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Silence Noisy Pipes: 5 Common Causes and Simple Solutions

03 April 2018

Noisy pipes are never fun and can be quite alarming if it starts happening suddenly. Here’s some commons causes and solutions to help.

Noisy pipes are a common occurrence, especially in older homes. While strange noises coming from your pipes can be irksome, they can also be worrying. Nobody wants to experience plumbing problems, the prospect of which conjures up thoughts of all sorts of nightmare scenarios, from emergency leaks to expensive replacements.

Fortunately, noisy pipes are not often cause for concern if dealt with properly. The issue usually lies with simple issues that you can either handle yourself, or that can be dealt with through a routine call-out. Take the advice of an expert Plumber in London and follow the Homecure Plumbers guide to silencing those irritating noisy pipes.

1. Loose Fittings Causing Noisy Pipes

Sometimes, the most obvious answer is the right answer. Pipework allows for the movement of water around your home, which means something is being carried through them, resulting in pressure and friction.

If you hear clunking, rattling or vibrating from your pipes, it could simply be that your pipes aren’t fitted correctly. It could be the case that they never were fitted properly, or they’ve come loose over time. Either way, they need to be fixed.

If you can access the pipework, because its exposed or you can take simple steps to reach it, then attempt to re-establish appropriate fitting by tightening bolts or replacing worn-out fixtures. In some circumstances, you will be unable to reach the pipework, or new fixtures will not solve the issue as the piping has to be re-routed. In these particular scenarios, we recommend professional help.

2. Copper Pipes

It is common practice for pipework in the home to be made from copper. It’s a durable, malleable metal that has replaced the use of lead and steel in the modern era. However, copper is known to expand and contract with temperature.

If you are are experiencing noisy pipes, but it only occurs after you use hot water, the culprit is likely expanding copper pipework. This occurs when the pipe rubs against joints, brackets and support structures, or other hidden elements of your home, as it expands with heat. This is not a problem to be concerned with at all, as the metal is designed to handle such stress. However, if it is becoming an annoying issue, there are some methods of noise management:

  • Any accessible pipework can be insulated with foam rubber to avoid friction against other surfaces
  • You can lower your hot water temperature to reduce the expansion of the metal
  • In extreme circumstances you can have a professional reach inaccessible areas, such as behind a drywall, to install insulation and cancel out the noise

Blue pipes on a concrete wall

3. Water Hammer

Thuds and bangs within your pipework are perhaps the most alarming type of noise you can hear. They also have the potential to result in damage. The cause is often what is known as a water hammer.

A water hammer occurs when protection systems start to fail. Air chambers are installed near taps to stop rushing water slamming into valves when taps are turned off. Over time, however, water starts to replace the air, reducing the stopping power of the air chambers and allowing the liquid to crash into the valves; making that thudding noise. To fix the issue, you need to replenish the air supplies of the chambers. Doing so will silence those noisy pipes.

How do you fix a water hammer?

  1. Turn off your mains water supply
  2. Turn on the taps on the top story of your home
  3. Turn on the taps on the bottom story of your home
  4. Allow all water to drain from your system
  5. Once water has drained (no more water comes out of your taps) turn the water supply back on
  6. Allow the water to flush out any air in the pipes by ensuring all taps remain on until water comes out of them
  7. Turn off the taps

Your air chambers will now be replenished with the air required to absorb shocks and eliminating the thudding sound. If this does not work, we advise you request further help from a professional plumber.

4. Water Pressure Causing Noisy Pipes

High water pressure is another cause of noisy pipes that can actually have serious consequences if not handled properly. However, it also has a very simple solution. Noise will occur if water pressure is too high, simply because it is being forced through pipework too quickly and is crashing around.

Water pressure should be between 1 to 1.5 bar. Any higher and your pipes and appliances will be overworked and can become damaged. Most boilers have a pressure metre and regulator installed. Simply look at your boiler and find out what the pressure is. If it is too high, adjust the regulator (you may need to consult your boiler manual).

If you don’t have a meter and regulator, you’ll need to call in a plumber to check this for you. If you don’t have a meter and regulator, you’ll need to call in a plumber to check this for you. Our team at Homecure offers a range of services across all boiler brands, including boiler repairs for Vaillant, Worcester, Baxi and Glow Worm. Modern homes should all have a boiler that meets this standard, however. If you lack such an appliance, we highly suggest you consider our boiler installation in London.

5. Blockages and Sludge Build Up

Over time, wear and tear occurs in pipework, especially in hard water areas. Central heating systems also create sludge that can circulate through your pipes. In both these cases, solid particulates will start circulating your system, causing noisy pipes. The sounds you’ll hear will likely be a clinking or rattling; imagine grit hitting the side of metal.

This is the only problem on this list that we suggest you as a homeowner do nothing about. Instead, call out a plumber to solve this issue for you. It is highly recommended you do not attempt to drain pipes yourself. Check out our service on boiler repairs in London in more detail.

Need assistance with noisy pipes in your home? Contact the Homecure Plumbers team now to call out a plumber in North London or the Greater London area.

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