When the plumbing in your home is operating at peak efficiency, it should be so quiet that you don't even realize it's there. If your pipes do start making their presence known, usually in the form of loud banging or other noises that seem to happen whenever you flush the toilet or run your washing machine, you could be looking at a small-yet-irritating sign of a much larger problem.
The most common cause of loud noises from your pipes is often referred to as "water hammer." This is when your pipes literally bang against the inside of the walls in your home, causing the noises you've been hearing. This is also why you usually hear the noise once a water supply has been shut off, like if you just flushed your toilet and the tank filled back up or if your washing machine has just finished filling to capacity.
When a water valve is suddenly shut off, the water that was previously flowing through the pipes suddenly crashes into the closed valve. This leads to movement or other shaking in the pipes, creating a knocking noise. If left unchecked, this can actually shake pipes loose from their joints entirely or cause leaks over time.
Putting a Stop to Water Hammer
How you will go about fixing the problem will vary depending on how old your home is. Homes that were built before the 1960s have pipes with built-in air chambers that are actually designed to stop water hammer. The problem is that over time, these chambers become filled with water. This essentially renders them useless. Turn off the water in your home, open the highest and lowest faucets and let all the water drain out. Then, turn off the lowest faucet and turn the water main back on. Let the highest faucet run until your water pressure returns to normal, which will likely take care of your problem.
Because water hammer is caused by water pressure, simply lowering that pressure may also solve your problem. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself (or don't have access to a water pressure test gauge), you should call in a local professional who can take care of the issue as efficiently as possible.
Stahl Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is proud to be Pittsburgh's most trusted and respected plumbing company operating anywhere in the area today. Whether you're dealing with loud noises from your pipes that you can't seem to fix on your own or have much larger issues like pipe repair that require that expert touch, we have what it takes to make sure the issue is fixed properly the first time. Contact us today for more information.