Have you ever been relaxing at home and been suddenly startled by a banging, wheezing, groaning, or popping noise coming from the walls? Plumbing pipes can be surprisingly noisy. Many of the reasons for loud pipes are perfectly harmless, but sometimes, noisy pipes can mean you have a problem. Here are seven common reasons why your pipes are loud and what you can do to fix the issue.
1. You Have a Clog
If you hear weird bubbling or gurgling noises, the culprit might be a clog. Clogs create noise because they impede normal water flow, causing water to glug through the blockage noisily instead of flowing smoothly. Furthermore, you can end up with trapped air that causes noise as it bubbles up through your drains.
In addition to noisy sounds, some other signs of a clog include slow-moving drains, backed-up drains, and unpleasant smells from drains. Depending on the clog, you might be able to remove it yourself, or you may need a professional plumber to come and to break up the clog for you.
2. Your Pipes Are Shifting With Changing Temperatures
Whenever hot water runs through a cold pipe, the pipe will expand rapidly. This expansion is actually a very minor movement, but it can be enough to cause a pipe to rub against your studs, support brackets, or other internal features. The result is a weird knocking or squeaking noise that you notice every time you turn on the hot water in winter. This is most common in homes with metal pipes, but it can also occur in some homes with PVC piping.
The repeated expansions and contractions can be somewhat bad for your pipes, though these changes usually do not cause leaks. In most cases, they are just minor annoyances. If the sound bothers you, you may be able to reduce the problem by lowering your hot water heater settings or by adding more insulation to your pipes.
3. Your Pipes Are Creating a Water Hammer Effect
If you’re hearing an extremely loud slamming or banging noise, the culprit is probably a water hammer. A water hammer happens when your water flow is not working properly. Throughout your plumbing system, there are shut-off valves that keep water from moving through your fixtures when they are not in use. However, when water is already moving, suddenly closing the valve can cause all that moving water to slam against the valve point with a super loud banging noise.
A water hammer is essentially caused by excess water flow or pressure slamming against your pipes, so it is usually simple to fix. In most cases, you just need a plumber to install a small shock absorber device, called a water hammer arrestor, in the problematic pipe. You can also try to temporarily reduce water build-up in the system yourself by shutting off your water supply, running all the faucets to drain the system, and then turning everything back on.
4. You Have a Worn-Out Water Fixture
People typically think of their pipes as a straightforward system that is created by simply hooking hollow tubes together. However, the reality is that your piping involves a complicated system filled with valves, fixtures, and hardware. If there is a small issue like a worn-down nut or a loose washer, it can cause changes in water pressure and movements within your pipes that result in sound.
Some of the most common sounds associated with worn-out pipes are whining, whistling, or squeaking noises. You might notice that the sound is noisier near a fixture like a dryer, washing machine, or dishwasher. Usually, the presence of these noises can be fixed just by tightening or replacing the worn-down part. In some cases, you might need to replace larger pieces like a faucet handle or washing machine connection.
5. Your Water Pressure Is Too High
Are you hearing strange humming or buzzing noises? This usually indicates that your pipes are vibrating back and forth rapidly. The reason behind the vibrating pipes is typically high water pressure. When your water pressure is abnormally high, it rushes through your pipes and makes them wiggle back and forth rapidly. To see if this is the problem, try using a water pressure gauge to check the water pressure for your home. It should not be higher than 55 pounds per square inch.
High water pressure does more than just make pipes hum. It also puts more stress on your plumbing system so your pipes and fixtures might wear out a little sooner. High water pressure is most common in systems that are attached to a well, but it can happen if you are on city water. To fix this issue, you will need a plumber to install a water pressure regulator on your main water supply.
6. Your Ballcock Assembly Is Broken
Does the loud noise happen right after your toilet tank fills back up? This can indicate a problem with the ballcock assembly that is supposed to manage water flow to the toilet. Older ballcock assemblies can wear out, causing popping or thumping noises once your tank finishes filling up. After flushing the toilet, you can hear weird noises all over the home as the sound echoes through the pipes.
In this case, you will need to fix the toilet to solve the problem. You do not need to throw out the entire toilet; however, you will probably need to replace the assembly itself. This is typically a simple and relatively affordable repair. Some homeowners hire a plumber, but it might be something you can do yourself if you are handy or if you know a little bit about toilets and plumbing.
7. You Have Loose Pipes
If your noisy pipes just cause weird, intermittent sounds regardless of whether or not your water is running, the issue might not have anything to do with how you are using your pipes. Instead, the problem might be the pipe installation itself. Pipes are supposed to be strapped firmly to joists or other support structures. However, if someone did a DIY job, you can end up with loose, unsupported pipes in your walls or floors. Things like moving water, wind, or your house settling can cause the pipes to swing around and knock against other items in your home.
Loose pipes are an especially dangerous cause for noisy pipes. The issue is that the pipes can move around enough to yank loose and to leak. Therefore, it is important to identify the issue and to fix it promptly. Depending on your home’s piping configuration and your own abilities, this may be a DIY job, or you might need to call a professional.
If you suspect your noisy pipes need some repairs, turn to BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair. Our team of talented plumbers can assist you with finding the problem and fixing the issue. We also help Las Vegas residents with a variety of other heating and cooling services, including routine maintenance, repairs, and new equipment installations. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help you.