Air in the pipes, water hammer and jackhammer noises, even squeaking can be caused by any number of plumbing issues large and small, says Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Denver. Here’s a primer on the more common noise problems
Everybody calls the plumber when a pipe bursts or something else in the plumbing system fails, but many of the customers of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Denver also often happen to mention on our service calls that their water pipes “make a lot of noise.”
Noisy pipes are relatively common, particularly in older homes. After all, the plumbing s a dynamic system, with water rushing throughout the home under a good deal of pressure, and there is a ton of power in all of that. The pipes don’t have to be noisy, though, and while some noise is just annoying, persistent noise from water pipes can be a sign of a problem that can range from the simple – a worn out washer – to the serious – a blocked pipe that could burst.
team of licensed plumbers can, of course, find the source of the problem and fix the noisy water pipes. But we thought you just might want to know what’s going on when “the pipes, the pipes are calling,” as it were, with apologies to our Irish friends.
One of the chief causes of water-pipe noise is air in the pipes, which can cause the pipes to give off a vibrating sound or even short bursts of banging not unlike a machine gun in a gangster movie. The problem is that air gets trapped in the pipes, especially in high points in the system that can be difficult to eliminate. Air trapped in pipes can be fixed by flushing the line or putting in a p trap (A p-trap is comprised of a tailpiece, the curved trap piece, and a drain elbow).
Air trapped in pipes is often mistaken for another of the chief causes of noisy pipes: banging, or what is known as “water hammer.” This can be a loud bag when a faucet is turned on or off, or a series of bangs lead by a big bang and then “echo bangs.” However, if the bang happens when a faucet or valve is opened, it is most likely air in the pipes. If, on the other hand, if the bang comes when you turn water off or the washing machine or dishwasher changes cycles, then it’s probably water hammer. To fix this we usually recommend the introduction of air chambers or the installation of water hammer arrestors.
Often our customers hear rattling or pipes banging around or squeaking in certain places in the home, and this could simply be a result of the pipes not being secured to the wall or ceiling properly and needing nothing more than tethering or strapping down. It can also be caused by the pipes expanding and contracting due to temperatures of the hot water or air, and then rubbing against one another or against adjacent wood of access corridors. The fix here is to space the pipes better and restrap them, or to widen the channels where the pipe travels.
A plumbing phenomenon called jackhammering – rapid-fire sounds not unlike a drum – could be a sign that the solenoid fill valve in a dishwasher or washing machine is worn out and needs replacing. Obviously, this is most often heard when an appliance is running.
When the pipes hum, moan, shriek or whistle, this suggests that there is an obstruction in the pipe that is at some point creating higher-than-normal pressure. The fix could be something easy like replacing a worn out washer, or something more complex like draining a high-pressure flushing of the system, or part of it, or even replacement of some or all of the water pipes.
Of course, it if’s just running water that you’re hearing, we have found it is generally one of two things, both easily remedied: 1) a toilet with a leaking flush valve, and, 2) someone has left the hose on outside by mistake.
It could also be something more serious, like a broken valve in a sprinkler system.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Denver, which is family owned and has been serving the metro area since 1978, an help you solve any of these noisy pipe issues, as well as the full complement of plumbing services from emergencies to remodeling projects. For more information visit and call 866-PUNCTUAL.