What's the noise in my plumbing?

Trying to figure out where a plumbing noise is coming from can sometimes be a challenge.

First, we need to determine what the sound is making.

Hissing

Hissing noise that occurs when a faucet is opened slightly generally signals excessive water pressure. Consult your local Greenwood Plumber if you suspect this problem; it will be able to tell you the water pressure in your area and can install a pressure reducing valve on the incoming water supply pipe if necessary.

Thudding

Thudding noise, often accompanied by shuddering pipes, when a faucet or appliance valve is turned off is a condition called water hammer. The noise and vibration are caused by the reverberating wave of pressure in the water, which suddenly has no place to go. Sometimes opening a valve that discharges water quickly into a section of piping containing a restriction, elbow, or tee fitting can produce the same condition.

Water hammer can usually be cured by installing fittings called air chambers or shock absorbers in the plumbing to which the problem valves or faucets are connected. These devices allow the shock wave created by the halted flow of water to dissipate in the air they contain, which (unlike water) is compressible.

Chattering or Screeching

Intense chattering or screeching that occurs when a valve or faucet is turned on, and that usually disappears when the fitting is opened fully signals loose or defective internal parts. The solution is to replace the valve or faucet with a new one.

Pumps and appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers can transfer motor noise to pipes if they are improperly connected.

Other Inlet Side Noises

Creaking, squeaking, scratching, snapping, and tapping usually are caused by the expansion or contraction of pipes, generally, copper ones supplying hot water. The sounds occur as the pipes slide against loose fasteners or strike nearby house framing. You can often pinpoint the location of the problem if the pipes are exposed; just follow the sound when the pipes are making noise. Most likely you will discover a loose pipe hanger or an area where pipes lie so close to floor joists or other framing pieces that they clatter against them. Attaching foam pipe insulation around the pipes at the point of contact should remedy the problem.

Drainpipe Noise

On the drain side of plumbing, the goal is to eliminate surfaces that can be struck by falling or rushing water and to insulate pipes to contain unavoidable sounds.

In new construction, bathtubs, shower stalls, toilets, and wall-mounted sinks and basins should be set on or against resilient underlayments to reduce the transmission of sound through them. Water-saving toilets and faucets are less noisy than conventional models; install them instead of older types even if codes in your area still permit using older fixtures.

Drainpipes that do not run vertically to the basement or that branch into horizontal pipe runs supported at floor joists or other framing present particularly troublesome noise problems. Such pipes are large enough to radiate considerable vibration; they also carry significant amounts of water, which makes the situation worse.

Call your Greenwood, SC Plumber, Plumbing Paramedic 911 at 864-446-8911 today for any plumbing emergency you have.