Water running through your pipes can potentially cause all sorts of strange noises. While the sound of water flowing in a pipe itself isn’t too serious, other plumbing sounds—bangs, creaks, whistling, and knocking—can be distressing to hear.
The following are the potential causes of those sounds and how you can make your home a quieter place:
- Banging – Commonly known as “water hammer,” the loud banging sound occurs when you shut off the water flow from a water faucet. The flow of water through the pipes produces energy, so when the water flow is abruptly stopped, this energy causes the loud banging sound. You can put a cushion of air in your plumbing system by shutting off the main water supply and opening all of the faucets in your home to drain the plumbing, then turning the water back on and work your way up through the house—turning off the faucets as water flows through them. The newly trapped air should act as an air cushion.
- Whistling – Whistling or squealing in pipes is caused by water being forced through a smaller opening than the original plumbing parts are designed for. This is the result of wear and tear, or water mineral build-up in faucets and shut-off valves. If the noise only happens when a particular faucet is turned on, either replacing the washer or repairing the valve seal should do the trick. On the other hand, if the whistling sound occurs when any faucet is running, the main water supply valve is most likely the culprit. If changing the water pressure at the main valve doesn’t eliminate the sound, then replace the water valve altogether.
- Cracking – Cracks, creaks, or taps are typically caused by the contraction and expansion of water pipes. As hot water courses through a pipe, it naturally heats it, causing the pipe to expand slightly. As soon as the water stop flowing, the pipe cools and the metal contracts, resulting in the cracking or creaking sound. The best way to fix this issue is to put some insulation around the pipe. If the pipe is running through a small hole in the wood framing, cut a notch in the framing so the pipe can expand naturally.