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Do Your Pipes Make a Hammering Noise?

Posted on 5 October 2020

While it's completely normal for the primary infrastructure of your home (HVAC and plumbing) to make some noises, there are certain noises that can indicate problems that require professional attention. With your pipes, that includes strange knocking or hammering noises.

Have you heard sudden knocking hammering sounds coming from your pipes that you have not heard before? Here are a few of the potential causes of this problem and the steps that can help you resolve it.

Water pressure issues

One of the most common reasons for banging noises coming from water pipes is excessive water pressure. Most recently built homes will have pressure regulators placed in a spot where the water supply comes into the house. If you don't have one, you might consider adding one in, as this can be a useful means of controlling your home's water pressure.

If the pressure gets too high, it could cause damage to water-based appliances, such as a dishwasher, washing machine or water heater. Professionals recommend you keep your pressure between 40 and 80 PSI, with 50 to 60 being the most frequent recommendation. If you look at your water pressure and see it's at the top end of this or over 80, try turning down the pressure regulator and see if that makes a difference.

Water hammer

Water hammer is the term for the sound of water hitting against the shutoff valve. This occurs when running water is suddenly shut off and left with nowhere to go, so it runs against that valve. Over an extended period of time, water hammer can damage some of the connections and joints in the pipes, so if you notice this issue when shutting off your water you should take steps to address the issue.

You should inspect any piping you can see if your home to see if you can find where the noise is coming from; you may need to secure some loose parts. You should also check the air chamber, a vertical pipe next to the faucet (often in the wall cavity) that keeps the plumbing connected to the sink, shower or tub. This chamber is supposed to act as a shock absorber to prevent water hammer, but over time it will need some servicing to maintain its effectiveness. You can turn off the water to your house, open the faucets, then turn the water back on and this will flush out the air in the pipes but not the air chamber.

Pipe material

Copper pipes are more likely to experience knocking and banging than PEX pipes. They occasionally will expand when hot water flows through them, and if the pipes are in a tight area, those expansions could rub against other parts of your home's structure, causing noises. You typically don't need to worry about this, but lowering the temperature setting on your water heater can resolve the issue.

For more information about strange pipe noises, contact us at Oakridge Plumbing: info@pipemasters.ca or (289) 404-9063.

PipeMasters is part of Oakridge Plumbing Ontario Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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