Quieting a Noisy Water Piping System

How to Quiet Noisy Water Pipes in Your Home

The familiar sound of water rushing through pipes is a standard feature of most households. However, when this once-soothing noise becomes an obnoxious banging, clanking or high-pitched squealing, it quickly goes from normal to nuisance.

Excessive noise from water piping systems can disrupt sleep, conversations and everyday activities. It may also point to underlying issues that could worsen over time. Addressing noisy pipes provides an immediate solution for improving comfort at home.

Understanding what causes the bothersome racket and taking appropriate corrective steps can help restore peace and quiet. With a few adjustments and upgrades, you can bid farewell to the hammering and hissing that emanates from your home’s water supply network.


Noisy pipes result from a range of culprits that must be properly identified and addressed. The most common causes of bothersome water pipe sounds include:

  • Water hammer – the banging noise that happens when a valve closes abruptly.
  • Loose mounting – clanking and rattling from loose pipe attachments.
  • High water pressure – the whistling or humming noise from excess water velocity.

These issues can arise in any piping system and tend to worsen with age. The sounds may be intermittent or constant depending on the source.

Taking steps to quiet noisy pipes provides an immediate improvement to quality of life by:

  • Restoring peaceful ambience at home.
  • Allowing uninterrupted sleep.
  • Enabling normal conversations without shouting.
  • Reducing anxiety and stress caused by noise.
  • Preventing further damage from unchecked pipe issues.

With some diligence and patience, you can successfully troubleshoot the cause and apply the right solutions for a serene home environment.

II. Understanding the Causes of Noisy Water Piping Systems

Pinpointing the specific factors contributing to bothersome, noisy pipes is the crucial first step toward restoring peace and quiet.

Water Hammer

Water hammer is the single biggest culprit of noisy water pipes in residential settings. It manifests as a loud banging or clanking noise when a valve or faucet shuts off rapidly.

What causes water hammer?

When a valve closes quickly, it abruptly stops the moving column of water. The momentum of the water slams it against the pipe walls, creating a hammering shock wave that propagates through the system. This causes the pipes to loudly vibrate and reverberate.

Water hammer often sounds like a machine gun going off as water flows through the pipes!

Contributing factors

  • Worn washers and valves allow rapid closure rather than gentle shut-off.
  • High water pressure intensifies hammering.
  • Rigid pipe materials like PVC transmit sound and vibrations.

Water hammer can gradually damage joints and pipe connections. Though rarely dangerous, it can be highly aggravating and disruptive.

Loose Mounting

When water supply pipes are inadequately secured, it allows movement that makes noise. This happens when:

  • Hangers, brackets and supports become loose.
  • Pipe clamps and anchors deteriorate over time.
  • Vibration slowly loosens initially tight connections.

As water flows through loose pipes, they clank around in walls and rafters. This creates rattling and knocking sounds as metal or plastic pipes hit surrounding materials.

Loose mounting also exacerbates water hammer effects. Unsecured pipes literally jump and down during water hammer shocks!

High Water Pressure

Excessive water pressure causes pipes to hiss, hum or whistle as flow velocity increases. Think of it like putting your thumb over a hose to create a high-pitched spray.

How it happens

  • Municipal supply pressure is naturally higher than needed.
  • Elevation differences increase pressure between street level and taps.
  • Old pipes allow higher pressure near the main.
  • Irregular pressure regulation causes spikes.

High-velocity water flow generates noise through:

  • Turbulence at elbows, tees and valves
  • Vibration of pipe walls
  • Cavitation bubbles collapsing

In addition to noise, sustained high pressure can accelerate wear and leakage. Reducing pressure is an effective solution.

III. Assessment and Diagnosis

The first step is to systematically inspect the water supply piping to hone in on what exactly is causing the noise.

Conduct Thorough Inspection

  • Carefully follow the piping route throughout the house, listening and looking for signs.
  • Isolate sections where noise occurs by turning water on/off at different locations.
  • Reproduce the sound by turning taps and fixtures on and off.
  • Check pipe mounting brackets, clamps and supports for tightness.
  • Locate valves, elbows, connections and directional changes.
  • Consider when noise happens – hot water only? Cold water? All the time? Intermittently?

Tip: Use a screwdriver or stethoscope to precisely pinpoint vibration sources.

Assess if pipes are swaying, shaking, banging or whistling. This will provide clues to whether the issue is water hammer, loose mounting or high pressure.

Professional Assistance

For comprehensive inspection and diagnosis, consider hiring a professional plumber. Their experience and speciality tools can accurately identify the root cause. This is advisable for:

  • Complex home pipe networks.
  • Pipes in hard to access areas.
  • Intermittent or unpredictable noise.
  • Suspected loose pipes in walls.

A small upfront cost for diagnosis can prevent bigger expenses down the road.

