Water Pipes Are Noisy

Problem: Pipes make noises whenever water is used or turned off.

Background: Whistling, banging, humming, or chattering sounds coming from plumbing pipes are often fixable. Modern plastic plumbing lines are noisier than older galvanized pipes. However, if water lines hum excessively, the cause may be vibration or blocked piping. Whistling and chattering are often caused by faulty faucet washers or spindles. Loud hammering of pipes can result when faucets are closed, or when the flow of water to the clothes washer or dishwasher is abruptly stopped. Often the solution is installing air chambers in the sys tem, or “recharging” existing air chambers.

What to do: If the pipes produce a humming sound, hold a pipe to see if the humming is caused by vibration. If it is, you may be able to solve the problem by installing padding between the pipe and wall. (If pipes hum because they are old and blocked, replacement may be the only solution.) If the noise results only when one faucet is used, the problem may be a broken or damaged washer or a damaged washer seat. If the noise is a hum or honking when the toilet is used, the problem may be a faulty inlet valve or an inlet valve that is clogged by debris see
Toilet (Old-Style) Runs and Toilet (New-Style) Runs.
Loud banging that occurs when faucets are shut off quickly is called a water hammer. Check to make sure pipes are securely fastened in the hangers that hold them. If your home does not have air chambers, which provide a cushion of air in the system, a large one can be installed on the main water line or smaller individual chambers can be in stalled behind each fixture.

Special advice: If your home al ready has a water chamber in the system, it may be waterlogged (the section of pipe which normally has air in it that acts as a cushion has become filled with water). To correct this, turn off the main water valve and open all the faucets to drain the system. Leave them half way open. Close faucets on the lower floor and turn on the water. As faucets begin to run on lower floor, turn them off and flush any toilets. Do the same on the next floor and third floor. This should automatically replace the water in the air chamber with air.

Helpful hint: Noises, which at first appear to be coming from the plumbing system, may also be caused by splashing in toilet tanks, boilers that have dirty water, or water heaters. Check the tips on water heaters presented in the chapter on home appliances.

 

 

The Home Repair Guide

 

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