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Question DetailsAsked on 1/27/2014

What causes the water pipes to rattle?

I hear the water pipes rattle behind the walls in the bathrooms. What causes this?

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2 Answers


What you are referring to is commonly referred to as "Water Hammer".

It is usually the result of a valve being shut suddenly and the force of the water being halted suddenly. The resultant momentum causes the pipes to shift and make a banging noise.

There are water hammer arrestors and I would look at having one of them installed.

Answered 6 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions


There are two solutions to this:

1) find the rattling pipe and put in dampener padding or inserts (also shown in following link) to stop it from rattling, or

2) as WowHomeSolutions said, put in surge absorbers. Generally, in the piping leading to faucets, a foot or two of pipe is extended up above the shutoff valve - this stays filled with air (as long as cap is airtight) for a LONG time, which acts as a shock absorber. Looks like this -

There are now smaller shock absorber chambers that work the same way that can be installed, look like this (lots of configurations) -

If you go with dampening the pipes themselves, the motion stopping means needs to be non-metallic (to avoid noise and abrasion), and non-absorbent - regular soft or expansive foam has been used by some and found to absorb condensation moisture, thereby starting corrosion of metal pipes.

If pipes rattle in walls you cannot easily get at, then adding arrestors is likely best idea - about $150-200 installed for both pipes on one sink, additional ones installed on same visit probably about $75-125 per location. Can add up quick,so if you can figure out by trial and error which pipes (hot or cold) and which faucets (including possibly dishwasher and clothes washer) cause the problem, should be able to limit it to the trouble location(s) and reduce cost.

If you decide to go with the pipe restraint approach, don't forget costs (or labor, if DIY) to repair drywall and repaint, but this is the way to go for DIY'ers who are not into soldering copper pipe or dealing with cutting and threading galvanized pipe.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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