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Why do pipes make noise? Have you ever been in your house and heard a strange noise, but you couldn’t figure out where it was coming from? It’s possible that the sound was coming from your pipes.
Pipes make noise for a variety of reasons. The moaning, banging, humming, gurgling noises in your pipe could indicate different problems with your plumbing system. Below is a detailed guide on why do pipes make noise and a number of ways to fix the problems.
Why Do Pipes Make Noise: Causes and Possible Fixes?
Water Pipes Humming
In most cases, the humming noise in pipes is caused by water pressure. When the water pressure is high and cannot cope with the plumbing system capacity, it causes vibrations in the pipes resulting in humming noises.
High pressure can happen anytime but is in most cases common in properties that depend on private wells.
The high pressure causes the pipes to vibrate, like a car traveling very fast down a highway. If the water is running in your house, you will hear a humming noise coming from your plumbing pipes.
If this happens, you’ll need to inspect your water tank and set it to no more than 55PSI. And if you do not have access to the checking water pressure on your tank, you can call a professional plumber to check it for you. They will need to alter the system pressure to eliminate the irritating humming noise.
Banging and Hammering Noises
Water hammer can occur in any water piping system and occurs due to a water pressure surge or a high-pressure shockwave that breeds through the piping system when water in motion is forced to stop or change in direction immediately.
For example, think of 5 cars in line on a highway going at speeds of 150mph. When one car slams on emergency brakes, the other cars are bound to slam on the one in front, and all cars end up colliding with each other.
The same case occurs with water at high pressure. Opening the faucet taps sends the water in motion, increasing water pressure. When you immediately close the faucet tap, the water immediately stops exerting pressure on the pipes.
Water hammer doesn’t pose an immediate threat to the piping system, but over time, the exerted pipe pressure can result in weak joints loosening, resulting in costly leaks in the walls.
To fix this problem, you need to reset the air chambers in your plumbing system. Shut off the main supply. Open all the faucets, flush all the toilets, allow the dishwasher and washing machine to run for a few minutes. This will help empty the water pipes in your home and drain the flooded air chambers in the piping system.
Squealing and Whistling Noises
Squealing or whistling noises in your piping means that the water flow in the pipes has been affected.
If you notice whistling noises from just a single faucet when it’s open, then the problem could be within the faucet itself. It could be a dirty or worn-out faucet washer or aerator. You will need to replace the part causing the noise problem, and the whistling noise should stop.
On the other hand, if you hear whistling noises in all water outlets in your home, then the problem could be within the pipes. It could be a result of mineral buildup, or it could be a result of a worn-out main water supply valve causing the whistling sound.
In such a situation, you will need to call a professional plumber to inspect the cause of the problem and advice on the best way to fix it.
Though it may sound like a ticking sound, the reality is that it could be a dripping leak. You can troubleshoot this by resetting the air chambers (discussed above) and identifying when you’re hearing the ticking noises. If you can exactly find out the exact cause, you may need to seek help from a qualified plumber.
Squeaking Pipe Noises
This is one of the most frustrating types of pipe noises that most homeowners often complain about. This is because the noise is audible through the walls, and it’s impossible to see exactly what’s happening.
Generally, a faint squeaking in most cases indicates that the copper pipers were never appropriately insulated.
Therefore, when hot water flows through the copper pipes, it causes the pipes to expand. This causes the pipes to rub against the house’s structural elements, resulting in rubbing or squeaking sounds.
In most cases, professionals recommend you turn your water heater down a few degrees and see if that will correct the problem. In some cases, this trick doesn’t work, but it’s all it takes to fix the problem at other times.
Vibrating Piping Noises
Vibrating pipe noises often indicate excessive pressure running in the piping system. You can test the water pressure at home yourself. However, you will need a threaded pressure gauge such as the YZM Stainless Steel pressure gauge.
They are pretty affordable, and you can find one on Amazon, Home Depot, or at any local home improvement store near you.
You only need to screw the threaded water pressure gauge to the sink faucet and ensure that the pressure in your home doesn’t exceed 80psi.
If the PSI is higher than 80, you will need to have a pressure regulator installed to control the water pressure in your home. If left untreated, the water pressure can damage pipes, waste water, and water leaks.
Gurgling Pipe Noises
Gurgling noises in the water pipes often indicate a problem with the drainage system- in most cases, a blockage in the plumbing system.
The obstruction in the pipe often occurs as a result of debris build-up, or it could be that an object was washed down the pipe.
It’s easy to clean the ducts by yourself, but if there’s more dirt buildup, it’s better to call a professional cleaning service to take care of the problem and eliminate the gurgling noises.
Final Thoughts on Why Do Pipes Make Noise
There are different reasons as to why pipes make noise. Fortunately, the above guide covers all the common culprits and discusses different ways to fix the problems.
If you experience such problems at home, I would highly advise you to fix the problem as soon as possible to prevent it from escalating into a serious and costly problem.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.