When it comes to home repair, banging or loud pipes are a constant problem, especially in older homes with loose plumbing in the walls. Before you hire a Virginia general contractor to come in and fix the plumbing issue during your next remodel, check out these tips and information on loud pipes – you might just be able to fix the problem on your own.
What Causes the Noise?
“Water hammer” as it’s frequently known is a common cause of pipes that bang. Where a home has high water pressure, shutting off the tap tends to cause pressure to back build rapidly which jolts the pipes. It’s a bit like laying on the brakes in your vehicle. When something shuts the water off rapidly after dumping a large amount of water, like a washer or dishwasher, you may experience a rather violent or louder bang.
It’s not necessarily harmful to the structure of the home when pipes bang, but this constant action can cause where on the pipe or copper fittings. Over time, with repeated banging, you may begin to experience leaks. It’s best to deal with the problem right away.
Water Hammer Arresters
Many homes, especially newer homes, come equipped with arresters that put an end to water hammer. These are essentially small air chambers that are attached above the water line. These air chambers absorb the excess pressure as water is shut off. Even older homes may have arresters that are spiral-shaped – an older model of the arrester.
If you don’t have an arrester, or yours isn’t doing its intended duty, then cushioning your pipes from banging is a simple fix. Plastic or nylon pipe inserts work well but they have to be installed when the plumbing is done. If you have to retrofit the pipes to prevent banging then you can try pipe hangers. These plastic hooks hold the pipes away from the framing. They typically have a rubber or felt cushion to absorb movement and prevent noise.
Checking Water Pressure
Along with the issue of pipe banging, whistling in the pipes is also common when a shutoff valve hasn’t been opened fully or if there is higher pressure than usual in a home. If you’re dealing with excessively high water pressure then you may want to install a pressure-reducing valve near your water meter that will get rid of the noise and also lower your water bill. This aspect isn’t necessarily a DIY job unless you’re extremely familiar with plumbing.
For a job like this, it may benefit you to contact a Virginia general contractor to discuss the water pressure in your home. High pressure may create water hammer in the first floor of your home but the pressure is necessary in order to deliver the right water levels to the upper floors of the home. In cases like this, it may be best to just wrap the pipes instead of tampering with the overall water pressure.