Book Your Free AC Tune Up Today! (For Members) Book Here! Read More

Skip navigation

Serving the Greater Rochester Area


Triple O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Blog

Knocking and Banging From the Pipes: What’s Up?

One of the leading causes of people believing that their house is haunted is when strange knocking, clanging, and banging sounds start to emanate from the walls. We don’t want to puncture the mystery here, but there is a good explanation for these sounds. They’re coming from the pipes.

This kind of noise from the plumbing is a common enough issue, but it’s still an issue. We’ll take a look at why this might be happening in your home.

Water Hammer

It’s an impressive name, and it sounds like the wrathful weapon of some sea-god descending upon the ocean. But it’s actually a shockwave inside your water pipes. 

Water hammer occurs when the flow of water is quickly cut off or reversed in a pipe and there isn’t a sufficient cushion of air to absorb it. This sudden stop creates a pressure wave that strikes against the pipe, creating the hammering, banging sound that gives the phenomenon its name. Sometimes water hammer can occur multiple times in one instance as the shockwave travels up and down the pipe—it can sound alarming.

Why don’t you hear water hammer whenever you shut off a faucet in the house? Because household plumbing pipes are designed with air cushions and pressure valves in them. The pressure waves from water suddenly stopping hits these air cushions and gets absorbed. But these air cushions can become waterlogged and the pressure valves fail, leading to the start of water hammer.

Water hammer is more than an audible annoyance—it can cause damage to the pipes, fittings, and valves because of the force of the shockwave. It can also cause pipes to shake loose from position. Water hammer may be a warning of a spike in water pressure inside the plumbing, and this will place more staring on the plumbing system and more easily lead to leaks. 

Plumbers can repair pipes by restoring water-logged air cushions or by adding pipe extensions that create an air barrier. In cases of older plumbing, some repiping may be necessary to halt the problem.

Loose Pipes

Enough vibration in the plumbing (and that includes from water hammer) can cause pipes to come loose from attachments. They’ll then start to rattle around and clang into other pipes as water moves through them. This happens most frequently in hot water lines because the temperature of the water causes the pipes to expand and contract, shifting around more.

Loose pipes are a major plumbing problem, since they can lead to leaking as well as damage to the pipes around them, and may eventually tear loose from their fittings and create a major leak. You’ll need professional plumbers to locate the offending pipes and secure them or replace them.

Leave the Work to Us

It isn’t easy to track down the source of loud plumbing, and we don’t encourage you to attempt it on your own. You can call us for plumbing in Rochester, NY and the surrounding areas to diagnose your noisy plumbing and find the best resolution.

Triple O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Is Your One-stop Shop for HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical. Contact us when you need plumbing service. 

Comments are closed.