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Why Do I Have Noisy Pipes?

Sep 05, 2017


Kitchen sink in a home bathroom that is turned off. There are bathroom supplies are resting next to the sink.

If you live in Northern Virginia, you know that owning a home is a big investment. Take Warrenton, Virginia, for example — the median home value in Warrenton, according to City-Data.com, is over $333,500. That’s up nearly $192,000 since 2000. It’s also over $75,000 more than the median home value in the entire state of Virginia.
When you pay that much for a house, you want everything to be just right. You want the heater to run properly when it’s cold, the air conditioning to click on when it’s hot and the power to run, day and night, without interruption. You demand perfection. You’re paying for it.
That’s why it’s so frustrating when you twist a faucet and the running water is punctuated by strange whistles, shakes or clanks. What the heck is going on behind those walls? 
If your pipes sound like they are vibrating, ringing or making other odd noises, there’s probably an issue with your plumbing. How big of an issue? Before you call a plumber, let’s take a look.

Why do your pipes make noise?

Before we dig into the potential plumbing problems, let’s consider what’s causing these noises in the first place. Noisy plumbing — or that “sputtering” water that comes out of the faucet — is usually a result of air trapped in your pipes. Air-trapped pipes are actually a very common issue, especially in older homes. 
About 37 percent of the homes in Fauquier County were built after 1990; the other 62 percent are over 27 years old, with over 41 percent built before 1980. Noisy, clanking pipes are pretty common to most people familiar with Fauquier plumbing.
Trapped air collects in pockets that get highly compressed under water pressure. This compression can occur anywhere, even a long way down the pipes that’s far from the faucet. When it reaches faucet and the pressure is released, it can make loud, strange or even frightening sounds. Not only is it alarming. This sudden pressure release can cause banging against nearby valves and appliances. 


What plumbing do problems cause noisy pipes?

Noisy pipes are usually a signal of a larger issue with your home’s plumbing. Some of these include:

  • A defective check valve. If you have a defective or improperly installed check valve on a private well system, it can allow water to drain back into the well. This causes suction negative pressure (suction), which draws air into the piping or the well itself. A Fauquier plumbing pro should be able to take care of this issue fairly quickly.
  • Leaks in well piping. Leaks in the piping, valves, fitting or the pump itself can welcome air into the water supply. This can happen anywhere between the well and the building. Pinhole leaks can be especially hard to locate, so you may want to call in a Fauquier plumbing professional.
  • Low well water. If there’s a falling water level, it’ll cause the pump to send a mix of water and air into the water pipes. This can come from a variety of reasons such as an inadequate well yield definition, poor flow rate or drilling of new wells nearby.
  • Gas leaks. While less common, it’s possible that methane gas, radon, CO2 or dissolved sulfur is leaking into your water supply. If you suspect your water supply is contaminated, contact a plumber in Warrenton immediately. 
Note: An air-filled pipe is different from water hammering. Water hammering occurs what there’s a surge of water in the pipes and someone shuts a faucet or valve too quickly. If the water pressure is too high, it’ll force the water backward. This can cause serious damage to a home’s water lines. 
If you suspect you’re dealing with water hammering, purchase a pressure gauge and check your home’s water pressure (recommended level is 55 to 65 pounds per square inch). A Fauquier plumbing expert can also help you figure out what’s going on.

What should I do if I have air-filled pipes?

If your plumbing circuit has trapped air, especially in higher pipes, it can be difficult to eliminate. One way to try to resolve the issue is to restart the system. Turn off your power source, drain your pipes and then reconnect your water supply with open faucets and let it run through the pipes for about 10 to 15 minutes. 
If this doesn’t get rid the noise, it’s time to call a plumber in Warrenton.
If you’re only noticing air bubbles from your hot water faucets, turn off your water heater and call a licensed plumber immediately. This could be a sign of a dangerous problem: an overheated water system. An overheated water system could lead not only to scalding temperatures, but an explosion. 
It’s time to take care of your noisy pipes.
CroppMetcalfe’s five-star technicians are can help solve your plumbing problems today. We acquired TLC Services earlier this year and are proud to serve the people of Warrenton and Fauquier County. If you need plumbing help in Warrenton, Remington, The Plains or beyond, call CroppMetcalfe at 1-877-740-6657 now or schedule a service appointment online.


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