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5 reasons why you have noisy water pipes and what you can do to fix them

5 reasons why you have noisy water pipes and what you can do to fix them


Michael Jackson once famously sang “It’s close to midnight, something evil’s lurking in the dark”. While you and I might never have to encounter the ghouls and zombies that Michael did in the Thriller video, in the everyday family home, unwanted household noises at midnight could rightfully be considered just as evil. 

Among the most unwanted in any family home are noisy water pipes. There are numerous reasons why the pipes in your home might be providing you with a cacophony of noisy clangs, clashes and clatters that are about as appreciated as a telemarketer’s call at dinner time. Here are five of the most common causes of noisy water pipes, and what you can do to fix them.

Water Hammering

One of the most common causes of noisy water pipes in the home is what we call ‘water hammering’. We all know that when we turn the tap on, water comes out. Behind the scenes though (or more accurately, behind the wall and in the pipes), the energy created by turning on the tap that enables the water to flow with sufficient force and speed stops suddenly when we turn the tap off. And something needs to happen with that energy.

The hot and cold taps each have pipes attached that contain air chambers. The water rush grinds to a halt when you turn off the tap, and the water travels to a vertical pipe where it hits an air cushion that absorbs the force of that water. The absorption of that force minimises any rattling or hammering of the pipes. However, over time and sustained usage, the air chamber in the vertical pipes can diminish, which reduces the ability of the system to neutralise the force of the water, leading to water hammering and noisy water pipes. 

This can be fixed though, simply by turning on all taps and drainage systems throughout your home while the primary water valve is switched off. Give it some time, then refill them with water. Doing this will force air into the risers and stop the water hammering, ensuring your pipes don’t wake you up at some ungodly hour. 

The ballcock assembly is worn out

If you flush your toilet and experience a heavy banging sound or noticeable rattle as the cistern finishes filling up, this will typically point to an issue with your ballcock assembly. The ballcock assembly is used to regulate the filling process of your toilet; when it wears out through repeated use, it will result in loud, unwanted noises. Fixing or replacing the ballcock assembly will fix this issue. 

Washers have worn out

If you’re hearing a squeaky or whistling sound coming from your water pipes, it is likely due to a washer in the tap or valve that has worn out with continued use over time. This happens. More often than not, in this instance you’ll find that the valves that are hooked up to the taps or the washing machine are the guilty party. Fixing this issue is relatively easy, especially if you’re only hearing the noise when you’re using a washer. All you need to do is close off the valve, check all the washers throughout your home, and replace any washers that have worn out or have cracked. Of course if the noise persists after you’ve inspected and replaced any washers, the issue may lie elsewhere. A call to a local emergency plumber may be necessary. Be sure to switch off the water while you wait for the plumber to arrive.

Loose piping

If the water pipes in your home are perhaps looser than they should be, that can certainly result in unwanted noises. Loose pipes can have a tendency to sway with large volumes of water moving through them, causing them to rattle and repeatedly hit walls or objects behind the walls. This contact causes the banging sounds you might hear, which can potentially result in damage to the pipes.

Pinpointing the source of the problem is the all-important first step towards fixing loose pipes. You’ll likely need to get underneath the house with a powerful torch and have someone else in the house flush the loo or turn on a tap. Now you’ll need to be particularly attentive, with your powers of observation turned up to the max, while you try and determine exactly where the problem lies. Once you have located ‘ground zero’, you can secure the pipes to reduce movement and minimise noise. 

The main shut off valve may be damaged

The plumbing system in your home will generally have either a primary shut off valve or a water pressure regulator. If either of these are faulty or have sustained damage, this can lead to your water pipes squealing like an unhappy toddler. And you’ll likely hear it all throughout the house. If you can confidently determine that the shut off valve is faulty, you can replace it, but be sure to close off the water mains supply first.

You can also seek specialist assistance

If you don’t want to risk causing further damage to your water pipes, or you attempt a DIY job only to discover the unwanted noises are persisting, a call to an experienced, licensed plumber might just be your best course of action. They will have the expertise and know how to get your pipes fixed with minimal hassle so you can enjoy a peaceful home once again.

This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Mr Emergency.


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