Recently, the pipes in our house bang when we turn on the water. It feels like hammering. What causes this? And to get rid of the noise, do we need to call a plumber or is there something we can do to fix it?
Your banging pipes – also known as hammering pipes – do not require a plumber to silence them. We’ll give you a DIY solution. But first, let’s cover the cause of the noise.
To work properly, water pipes need a little pocket of air in them, and there is a section of pipe known as the air chamber that serves this monitoring function. Over a long period of time, the water can absorb – or dissolve – that pocket of air. Recharging the air chamber restores the balance, and silences the hammering.
How to Drain Water Pipes to Silence the Banging
• Turn OFF the water supply for whole house at the main shut-off valve.
• Turn ON every sink, shower and tub faucet in the house in an attempt to drain all the water out of the pipes. This includes the outside hose bib faucets too. The water will slowly drain out from the lowest faucets which will likely be in your basement near a laundry washer-dryer area or into the bathtub in a slab house without a basement. Leave these faucets open to drain while the water is OFF in your house.
• Remove the hoses to your clothes washing machine if they are in the basement and open these faucets too if there are no other lower level faucets to open.
• Flush all your toilets at least twice to drain as much water out of them as possible. Minimize the water that is left inside the toilet bowl and the water tank.
• Now go through the house and turn OFF every faucet, reconnect the laundry hoses to the correct faucets, close the outside hose bib faucets too.
• Turn the water back ON to the house at the main water valve. This Is Important: turn it on only a quarter of the way and listen for the whistling to stop (roughly 60 seconds) before opening the valve up all the way. Lower water pressure will keep there from being pipe damage. Water will immediately begin flowing to refill the toilets. Check again that all faucets are turned OFF and that no water is spewing in unwanted places.
• The water flowing sounds should stop after about 60 seconds and be silent while the faucets are still turned OFF. If the water flow sound persists after 60 seconds, shut the water back OFF and look thoroughly through your house for visual signs of any water leaks.
• Now it’s time to “burp” the pipes! Turn on both the hot and cold faucets at each fixture, one area at a time, to release the air trapped in the pipes. These pipes will spit and sputter water so be ready to get a bit wet. Be thorough – make sure every faucet is burped, including a quick cycle through the clothes washer and the dishwasher, too.
This process re-charges the air chambers in your water supply piping in your house and returns you to the sounds of silence. If you would like help with this process, we’re always here to help. For noisy pipes or any other water problems – like finding and solving water leaks – call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact us here.
And for more answers to common home maintenance questions, visit our Home Improvement Library.