Sounds in Plumbing: Common noises folks hear in their home’s plumbing system

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Water traveling through exposed plumbing has often led homeowners to the wrong conclusion

A home’s plumbing system makes many noises when it is in use. Banging, whooshing, knocking and rattling are the sounds in plumbing that many folks hear in their home’s plumbing system. Some sounds in plumbing are normal and some could indicate a pending problem. Differentiating between what is normal and what is abnormal can be difficult. The post below will outline some common noises heard in a home’s plumbing system and the reasons you might be hearing them.

Rattling Pipes
Plumbing pipes run through the walls and ceilings of most homes delivering fresh water when called upon or diverting wastewater away from the home. During installation, the pipes are secured to wall studs, ceiling joists and floor joists with strapping to support them. If the strapping becomes loose, the pipes can rattle about as water travels through them. While this does not present an immediate problem, if ignored for too long, the pipes can develop leaks or burst. A plumber will locate, tighten, replace or install additional straps to correct the problem.

Flowing Water
The sound of water flowing through a drain, P-trap or water supply line as often led folks to the wrong assumption. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear flowing water as it travels through the plumbing system. This is especially true with older homes when it was common to leave drain pipes exposed, such as the ceiling of a basement or garage.

Water Hammer
Water hammer, also referred to as hydraulic shock, is a loud bang or shattering sound within the walls. The sound is caused when water rushing through the pipes is suddenly stopped, or shut off and crashes against the valve. Plumbers usually remedy this problem by installing an additional pipe called an air chamber in close proximity to the applicable fixture or faucet—as so often is the case—that acts as a shock absorber. The rushing water’s blow is softened or absorbed by air inside the air chamber, thus eliminating the noise.

Temperature Change
If you ever hear a clicking or popping sound inside the walls when you turn on the hot water, this is a normal sound in plumbing systems. The noise is a result of pipe expansion as it is heated from the hot water. Most often, this circumstance is related to PVC or “Polyvinylchloride” pipes that are more susceptible to expansion from heat.

If you hear strange noises in your plumbing and are not sure if they are normal, or concerned about the energy efficiency of your hot water system, play it safe and contact your plumber immediately. For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

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