Few things are more frightening to homeowners than unexpected plumbing noises. These sound range from a slight, almost imperceptible humming to loud bangs and crashes. Following are four of the most common plumbing noises, what causes them, and what you should do when you hear them.
If you hear a rattling sound immediately after turning on the faucet, this may mean that your plumping pipes aren't connected properly. This condition is usually accompanied by uneven water flow. Tightening the pipe wraps usually does the trick. However, rattling can also be caused by superfluous air in the water pipes.Empty your water lines to remove any air that may be trapped. You can do this by shutting off the water at the main valve, turn on all faucets, water appliance, and flush toilets. The waste is flushed from the system when it stops coming out of the faucets. Turn the main valve back to the on position slowly.
The most probable cause of rumbling noises is that something is amiss with your water heater. Accumulations of sediment on the bottom of hot water heaters is what usually causes this particular noise. The trapped sediment causes conditions that create the water in your hot water heater to boil. Draining and cleaning the hot water heater will solve this problem, but be sure to leave it turned off for several hours prior to beginning the project -- boiling hot water is dangerous to work with.
If you hear a repetitive banging coming from your water pipes when you shut your faucet off, the culprit may be a condition called a water hammer. Water hammers happen when pressure bounced backwards into the pipes as a result of the stoppage of water flow. Flushing all water from the system as described above may eliminate the problem. If it doesn't call a plumber near you immediately. Left unchecked, water hammers can cause significant damage to pipes.
Intermittent banging sounds coming from your plumbing system is most likely the result of water pressure that is too high. Unlike the banging that occurs as a result of a water hammer, this happens when a faucet is turned on or an appliance such as a washing machine or dishwasher is in use. There should be a water pressure regulator located near your main water valve that you can adjust. If you don't have a regulator, have your local plumbing contractor install one -- water pressure that is too high wreaks havoc on pipes, appliances, and your utility bill. For more information, talk to a professional.