Why do my pipes make banging, hammering, vibrating, or rattling noises when I turn on the water?

Noisy plumbing is a problem that we find mostly in older homes, with older pipes and plumbing. Newer construction obviously has a leg up on this; the new piping, drains, and appliances are designed to be noise- and problem-free, and they generally are, at least up until the 15-year mark or so. There are several possibilities for noisy plumbing, including:

  • Banging or hammering: If it sounds like your pipes or banging, or hammering, then the likely culprit is water pressure that is too high. Banging, or “water hammering,” is a common problem here in Arizona. A water pressure regulator is the recommended fix for this, and a majority of houses have them, as it keeps from wasting water. So – if you have a water pressure regulator, but you still have banging, it may not be set correctly, and the water pressure may still be too high for your system. You need to look at it and perhaps adjust it so it doesn’t go over 50 psi. If you don’t have a water pressure regulator, well – check out our Knowledge Center article on it HERE, because we can handle it for you.
  • Rattling: Rattling pipes are a different thing than banging or hammering pipes; the former is clearly from high water pressure, whereas a rattling pipe generally signals a pipe that isn’t secured very well somewhere, usually in your attic. You can affect a DIY fix yourself by getting a brace to hold it in place, wrapping it with insulation, or even stuffing a towel between the pipe and the wall, if the area is small and you’re really low-tech. If your pipe is rattling inside a wall, it’s the same issue, and – unless you feel like opening up your wall and then closing, plastering, and repainting it – it’s probably fine to leave it alone. If it’s really driving you crazy though, give us a call, because we can find it and make it stop.
  • Vibrating: If you’ve got a pipe that sort of hums because it “shivers” noticeably when the water is turned on – then it’s likely that there’s a small leak in a line somewhere that is drawing air into the pipe, so that air bubbles are bouncing around inside your pipe. Unfortunately, a small leak is also a leak that’s generally not easy to find, so there’s no real DIY solution. But you can give us a call and we’ll find it – and take care of it for you.
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