noisy pipes

How to Stop Noisy Pipes

The majority of homes in New Jersey are about 50 years old or older. As your home ages, your plumbing ages, too. Much like creaky joints in our bodies, the pipes in our homes can get pretty noisy with age and wear. Even some newer homes experience the same problems of noisy pipes. As with any repair, it is important to define the sound and identify the problem before you can find the solution that will work.

Water Hammer

Water Hammer is a term that is often misused to describe a multitude of plumbing noises. In fact, water hammer only refers to one very specific plumbing sound that is caused by a very specific problem. When you shut off the water, the fast-moving water stops rushing through the pipes and comes to an abrupt halt. This quick change in pressure creates a shock wave and you hear a hammering noise in your pipes.
Correctly-installed plumbing has air chambers that act as cushions to soften the shock and keep your house quiet. When these air chambers fail either due to age, waterlogging, or absorption, you’ll hear the hammering when you shut off your water.

The easiest fix for water hammer is cleaning out the air chambers. The air chamber is a short length of pipe with a cap. Once you remove the cap and clean out any residue, it can function properly and help reduce noise. If, however, you do not have any air chambers built into your plumbing, you have a larger issue that may require the help of a plumber to fix. Do not ignore water hammer in your home, as problem with water pressure can end up causing more damage down the line.

Banging Pipes

Some people may mistakenly refer to other noises as water hammer, when that is not the case. Banging pipes may cause a similar sound, but have a much simpler solution. If you hear banging in your pipes when the water is running, first do a few tests to identify the source of the noise. Try turning the water on and off from different faucets and listen for the location of the noise.

Once you find the section of pipe that is banging, observe it with the water turned on to see what it is banging against. If the pipe section is banging against a masonry wall in a basement or crawl space, wedge a small block of wood or a shim between the pipe and the wall. You can then secure the pipe to the wood block with a clamp, and permanently attach the block to the wall to prevent further banging.

In other cases, the noise may be coming from vibrations against another pipe or metal fastener. In this case, find a piece of rubber (a cut garden hose works well) and stick it between or wrap it around the pipe to reduce the noise.

Even if you cannot see the noisy pipe because it is behind a wall, you may be able to reduce vibrations without tearing your home apart. Try using expanding foam insulation through a small opening to fill the gaps and quiet your pipes.

Whistling

Instead of a banging sound, sometimes pipes start to whistle when water starts slowing through the plumbing. The whistling sound is usually caused by water flowing through a restricted pipe. If the whistling sound occurs only in certain rooms or with the use of specific faucets, it’s likely that the problem is a faulty valve or washer. Locate the problem washer or valve and your whistling will stop. If, however, the whistling happens with any faucet in the house, that means your problem is at the main water supply valve. You may need to either adjust the water pressure coming into your house or replace the main water valve.

Need to Call a Plumber?

Some plumbing noises can be fixed easily at home, but others can mean more serious problems. Whether big or small, Roto-Rooter of NJ can help. We are a full-service New Jersey plumbing company with certified technicians that can help you enjoy quiet in your home again. Call us for help fixing your noisy pipes today!

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