When you hear odd sounds coming from something mechanical such as a lawn mower or a car, you know there’s a problem. You also know it’s just a matter of time before a problem occurs if nothing is done about it. Like your car or lawn mower, your plumbing is never completely quiet but if it makes odd or unusual sounds, it’s best to check it out and get it resolved before it turns into a problem. Here are descriptions of three common plumbing noises:
Hammering and Banging
Hammering often happens when a faucet or valve is quickly shut off. When something as heavy as water is brought to a sudden stop, it sends a shock wave through your plumbing much like a hammer does when it strikes something. Excessive water pressure often causes loud water hammering. Normal water pressure in your home will vary between 40 to 70 psi. If it’s beyond this range, you may need a pressure reducer valve installed on your water supply main and/or a water hammer arrestor.
The reason for banging sounds is loose pipes that bump against other objects. Loose and floppy plumbing requires more secure mounting.
Loud water hammering should be looked into because if high water pressure is the culprit, it can damage your plumbing and appliances. In addition, the shock waves from frequent water hammering may cause damage.
When water flows rapidly through narrow piping, it can make whistling sounds, especially at bends and tees. The water may be flowing too fast for your plumbing because of excessive water pressure. If the pressure is OK, then the piping could either be too small or sediment buildup has narrowed down a section of piping. Another common cause of whistling is a leaking toilet fill valve which may require adjustment or replacement.
As with water hammering, if high water pressure is the reason for the whistling sound, damage to your plumbing and appliances may occur.
Expanding and contracting hot water pipes usually causes squeaking. When hot water flows through a pipe, the heat causes the metal of the piping to expand. The expanding pipe then rubs against its anchoring straps. When the pipe cools, it contracts and again rubs against the strapping. Install pipe cushioning or rubber between the pipe and its anchor strap.