Noisy water pipes can be a nuisance, disturbing the peace in your home.
Quite often they may also be signs of plumbing problems waiting to be fixed.
Here are just a few reasons why your pipes might be whining and groaning and how you can hush them up.
Noisy Water Pipes – Worn Washers and Valves
Washers and valves will naturally get worn over time. Sometimes even a loose screw can be the cause. This can often be the source of squealing and may involve a simple replacement. Sourcing the noise isn’t always easy, especially if it’s coming from within a wall. A common place for wear and tear is the connection to the washing machine. This could be a damaged hose or possibly a cracked washer in the faucet – turn off the house water first and then repair.
The main house valve can also sometimes be a culprit to look out for. Turn off the water at the street valve first before tackling this. Replacing it or repairing may require a professional.
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Noisy Water Pipes – Loose Pipes
Subsidence and weathering can sometimes push certain pipes out of joint, particularly underground pipes or exterior pipes running down the wall. They may still be working perfectly, but due to being pushed a little out of line could be rattling against their supports.
Make sure that they’re securely fitted back to their joists so that there’s no more movement – this will stop the rattling and prevent pipes from moving any further out of line and causing more major damage.
Noisy Water Pipes – Water Hammer
When we shut off a faucet, water is still rushing through the pipes at a fast rate. An air chamber (or antihammer) is needed to stop that water ramming against the closed faucet and rattling (and potentially rupturing) the pipes. The water goes into the air chamber where it is cushioned by air that is trapped there. Over time, these air chambers can start to fail by losing air and so the water has nothing to cushion it, creating a thudding or chattering sound known as ‘water hammer’.
This may involve draining the entire house in order to restore air flow back into these chambers. Alternatively, you could get the air chambers replaced with modern commercial antihammers that are less likely to fail. These modern chambers use a t-fitting and sometimes a spirally wound coil of copper tubing that helps to contain air. Antihammers leading from washing machines and dishwashers are some of the most common to need fixing, where the water pressure is likely to be highest.
Noisy Water Pipes – Damaged Water Pressure Regulator
Many houses have water pressure regulators fitted, either to increase or decrease the flow of water if the pressure is naturally too low or high. The pressure monitor may have a crack in the manifold that could be causing a howling noise. Repairing or replacing this water pressure regulator could be the answer.
Noisy Water Pipes – Toilet Problems
Many people may experience noisy toilets, especially when the tank is refilling after flushing. This can be due to a variety of reasons, the most common being a faulty ballcock mechanism. Take the lid of your toilet’s tank whilst it’s flushing and determine whether the whistling stops after the tank has refilled – if it does then you know it’s the ballcock to blame! Whilst ballcock valves can be repaired, it may often be easier to replace the whole mechanism.
If there’s a hissing that continues after the tank has refilled, you may be dealing with an overflow problem. Check if the water is flowing into the overflow pipe. If it is, you may have to adjust the ballcock mechanism (usually bending the float arm slightly downward will do it).
Faucet problems may also be a problem on a toilet if the source of the noise isn’t coming from the tank. Again, it may be something as simple as a loose screw or worn washer.