Noisy Plumbing Pipes? 2 Available Solutions
Water flow, drainage and other processes are usually relatively quiet functions of your plumbing system. On occasion, however, plumbing can get noisy, creating annoying and sometimes alarming sounds that, while usually not serious, can be irritating. One of the more common problems is a phenomenon called water hammer. This is a loud banging, clanging or hammering in your plumbing system when a faucet or valve is quickly and abruptly shut off. Quickly stopping the water flow in other appliances and fixtures, such as the dishwasher, the washing machine or a toilet can also cause water hammer. Water hammer happens because quickly stopping the water flow creates a shock wave that travels through the pipes. If water hammer becomes very severe, it can cause the entire house to shake and even damage the pipes. There are two main techniques for reducing plumbing-pipe noise and stopping the annoyances of water hammer:
- Install a water hammer arrester in the pipe network. This device is equipped with an air-filled chamber that absorbs the shock waves.
- Install a pressure tank similar to those used in rural homes for pulling water out of a well, cistern or lake. Use a 5- to 8-gallon diaphragm tank with an internal rubber membrane separating the air in the top half of the tank from the water in the bottom. The air behind the diaphragm absorbs the shockwaves that cause water hammer.