Noisy pipes are a common plumbing problem that haunts people at night and deprives them of sound sleep. While you shouldn’t panic after hearing these suspicious sounds, they certainly are a concern for your home’s plumbing health. There are several reasons why they make rattling sounds when not in use. The following are some most common causes of rattling pipes:
High Water Pressure
The high pressure exerted by the water flowing through pipes is among the most common reason for noisy pipes. It is possible that the loud, banging noises that you hear are coming from the water flowing at great speeds. High water pressure is not only bad for your pipes, but it can also damage important appliances used for washing, such as your dishwashers and washing machines.
An ideal solution is to get a water pressure regulator, also known as pressure reducing valve, that functions incredibly to control the speed of the water and slow it down. It is typically installed in the water supply where it enters your home. However, you will need to call a professional plumber to install it for you.
If you already have a regulator installed, try adjusting it to make sure it performs at its best. The water should enter your home at a pressure of 40-80 pounds per square inch.
As water travels through pipes and arrives at corners, such as near a faucet, it may produce a sound similar to that created by the swing of a hammer. As you turn off the tap after use, the water rushing out of the tap with a lot of force and speed comes to an abrupt stop, causing the pipes to hammer or rattle.
Although air chambers, which are vertical pipes attached to faucets, are installed to slow down the fast-moving water, water hammers occur every once in a while. As the water hammers become frequent and loud enough to be audible, you’ll need to refill the air chambers to eliminate the sound.
Refilling the air chambers is no big deal. All you need to do is turn off the main water supply of your home, then open all the faucets to drain out all the water running through the draining system. Once that’s done, turn on the water supply. This will help restore the air supply in the vertical air chamber, while the air in the pipes is pushed out by the flowing water. The air chamber will get back to work, preventing the water from producing that hammering sound.
Besides this, water hammer arrestors are another great solution to eliminate the rattling sounds. These small devices comprise of a spring-loaded shock absorber and are attached to your water pipes. As you turn a faucet off, they divert the force of the water to prevent it from crashing into the corners. One of the advantages of water hammer arrestors over air chambers is that they never get waterlogged. Normally, you will need a plumber to help install a water hammer arrestor for you.
Faulty Main Shutoff Valve
Oftentimes, it is your water pressure regulator or the main shut off valve that’s the main source of squealing pipes making noise throughout your house. If the trouble lies with the main valve, you will need to get it replaced or repaired by a plumber. However, make sure you turn off the street water supply.
On the other hand, if the main valve is working perfectly fine, and you have a pressure regulator installed in your inflowing cold water line, the issue probably lies here. Again, it will have to be repaired or replaced.
Loose piping is another major cause of noisy water pipes. It’s not only what goes into the pipes that produces these noises, but what’s on the outside as well. If a pipe is not tightly fastened or is loose within its mounting straps, water traveling at high speeds can cause the pipe to bang against the wall. Noise is not the only concern here, as in the long run, your pipes will be subject to a lot of damage from the constant impacts against the wall, which will result in leaks.
To locate the source of an existing noisy issue, use a flashlight to inspect all visible pipes in the interior and exterior of your home, particularly when someone at home is using a tap. Once you spot these problematic pipes, get them fastened as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Worn out Ballcock Assembly
This one is pretty easy to detect. Sometimes, the noise has nothing to do with the pipes themselves but the ballcock assembly in the toilet tank. A ballcock assembly is the tool that refills your toilet tank every time you flush. If you hear a rattling sound right after flushing, it is a clear indication that the ballcock assembly has worn out. You may be able to get it repaired depending on its type. If not, replace it with a new one.
Rattling noises will certainly be part of your life if you have copper pipes installed at home. The underlying problem with copper pipes is that as hot water passes through them, they expand. Since copper is a good conductor of heat, it tends to absorb the heat from this hot water. If copper pipes in your home are installed too close to the home’s surroundings, they will roughly rub against the structural components and continue to produce the sound even after they contract.
One great strategy to eliminate the issue is to turn the water temperature down on the water heater. We don’t recommend replacing your copper pipes because copper is an excellent material for plumbing fixtures. Yet, whenever you plan on installing new copper pipes, placing foam padding around copper pipes is a great way to protect the surrounding structures from damage.