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What to Do About Noisy Pipes

If you have clanging pipes, the problem could be a water hammer, a slack mounting strap, or high water pressure. Whatever the source of these sounds, you can usually do something about it. And you should probably take action as soon as possible because your pipes could be at risk for disconnecting or breaking.

Eliminate Water Hammer

Take the case of a water hammer. The booming noise is caused by water rushing through the pipes only to find that its destination is cut off by a closed valve. This surprise dead end forces the water to a violent stop, and the impact makes that noise. If this is what your pipes are doing, then your air chambers need help. These vertical pipes, placed at strategic points along your plumbing, such as by the washing machine and dishwasher, provide an air cushion that keeps the water flow from hitting against the closed valve. If you have a water hammer, you can refill the air chambers.

The first thing you would need to do is find the main water shutoff valve and turn off your house’s water supply. Then you need to open the highest faucet, then the lowest faucet around your house (the lowest faucet will probably be outdoors along the first floor or in your basement). This will drain the water from the pipes, which will then be filling up with air. As soon as the pipes are drained entirely, shut off the lowest faucet and turn on your home’s water supply. The water will force air out of the faucets, but there will still be air in the air chambers. And your water hammer will have disappeared.

Fix Mounting Straps

If the above steps have not handled the problem, it is time to look for another cause. Water hammers could sometimes be due to loose mounting straps, straps of metal plumber’s tape or hooks and hangers that have been overlaid with vinyl and nailed in place. If one of these comes loose, then the pipe can start to hit against the house’s wooden frame whenever the water flow is cut off or turned on. If you have a water hammer that persists, then you should check all the pipes that you can to see that they are connected well. If you need to fix any mounting straps, do NOT apply galvanized plumber’s tape or galvanized straps if you have copper pipes. The two metals will not do well when put together, and you could cause a leak.

Adjust Water Pressure

Maybe you do not have a water hammer. You may want to check your water pressure. It should be between 30 and 55 pounds per square inch (psi). If your water pressure gets too high, not only can your pipes make plenty of annoying sounds, but your dishwasher, icemaker, washing machine, etc., could be at risk. Your warranties will probably not cover any damage that occurs when water pressure is higher than 100 psi. If you need to lower the water pressure, you may be able to do this with a water pressure regulator, using a screwdriver or a wrench to bring the psi below fifty. If your house does not have this regulator (more likely in older homes), then it could be an excellent idea to ask a professional to install one; the value is worth the price tag. If you need to test your water pressure, you can attach a water pressure gauge to a hose bib, otherwise, the water department would probably test the pressure for you for free.

If you have any further questions about how to care for your pipes, do not hesitate to contact our team of expert plumbing technicians at A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc. No issue is too small for us to handle. We are also up to the task when you face huge plumbing emergencies, even when they happen after business hours. Call a Kansas City plumber today for a quote!