Last Fall, I did a piece on How To Quiet Pipes That Shake. Rattle Or Roar, which was inspired by a reader question. But when I see the overwhelming number of questions and comments that continue to come in regarding mysterious noisy pipes, I swear it makes me wonder, do we need to call in a plumber or a priest?
I mean, once you’ve done all the trouble-shooting and thoroughly carried out the obvious repairs, yet the noise persists, you do start to question (and fear) what’s really lurking behind your walls and possessing your pipes. So what’s a girl (or boy) to do? Well, it turns out I happen to know a priest in Brooklyn that performs pipe exor… just kidding!
Based on these latest reader questions, it looks like there’s a lot more to noisy pipes than meets the ear… and the sound saga continues!
1. WYSK Reader Judy has a private well. When she leaves home for extended periods of time, they turn the well off. “When we turn the water back on, we open the faucets and let them run for a few minutes. However, when we flush the toilets for the first time, there is an incredibly loud bang.” Her concern is that this will compromise her plumbing and/or cause a pipe or junction to rupture, so she turned to me for a single, whole house fix.
2. WYSK Reader 1ofmanyfriends1 feels all alone when it comes to the perplexing (and harsh) banging noise that emanates from her pipes day and night when water isn’t even being used. “It sounds like a hard knock on the door…maybe 5 or 6 hard hits against something in the house. I have done the water draining thing about 4 or 5 times each time taking the time to do it to the letter and correctly. If anything, the sounds seem to have increased since the last time I did this draining.” To find her fix, she’s read every article online, checked out videos on YouTube, and even had a plumber check it out. With no solution in sight, she’s turned to me with a simple request – “HELP!!!!!” – for her very difficult problem.
I love that you turn off your water to the house when you leave town – smart! Some hissing and burping is normal when you turn the water back on (and my body’s response after a spicy burrito supreme). In your case, however, sounds like the toilet banging is fierce and jarring. Happily this only occurs the first time they’re flushed after turning the water back on to the house.
Here’s what I suggest: shut the water at each toilet shut-off valve when you leave. When you come home and restore water to the house, flush the toilet (it will empty the tank), then slowly open the shut-off valve at the toilet and let it refill. Flush again and hopefully you won’t get that banging!
Here’s the other systemic solution: contact a reliable plumber and discuss installing a ‘Water Hammer Arrestor’ which acts as a kind of shock absorber.
Your situation is curious, indeed! Based on what you’ve described, since the noise happens when there’s no running water, it leads me to believe that the pipes may be expanding/contracting as they shift with temperature changes. Also, I believe the banging may have something to do with the way the tank-less water system was tied into the lines.
Here’s what I’d do if I were you. Get a little team of patient friends/family together and have a pipe noise party! As the noise happens, RECORD it and have everyone search around the house to find exactly where it’s coming from. With this evidence, bring in a reliable plumber and have him/her explain the possible cause and solution.
Ok, my dear ladies, hope these suggestions help hush the bizarre banging. If they don’t, there’s always Holy Water…
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Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.