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4 Causes of Annoying Sounds Coming From Your Pipes


Last month, my husband and I stayed in an upscale hotel in downtown Denver. This hotel was rated a 4.5 in stars and had all the bells and whistles to prove it. It wasn’t until we had settled into the room that we realized there was an issue. Within the walls, you could hear a knocking howl every so often. At times the sounds were closer and other times further away. It would take using the bathroom plumbing to recognize what was causing these dreadful noises throughout the hotel.

Whether it is in an older home or a newer building, noises associated with plumbing problems can be an annoyance. Unfamiliar sounds coming from your pipes, faucets or other plumbing fixtures when the water is turned on could be an indication that there are problems or damages to your pipes or plumbing system. Some of the sounds coming from inside your pipes could be reactions from heat, elements, and atmosphere. The key to troubleshooting for potential plumbing problems with noisy pipes is identifying the type of sound the fixtures are making and exactly what area/pipe the sound is coming from. The four most commonly heard sounds that plumbing pipes and fixtures make are “squeaking” sounds, pipe “banging,” “water hammering,” and tickling in the pipes.

Squeaking Plumbing Pipes

A squeaking sound from water pipes is usually a cause for concern. Squeaking pipes will not cause major plumbing issues; rather, they pose a problem if the sound is disturbing the building occupants. Hot water pipes are the only plumbing pipes that will make a squeaking sound.

  • The squeaking sound is due to the heat of the water causing the pipe to expand as the water passes through it. 
  • When the pipe expands, the expansion of the pipe causes it to rub against the anchoring straps, creating the squeaking sound.

High-Pitched Noise from Water Pipes

High-pitched whistling from the plumbing is caused by excessive water pressure or flow speed. If your water pressure exceeds 60 psi, it's likely the pipes will give a high-pitched noise. The easy fix for high-pitched plumbing noises is lowering the water pressure to an appropriate level.  Residential water supply lines work best around 50 psi at the water-main.

If the water pressure in your home is suddenly higher than it used to be, your pressure reducing valve may be work out or broken.  Your shut-off valve's rubber washers may also be worn out. Higher pressure may also be the result of mineral buildup from hard water; the mineral blockages decrease the diameter of the lines, increasing the water pressure. 

Banging Water Pipes

If a banging sound becomes present in your pipes, this is likely due to loss or faulty anchoring.

  • In typical practice, water piping is anchored every 8 to 10 feet vertically and 6 to 8 feet horizontally.
  • If the pipes are not anchored properly, the water pressure when water is turned on will cause them to rattle and shake, creating a banging sound as they bang against the pipe anchors and other pipes.

Hammering Noise In Pipes

When the water is quickly turned off, a loud hammering sound may sometimes be heard.

  • This may occur for more than one reason, the main reason being that the flow of water coming to a sudden halt causes the pipes to shift abruptly and make a loud noise.
  • If the pipes are not anchored correctly or are lost it may escalate the hammering sound.
  • Another reason though less common for hammering pipes is when the water pressure of the building or home is greater than 80 pounds of pressure per square inch. When greater it is recommended for a PRV (pressure reducing valve).

Sound of Trickling Water

Another nuisance is water trickling. Water trickling occurs when a water source continually runs.

When To Call A Plumber

In summary, there are 4 main annoying sounds that can come from your plumbing water system. These can be tricky to diagnose and pinpoint from a home owner’s perspective which is why we recommend getting a trained and certified technician out to your home. Call American Rooter Plumbing today.

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