eliminates its shock absorbing properties. You’ll need to restore the air in the air chamber by turning off the water to your house, draining the water from your pipes, then turning the water back on.
No one likes noisy water pipes, especially if you use a lot of appliances that run on water and you’re hearing the noises all the time. Fortunately, most of the noisy pipe problems can be fixed fairly easily if you can identify the cause.
We hope you found this blog post on Top Causes of Noisy Plumbing Pipes useful. Be sure to check out our post on Plumbing Tips You Should Know Before Moving for more great tips!
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