Let’s say you just moved into a new home and every time you turn on the kitchen sink faucet, you hear this ominous “hammering” noise in the pipes. Now, you’re worried that one day you’ll turn on your kitchen faucet to rinse off a few dishes and all of a sudden your pipes will burst. What gives?
If your pipes are making a mysterious “hammering” sound, there’s a good chance that there is air trapped inside the household plumbing, especially if you live in an older home. One of the most common causes of noisy plumbing is trapped air. For example, trapped air can cause strange vibrating noises or a worrisome jack-hammer sound – one that often leads to a phone call to the plumber!
You see, air can get trapped inside the circuit, especially higher pipes, and when this happens, it can lead to loud, vibrating sounds or repeat jack-hammer sounds, which can be difficult to eliminate unless you’re willing to drain the system and reconnect the water supply with open faucets.
When the Problem is an Air Hammer
If the problem is an air hammer, then the banging will occur whenever a faucet or valve is opened suddenly. In that case, the noise is caused by trapped air in the pipes; this is caused an “air hammer.” In this case, there can be an air pocket that is highly compressed due to the water pressure.
When someone suddenly opens the faucet, it releases pressure, causing a banging sound against the closed faucet or appliance valve.
When the Issue is a Water Hammer
If the issue isn’t trapped air, the noisy plumbing could be caused by a water hammer. If you quickly close a faucet and there is a loud banging noise that’s followed by a series of diminishing banging noises, you probably have a water hammer.
Basically, when you shut off the faucet, it causes a small vacuum downstream, which pulls the water back and releases back against the valve. Water hammers only occur when valves are closed suddenly. If you don’t hear the noise when you close the valve slowly, what you have is a water hammer, not an air hammer.
When You Have Air and Water in the Pipes
Sometimes both air and water are in the pipes, causing them to vibrate and rattle. You will especially see this in older homes. Also, when pipes expand and contract because of the pipes heating up or cooling down, it can lead to strange noises. We found that this usually occurs when household plumbing pipes are not properly secured to ceilings and walls.
Do you have a problem with loud, noisy, or banging pipes? If so, you should get down to the bottom of the problem – contact our Kansas City plumbers to schedule a service call!