IV. Solutions for Quieting Noisy Water Piping Systems

Once the source of the noise is determined, the appropriate fixes can be applied to restore peace and quiet.

Water Hammer Arrestors

Water hammer arrestors are the best solution for preventing banging and hammering noises.

How they work

These devices have an air-filled cushioning chamber. When installed near problem areas, they absorb hydraulic shock and dissipate energy from sudden valve closure. This prevents the loud banging noise.

[Diagram of water hammer arrestor]


  • Immediately stop water hammer noise.
  • Protect plumbing valves and fixtures.
  • Easy for homeowners to install.
  • Available at hardware stores.
  • Require no maintenance or energy input.

For best results, arrestors should be installed within 5-10 feet of quick-closing valves. They typically cost $10-30 depending on type and come in various sizes.

Securing Mounting and Supports

If inspection reveals loose pipes, the solution is tightening mounting and supports.

To secure loose pipes:

  • Inspect all brackets, hangers and clamps.
  • Tighten any loose screw joints.
  • Replace deteriorated pipe straps or supports.
  • Add new mounting brackets as needed.
  • Use pipe insulation to prevent vibration.

Proper mounting immobilizes pipes and prevents banging around. It also mitigates noise from water hammer effects.

Pressure-Reducing Valve

For noisy pipes due to high water pressure, install a pressure regulator after the main shut-off valve.

How they work

The valve has a diaphragm or spring that throttles water flow when pressure exceeds the set point. This maintains steady, reduced downstream pressure.


  • Lowers water pressure to 60 PSI or less.
  • Eliminates humming and whistling noise.
  • Prevents strain on valves and fixtures.
  • Improves appliance and plumbing performance.
  • Easy DIY installation.

Pressure regulators are inexpensive and a great solution for naturally high municipal water pressure. Make sure to set it at least 10 PSI lower than pipes are rated for.

V. DIY Techniques for Noise Reduction

Many homeowners prefer to implement quieting solutions themselves before calling a plumber. Try these simple DIY techniques first:

Add Cushioning Material

Wrapping small sections of problematic pipes with foam or rubberPadding reduces noise from minor water hammer and vibration.


  • Locate short lengths that rattle or shake.
  • Clean pipes and apply foam padding strips.
  • Secure padding with zip ties or tape.
  • Alternative: Cut sections of old hose and slit to fit over pipes.

Use malleable materials that deform to absorb shock and motion. Monitor regularly as padding can compress and deteriorate over time.

Adjust Water Pressure

If pipes hum or whistle continuously, try lowering water pressure:

  • Locate main home shut-off valve.
  • Partly close the valve to reduce pressure.
  • Check to see if noise improves.
  • Repeat until an acceptable noise level is reached.

Use a pressure gauge to monitor pressure. This simple solution can provide temporary relief in some cases. Install a permanent pressure regulator for a lasting fix.

VI. Professional Assistance and Maintenance

While DIY remedies may solve simpler issues, certain scenarios are best left to professionals:

Seek Pro Assistance For:

  • Older complex piping that’s difficult to inspect.
  • Pipes in cramped or hard to reach places.
  • Persistent banging that arrestors don’t fix.
  • Suspected loose pipes in walls/ceilings.
  • High pressure from unknown source.
  • Plumbing renovation or upgrades.

With specialized tools like pipe cameras and leak detectors, plumbers can thoroughly inspect home systems and implement appropriate repairs. Though pricier, it resolves more complex underlying problems.

Regular Maintenance is Key

Noisy pipes don’t develop overnight. Through regular inspections and maintenance, issues can be addressed before they worsen.

To minimize future pipe noise:

  • Annually check supports, straps and hangers.
  • Inspect arrestors and replace deteriorated ones.
  • Monitor water pressure at various times.
  • Keep plumbing valves in good working order.
  • Update old piping systems.

Periodic servicing by a plumber can identify potential problems early. A little proactive care prevents major headaches down the road.

VII. Conclusion

Noisy water piping can drive homeowners to the brink of madness. Understanding the common underlying causes is the first step to restoring peace and quiet.

Water hammer, loose mounting and excessive pressure are the main culprits behind noisy pipe systems. Correctly diagnosing the specific problem through inspection allows the application of purpose-built solutions.

Installing water hammer arrestors, securing supports or adding pressure regulators can immediately silence noisy pipes. For more complex scenarios, specialized plumbing assistance may be required.

Restoring a calm, quiet ambience is possible with some diligence. Take action to bid farewell to the banging and whistling sounds of noisy water piping. Your home will once again be an oasis of tranquility.

Roger Angulo
Roger Angulo
Roger Angulo, the owner of thisolderhouse.com, curates a blog dedicated to sharing informative articles on home improvement. With a focus on practical insights, Roger's platform is a valuable resource for those seeking tips and guidance to enhance their living spaces.