There are several reasons for vibrating plumbing pipes.
Is There Air in My Plumbing Water Pipes?
Air in the pipes, is the
most common answer you will hear when ask about vibrating pipes. This is not always the case, there other
factors that can lead to pipe banging and vibrating. There is gas in water, which is a fact;
H20 is comprised of the gas hydrogen and oxygen. Both of these are gases mixed together to
create a liquid. When water separates by heat, in your water heater for instance, some gas bubbles will float
to the top of the pipes in the plumbing system. In rare cases, the gas bubbles will make their way into the
plumbing system. You may even hear them as they move up the pipes through the water. Most of these noises
will sound like crackling, or creaking.
Is My Water Pressure is too High?
High water pressure will sometimes create a “Water Hammer”. Water hammer occurs when a faucet, toilet or washing machine closes its valve
suddenly. Quick closing valves are more common today than ever. Almost all toilets use some form of quick
closing, or positive pressure shut off valve. Clothes washing machines and dishwashers have electronic inlet
valves the close almost instantaneously.
When the water pressure is above that recommended by the
appliance manufacture, and the valve closes, the flowing water stops in an instant. Flowing water carries a
lot of weight, picture a firefighter’s water hose, have you ever seen in the movies where they knock people
over with the water pressure. Now, imagine stopping the water flow suddenly, where will all the pressure and
water go. It will go straight back where it came from. If it cannot go backwards to its source fast enough,
the pressure will follow the path of least resistance. That path is every plumbing pipe and fixture in your
plumbing system. When the water pressure now traveling at over 100 miles per hour stops, it hits each faucet,
toilet and machine with such force, it is just like hitting the appliance with a hammer. There are
specifications with each appliance you purchase as to the operational limits, like water pressure. Some
states, cities and municipalities have laws governing the water pressure supplied to each home. To control
the water pressure you can install a pressure-regulating valve that will comply with all your appliance
manufacturer’s installation instructions, and your municipal code enforcement.
Is my faucet broken, it makes a vibrating, squealing, whistling
noise when I turn it on?
Your faucet is not necessarily broken; however, there is a worn
or torn rubber washer or gasket.
Even washer less faucets will still have some form of rubber gasket to seal off water from leaking. Over
time, these rubber washers and gaskets wear from regular use. The harsh chemicals in some water speed up the
natural decomposition of the chemicals in the rubber as well. The resulting wear can loosen the washer, or a
piece of it, when the water rushes buy the lose washer it causes a small vortex or swirl that spins around
the washer. The swirling movement lifts and seats the washer rapidly and violently. This rapid movement makes
the noises that you hear reverberating through your plumbing. Simply replacing the rubber washer located on
the end of the faucet’s stem will fix the problem. If your faucet has a ceramic cartridge disc, you will need
to replace the whole cartridge unit.
I repaired my faucet, but I still hear banging in my
Your entire plumbing system works together as one unit. If one
piece breaks, it can affect the others. If you have changed the washers, stems and cartridges of you faucet,
and still get a vibrating or humming noise when you turn it on; you will need to look further down the line,
so to speak.
Many sink faucets are equipped with small shut-off valves called
stops, or angle stop valves. These tiny valves are located under
the sink or faucet and usually connect to the main plumbing system pipes protruding from the floor or wall.
There should be two under each sink, one for hot water and one for cold-water. There are two kinds of stop valve, multi-turn and quarter turn. Multi-turn stops are notorious
for causing vibration and humming in plumbing systems. The reason, there rubber washers are not fastened their
valve stems. The washer is just pined to the stem with a small plastic nodule. Without any support, the washer
easily loosens from the stem and begins to flap in the water current; causing a vibration.
What else could cause noises in my plumbing
All your appliances and
plumbing fixtures that have water shut off valves inside them can cause banging, vibrating, screaming and
whistling. Clothes washers, dishwashers, coffee pots, outside spigots, yard hydrants. Water pumps of all types
have rubber gaskets that can wear, well pumps, whirlpool pumps, Jacuzzi pumps, pond pumps and even pool pumps.
Not all of these pumps are connected to your house plumbing system of course.
Beyond water itself causing
problems, if your plumbing pipes are lose, they bang against walls and floors with the slightest water hammer.
Restraining your water pipes with the correct mounting brackets; installed at the proper distance between each
one will defiantly help correct minor banging noises.