When you hear shake, rattle, and roll, you hope it is in terms of music and not having to do with the pipes in your home. Homeowners often hear strange noises coming from their pipes. Generally, when the toilet is flushed or the water is run in the sink, they hear a lot of noise from behind the wall or in the basement. The cause is rattling pipes. But what is the reason behind those rattling pipes?

Finding & Understanding The Cause

The first step in solving the issue is to identify the root of the problem. The way your rattling pipes sound can give you the clues you need to fix them. A whistle, a crack, and a banging noise all indicate different problems that need to be addressed.

  1. Loose Pipes. Pipes often wriggle free from the hardware that holds them in place. Over time the pieces simply wear out and the pipes find enough room to giggle around. The simple fix is to find where the pipes broke free and secure them again. Attaching them to the wood frame is a good way to keep them from moving around as water passes through them.
  2. High Water Pressure. Pipes that vibrate can cause a lot of damage over time. The culprit is usually high water pressure. Too much water passing through the pipes too quickly can put too much stress on the pipes. Adjusting the water pressure can alleviate the noise.
  3. Fast-Closing Valves. This is what could be causing the water hammer issue you are experiencing. Vales that close too quickly create a loud banging sound when the pressure in the pipe is reversed through the water. Flushing the pipes to get the water out of the air chambers can usually fix the problem. This requires shutting off the main water valve to empty the pipes.
  4. Squeaking. When the cushioning around the pipes wears down, they start rubbing against things that make noise. By replacing the cushioning between the pipes and the hardware, you can keep it is place without any friction.
  5. Cracking. Pipes contract and expand under changing temperatures and it causes a cracking sound. The quick fix is to insulate the pipes so they aren’t affected by the hot or cold water passing through them.
  6. Whistling. A whistling noise, like the sound of howling wind, is a sign that the pipe is blocked off at some point. The key to solving this problem is to locate the faucet with the problem. More than likely it is just a washer that needs to be replaced. A deeper issue could mean having to replace the valve.

Fixing the Noise

Once you problem solve and identify the cause of the noise, you need to decide if the problem is minor enough for you to handle on your own or if you should call in a professional. One thing you can do is attach a water pressure gauge to the pipes. If the pressure goes over 80 psi, it’s time to call a plumber for assistance.

Let’s be honest: Nobody thinks about their plumbing and heating until there’s a problem.

What most people don’t realize is that most of those problems can be anticipated and often avoided with regular maintenance – usually at a far lower cost than a repair or replacement.

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