Why Do Plumbing Pipes Vibrate?

By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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Blog Highlights

  • In some cases the rattling may simply be the result of a loose pipe
  • If your water pressure is too high, you may start to hear some rattling
  • It’s important to inspect your pipes and regularly maintain them

If you live in Salt Lake City or Park City and you start to hear a vibrating sound in your home or office, don’t worry. It’s likely your water pipes rattling behind the walls. There are several reasons why this may be happening, and fortunately, it’s usually easy to fix.

Loose Pipe

In some cases, the rattling may simply be the result of a loose pipe. In order to determine if loose pipes are your problem, find an access panel or an area where the pipes are exposed. Inspect them while someone else turns the water on or flushes the toilet. If the pipes rattle or move, this is likely the problem causing the sounds in your walls. The best solution is to secure the pipes to the wood framing or some other sturdy structure with pipe clips.

Water Hammer

A water hammer is an effect caused by water flowing through the pipes and the valves closing too quickly. This sudden shutting-down of the flow of water causes the pipes to rattle. If this is the problem, you will probably need to install a water hammer arrestor to the affected pipes. In most cases, you will need a professional plumber to install the arrestor and solder the pipes. If possible, the plumber should work on the pipes where they are already exposed to avoid cutting through walls and ceilings. You may also be able to simply replace the toilet fill valves with more efficient and slower valves.

Air Chambers

If you live in an older home and the water hammer effect seems to be getting worse, you may need to empty your air chambers. The air chambers help to soften the water hammer effect and are connected to your pipes. If the chambers fill with water, which happens over time, you need to drain them. To drain the air chambers of excess water, turn your water main off, open the faucets and flush all the toilets in your home. Once the water runs clean and clear, you know you’ve effectively cleared the chambers.

Water Pressure Issues

If your water pressure is too high, you may start to hear some rattling. The water pressure should typically be between 40 and 60 pounds per square inch (PSI). If the pressure exceeds the recommend range, your pipes may vibrate. Too much vibration and rattling can lead to long-term damage to your pipes. In order to determine if this is the problem, use a water pressure test gauge or contact your local, qualified plumber. If high water pressure is the issue, installing a pressure-reducing valve will easily correct the problem.

It’s important to inspect your pipes and regularly maintain them. If you start to notice a rattling or vibrating noise coming from them, call a plumber immediately. Vibrating and rattling pipes are usually easy to fix, but if you don’t address the problem promptly, it can lead to bigger issues and more expensive repairs.

Rattling pipes? Don’t wait. We will identify and solve the problem for you. Call us today!

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