The sound of a rattling pipe can range from an ominous thump to a high-pitched vibration, and there are a number of possible causes behind the noise. Repairs for these issues are typically not very difficult or expensive, but they may involve following pipes behind and through walls. If you are hesitant to work with plumbing, call in your local plumber to help you pinpoint the problem from one of these possible causes.
Finding the Noisy Pipes
Before you start examining your pipes, be sure to turn your water off to avoid any messy mistakes. Follow the rattling sound until you have a general idea of its location and accessibility. If you are lucky, the problematic pipes will be right out in the open and easy to reach. If not, however, you may need to open up the wall and wedge through some tight spaces to find them.
Securing Loose Pipes
In many cases, banging pipes have simply broken free of the straps or clamps holding them in place. This is especially common in older homes as various components begin to deteriorate. Watch the pipes as they make the rattling sound, enlisting the help of another person to trigger the noise as needed. If the pipes are repeatedly hitting a wall or other object, securing them with pipe clamps should keep them quiet.
Adjusting Your Water Pressure
Pipes that vibrate or only rattle when you first run water through them may be a symptom of high water pressure. Most home plumbing systems are not designed to accommodate more than 60 psi long-term, and anything higher than that may lead to significant damage to your pipes. When water with too much pressure behind it runs through a pipe, the excess energy pushes against the pipes as well as forward, bursting fittings and sending them rattling back and forth.
Draining the Air Chambers
As water is pushed through pipes, its momentum is occasionally halted by closing valves, forcing it to slam to a stand-still and shifting the pipe as a result. This is known as a water hammer. Your plumbing system is engineered to soften the impact of the water by diverting it into air chambers, which are separate, empty pipes meant to hold excess water. Over time, though, these chambers can fill with water and become useless. Purging your water lines by shutting off the water and draining the system can restore air to the air chambers and improve their efficacy.
Installing a Water Hammer Arrestor
If purging the system doesn't solve the problem, installing a water hammer arrestor can help minimize the shock of water hammer impacts. This typically requires splitting and resealing pipes, so rely on the expertise of a plumber if you do not have significant plumbing experience for this. Water hammer arrestors function much like air chambers, providing a small space for water to flow into instead of smacking into a valve. This muffles the impact and reduces the noisiness of your plumbing system, hopefully leaving you with a quiet and peaceful home no matter how many fixtures are running. Contact a company like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating for more information.