Banging or vibrating water pipes
Does your home suffer from banging or vibrating pipes? Close a tap in the kitchen or bathroom and you hear a banging noise in the wall?
ABOVE: Water hammer arresters.
Where banging noises seem to be in the walls or ceiling, this is commonly referred to as Water Hammer and is caused by a lack of air in the pipes and occurs whenever taps with valves are closed quickly. Water pressure in the pipes is not cushioned by air and this causes the banging noise.
The problem of banging pipes is more common in homes that have modern lever- or valve-operated taps. Loose pipes may also be responsible for the noise, because the vibrations made in the pipe by the sudden stoppage may cause pipes to knock against structural elements. (see above) If not rectified, water pressure can actually cause premature damage to valves in appliances and fixtures, and that’s why it’s important to address the problem if you think you may have a case of water hammer in your pipes.
There are three solutions to the problem of water hammer:
1. Ensure that everyone in the home is away that taps needs to be closed slowly.
2. Have a water-hammer arrester fitted by a qualified plumber.
3. Introduce air into the pipes, either by closing the main water valve in the house and opening the lowest faucet in the house (usually an outdoor tap). The key is to let the water drain out until water finally stops coming from the tap. The next step is to close the tap and reopen the main valve. As the pipes refill, air pockets can form at points in the system, thus creating that much-needed air cushion from the water pressure.
Pipe straps can loosen over time, allowing pipes to creak and groan as water temperature changes, but you can stop this annoying chatter from the plumbing with a few screws.
Usually the hot water pipes do most of the “talking” because they expand and contract as the water temperature changes inside them. That movement eventually loosens the nails at some pipe straps. The pipes then rub against the floor joists, making that annoying creaking sound. The best way to solve the problem permanently is to add more pipe straps (they’re cheap, so add one per joist) and replace all the existing nails with screws.