Why are my pipes noisy

Possible causes of noisy pipes

A lot happens when you turn on and turn off your tap. If you’re hearing an irritable noise coming from the sink, toilet, or within your walls, you might be thinking whether or not your house might be haunted. But before you call a paranormal inspector, you might want to check if your pipes might be the real culprit.

There are many different reasons behind noisy pipes, but there are 5 of the most common sounds you may have heard: banging, whistling, humming, shaking, and gurgling. If your pipes are noisy, they’re probably trying to tell you something. Troubleshooting can be difficult, so it is highly recommended you call our licensed plumbers at Plumber Toronto Pro to inspect more serious situations. Here are some tips to help you understand where these may be coming from.

Banging or hammering pipes
Reason: Water hammer or trapped air bubbles

A banging or hammering sound usually has something to do with your pipe’s high water pressure or flow. Firstly, you need to ask yourself two questions: do you hear the noise when the tap is off, or do you hear it even while the water is still flowing? If you hear banging after the tap is shut, this is because of a term called water hammer. In plumbing, this occurs when the faucet or valve is closed off abruptly. Water can’t compress; when a tap is shut suddenly, the water is forced to stop while it still has a lot of energy. All that build-up momentum from its rapid flow will cause a loud bang as it hits the closed valve.
One solution for this is to have a plumber install an anti-hammering device or hammer arrestor onto the necessary pipe to act as a shock absorber. These provide extra space for the water source and redirect the ‘hammer’ of the water within the supply line.

Another reason could be from trapped oxygen or problems with your air chamber. Your air chamber is a vertical pipe that should be near your faucet which helps absorb the extra shock from the rapid water flow. Air can build up in pipes due to waterline issues. Over time, they can also start to fill up with water making them less effective in lessening the water’s impact.
Another solution to this banging noise is to replenish your air chamber by shutting off your house’s water supply and draining out your system. To do this, you close the primary shut-off valve, turn on all your sink taps to drain the house’s plumbing system, and turn them back on again. This will flush out the air pipes and push them back into the necessary risers that help prevent water hammers.

Whistling or Squealing
Reason: Mineral build-up, loose pipes, or worn out fixtures

If you hear a noise while the water is still running, that could be worn out hardware, mineral clog, or loose pipes causing a squealing or whistling noise. Your home’s plumbing relies on every component, including the tiny parts, to maintain a fully functioning water system. But bolts or washers can loosen and rust after. This is most common in lines near washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.
Check for worn down parts in the hose when the valve is shut; and if they are cracked or damaged, have them replaced by a professional. If that isn’t the case, shut down your house’s water supply and call to have your aerator in your faucet repaired or cartridge replaced. It’s likely that one of your taps has a worn-out washer or valve seat forcing the water down a more narrow passage than usual.

A narrow pipe is usually attributed to whistle-like sounds and can be the result of mineral build-up from ‘hard’ water containing calcium. Over time, calcium will clog the pipe and decrease the diameter of the waterline. What if you’re experiencing a squealing sound after you flush the toilet? The hissing noise could either be coming from the filler valve in the toilet tank or from the valve on the supply line.
For both these scenarios, your plumbing system needs to be open and inspected. Pipes with heavy built-up minerals will have to be replaced, but those with minimal blockage may just have to be cleaned. A worn-out ballcock assembly (the tank on top of the toilet bowl) should be repaired or simply replaced to stop the sound. Check to see if there is an issue with the vertical overflow tube – a quick fix is to bend the arm down for the ballcock to turn off sooner. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to replace the shutoff valve or the toilet filler valve.

Reason: High heat and water pressure

Every valve has a different rate of flow, but if the pressure is too high on a particular valve, it will vibrate and cause a humming sound – especially when the water is flowing. Depending on the location of your house, those which are supplied by well water are more likely to be affected by vibrating pipes.
Our solution would be for you to do a quick check of your water tank to make sure it’s set no more than 55 pound-force per square inch (PSI). If you can’t or don’t have access to the water pressure meter of your tank, call a plumber to come check it for you.

Shaking or Rattling
Reason: Loose piping

For most pipes in the walls, ceilings, or under the floor, they will need to be secured with fasteners to keep them in place. But if a fastener comes loose or falls off, the pipes will begin to sway when water passes, causing them to hit the wall or other objects and make rattling noises. Copper pipes expand when hot water passes, and as they reduce back to size, they can scrape and rub noisily against hidden joints and supports.
If you hear shaking through the walls, it’s most likely because of these loose pipes which could cause further damage if not tended to immediately. It is possible to lower your water heater temperature on your tank. Crawling into those tight spaces to inspect the areas where the rattling comes from yourself is doable, but not usually recommended. Since they’re hidden, it’s best to contact one of our trusted plumbers in order to stabilize your pipes and resolve the issue as fast and effectively as possible.

Gurgling or glugging
Reason: Sewage system issues

If you hear a “glug-glug’ sound, almost as if a giant was chugging a large can of pop behind your walls, there could be a problem with your pipe’s draining system. The noise would be a result of an obstruction, like a piece of plastic or object accidentally washed down, blocking the pipe’s passage. Even soap scum or build up debris could be the cause of the gurgling sound. An easy fix would be to have a plumber clean out the pipes through drain cleaning to help stop that monstrous glugging from continuing.

Other causes:

Some other noises such as squeaks or rubbing could be due to an installation problem with your copper pipes. Dripping or ticking noises could also be of concern and can be from a pipe leak or drain issue. A minor issue can be solved at home such as thermal expansions or pressure problems, which are not major concerns. To check yourself, you’ll need to locate your air chamber, as mentioned, and reset it. This time, place very hot water in your bathroom sink until it’s full and flush the toilet. This will replace the supply with cold water. Drain the hot water, and if you hear any sounds, it’s thermal expansion. If you are still unsure about the source of the noise, another question you need to ask is could this possibly not be a plumbing problem. Though these are the most common types of noises and their causes, it’s best to contact a trusted and recognized plumbing company to pinpoint the issue directly.

Solution: call Plumber Toronto Pro

With our licensed professionals and over 13 years in the industry, you can rely on us to adjust your system and get rid of the noise, hassle-free. We provide a number of services including drain cleaning and replacement, old pipe repair, sump pump installation. Inspections and check-ins for both residential and commercial properties. Buildings, homes, and businesses in Toronto and the GTA rely on their well-maintained plumbing systems to keep them running smoothly. It’s our mission to provide unique services for your plumbing needs, and that’s why we are based in Toronto. We make sure that our job and your satisfaction are at a 100% level of quality. If these noises are bothering you late at night or the early hours of the morning, we also provide emergency plumbing services for any crisis 24 hours, 7 days a week. Don’t tolerate the noise, call us today for a custom solution at a price you won’t receive anywhere else.

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