Plumbing Pipes Making Vibrating Noise

Question:

My downstairs pipes are vibrating and making a noise that only flushing the downstairs toilet will stop. What could this be?

Answer:

Banging pipes is often associated with “air hammer” or “water ramming”.  This is when air bubbles are bouncing around inside of the water line, usually caused by a slight leak drawing air into the water line.

The leak is probably upstairs.  Check the angle stop for the toilet and make sure it is open all the way.

Then again, you may not have a leak.  The hammer effect that you can read about all over is not terribly unusual.  The sounds that emanate from your plumbing within your walls or up in the attic can make sounds that are both hard to locate and difficult to describe.  Some have described the noises as wailing noises.  Others hear it as a series of deep clicks or barks, slowing in repetition then playing out after a few seconds.  Sometimes it sounds like someone has put on the breaks. It can also mimic the sound of somebody tapping on something  Imagine water rushing through the pipes and then suddenly stopping.  That is in part what is happening as the water meets with an air pocket.  I am not so sure that flushing a toilet in one area of the home will necessarily make much of a difference in another part of the house.  Some practical ways you can minimize these sounds as to go up in your attic and check to see if any of our pipes are unsecured.  Imagine if you will a pipe with water pressure running several feet along an adjoining 2 by 4.  Invariably, that water pipe is going to come under pressure and there will be movement and sometimes that clattering noise you hear is the pipe actually bumping up against wood.  So consider securing your pipes to minimize this noise.

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