It’s pretty unsettling when you’re laying in bed at night and you hear strange noises in your plumbing. If you hear a banging/creaking noise in the pipes, it can be one of two possible issues. First, it could be something called water hammer. Whenever you abruptly shut off a fixture like a faucet, the water moving through the pipe is traveling with force. The pipes are what’s going to absorb the brunt of that force, resulting in the banging.
The second possibility would be thermal expansion. Even though it sounds like something is banging around, the pipe is actually moving and creaking inside the wall. Thermal expansion often happens whenever someone takes a warm shower during the evening. The pipe will expand due to the water temperature. Once the person goes to bed, the pipe will cool down and begin to contract. If the pipe is located up against something in the home, it’s going to make that distinct banging sound.
The sound your pipes are making isn’t just annoying. Eventually, the force exerted on the pipes could potentially lead to cracking or leaking. You should get the problem taken care of before it has a chance to become something way worse.
Reducing your water pressure can lessen the likelihood of water hammering. If you already have a reducing valve in your home, you should check to see if the water valve is malfunctioning or if the water pressure is abnormally high.
You should also ensure that a hammer arrester is installed in appliances like washing machines, dish washers, and ice makers. These items have automatic valves that open and close (called quick closing valves). Plumbing code says that hammer arresters should be installed on these types of appliances. Arresters allow water to go inside of a small air pocket and absorb any abrupt force.
If you have banging pipes and you want us to come check it out, the process is fairly quick and simple. We’ll diagnose the problem to see if there are any water pressure issues or if the water heater doesn’t have a thermal expansion tank. Contact us online or give us a call at (540) 483-9382.