Many homeowners have experienced the annoying rattling or clunking sound that emanates from noisy pipes in the home when turning a faucet on or off, but have been unable to identify the cause or the location of those noises. This is a very common problem especially in older homes, but there are several things that can be done to figure out what the problem is and correct it. Some of the possible causes of these loud and embarrassing noises are discussed below, along with some recommendations on how each scenario might be resolved.
High Water Pressure
High water pressure can cause vibrations that in turn make noisy pipes, and may also cause damage to the pipes if left unattended for a long period of time. An acceptable water pressure reading for your home will vary from location to location, but in general it should be somewhere between 40 and 60 psi (pounds per square inch). If your water pressure is higher than that, you may want to take corrective action. In this case, a licensed plumber would be able to test your pressure rating and may recommend installing a pressure-reducing valve.
Rattling and clunking noises can be caused by loose pipes in the home, and even though not all of them are exposed, many of them can be eyeballed for vibration while someone turns on a faucet. It may take some time to go around the house and visually check each exposed pipe while your partner cooperates with the faucet, but it will also help you isolate the problem. If it turns out that this is the cause of the noisy pipes, the remedy is to just secure the loose pipes to the nearest wooden beam using pipe clips that can be purchased at the local hardware store.
Water Hammer is a phenomenon caused by fast-closing valves around the home, for instance faucets and toilet fill valves. When water is flowing through pipes in the home and one of these valves shuts off suddenly, it causes a corresponding sudden stop of the rushing water, creating that hammer effect and causing noisy pipes to be heard. Water hammer is not only difficult to diagnose for the do-it-yourselfer, it is also difficult to repair unless you try replacing some of those fast-closing valves with slow-shutting fill valves. This is a problem that will most likely have to be handled by a skilled professional, because it may involve something as serious as installing a water hammer arrestor, which in turn would mean cutting and soldering some pipes.
After you have lived in your home a while and noticed that the water hammer noise has gradually grown worse each year, it could be attributed to air chambers in the piping of the home. Air chambers are meant to provide a cushion against the effects of water hammer by slowing that rush down, but over time the air chambers become saturated with water. When this happens, the best thing to do is drain the water out of the air chambers to allow them to re-fill with air, and fortunately this is one thing that every homeowner can easily do. After shutting off the main water valve, it is only necessary to start at the highest point in the house and turn on each faucet, flush each toilet, and allow all the water to drain out of each. When it finally runs out, the water can be turned back on, and the air chambers will re-fill.