Why do my pipes make noise when I turn on my water?

Written by michelle renee
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Why do my pipes make noise when I turn on my water?
There are many possible causes for noisy water pipes. (Exterior Plumbing 2 20080713-1210418 image by SIGNSofMIND from Fotolia.com)

Whether you own an older home or a newer building, noises associated with plumbing problems can sometimes be an annoyance. Unfamiliar sounds coming from your pipes, faucets or other plumbing fixtures when the water is turned on can sometimes be an indication that there are problems or damages to your pipes or plumbing system.

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Identification

Some sounds that are heard from inside your pipes are little more than natural reactions to heat, elements and atmosphere and need be of little concern. Others indicate more serious problems. The key to troubleshooting for potential plumbing problems with noisy pipes is identifying the type of sound the fixtures are making and exactly what area or particular pipe the sound is coming from. There are four most commonly heard sounds that plumbing pipes and fixtures make.

Why do my pipes make noise when I turn on my water?
The first step in troubleshooting is categorising the noise of the pipe. (listening image by Peter Baxter from Fotolia.com)

Squeaking Sounds in Your Pipes

A squeaking sound coming from your pipes is usually of little concern unless the sound is disturbing the building occupants. Only a hot water pipe is capable of making a squeaking sound, and this is due to the heat of the water causing the pipe to expand as the water passes through it. The expansion of the pipe causes it to rub against the anchoring straps, creating the squeaking sound. The friction is not damaging to the pipes, and repair is only necessary if the sound is an annoyance.

Why do my pipes make noise when I turn on my water?
Squeaking in a hot water pipe seldom causes damage. (pipes and valves image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

Banging in Plumbing

If you are hearing a banging sound in your pipes, this is likely due to loose or faulty anchoring. Generally water pipes are anchored every 6 to 8 feet horizontally and 8 to 10 feet vertically. If the pipes are improperly anchored, when the water is turned on the water pressure will cause them to rattle and shake, creating a banging sound as they bang against each other and the pipe anchors.

Why do my pipes make noise when I turn on my water?
Banging sounds when water is turned on may indicate loose anchoring. (faucet image by Laura Dynan from Fotolia.com)

Hammering Water Pipes

A loud hammering sound is sometimes heard when the water is abruptly turned off. This may occur for one of a few reasons, the main one being that the flow of water coming to a sudden halt causes the pipes to abruptly shift and make a loud noise. Loose pipes may escalate the hammering sound. Another less common cause for hammering pipes is when the water pressure of the building or home is greater than 36.3 Kilogram of pressure per square inch.

Why do my pipes make noise when I turn on my water?
Escalated water pressure may cause hammering pipes. (plumbing image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from Fotolia.com)

Ticking in the Pipes

A faulty water meter can cause a ticking sound that is carried from the meter itself up through your pipes. This problem in no way affects or damages your pipes or plumbing system. Because water meters are, in effect, property of the city or state water departments, there is no home remedy to rectify the problem. For a ticking water meter, you must contact your utility provider for repair and maintenance.

Why do my pipes make noise when I turn on my water?
Only local water departments can repair a loudly ticking water meter. (old water meter image by Konstantin Sutyagin from Fotolia.com)

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