Pipe Soundproofing: How to Quiet Noisy Pipes

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Living in an old house with a bad piping system can really be something dreadful, for both you and your whole family.

If you ever had to hide from your family in the morning because of waking them up in the middle of a night just because you simply flushed, or if your children have ever asked you to postpone your shower because they have to study hard for an important exam and they wouldn’t want to be distracted by the wailing sound of the pipes, you are certainly aware of the importance of soundproofing them.

It sounds rather hard to insulate the noise coming from within the walls.

There is always a solution, even to the hardest of problems. Therefore, there are some solutions to this problem as well.

Since the noisy pipes are really an annoying thing, and you can never be left at peace when you are in a house, it is highly important to solve this problem as quickly as possible.

If you have been living with this problem for a longer time, I am sure that you are just like a bunny and that you easily get jumpy on even the smallest of sounds.

Noisy pipes can affect the overall quality of your life. You can’t concentrate, you can’t read or study and sleeping can also be hard if someone has to go to the loo.

I am not sure about you, but when I started having problems with noisy pipes, I would get paranoid and think that there is someone in my house; even on the smallest of shushes from the walls.

My kids were reading Harry Potter at the time and felt quite afraid of the “shhhhhh”ing sounds from the walls. If you are a fan, you would know that sounds from within the walls and piping are never a good sign.

Back on track, the cause of wailing pipes can be quite complex, and I will be listing some soon enough, but all in all, I will be telling you more about how to find a solution to this unpleasant problem.

Now, let’s start with some of the reasons for noisy pipes and then proceed with the easy and cheap guide with instructions on how to soundproof loud piping in your home.

pipe soundproofing

noisy water pipes are typically caused by:

The fact is that we have all heard some noises coming from our pipes at night.

Don’t be fooled, they occur during the day as well; it is just that we do not hear them over the noises of our everyday life.

Now, most of these sounds are nothing serious, but some of them might just be, and it would be the best to solve the loudest of the noises as soon as possible.

There are four main causes of loud pipes, and here they are, a little explained, and with some solutions to fix them.

The four main causes of the noisy pipes are, as follows:

  • Water Hammer
  • Water pressure that is way too high
  • Thermal Effects on copper pipes
  • check
    Loose piping

And now, let’s give a closer look at each of these problems.

Causes and Solutions of Noisy Water Pipes

1. Water Hammer

You are all familiar with the term “moment of force” from the physics classes.

Now let’s apply that knowledge to the water and loud pipes.

When you are using, let’s say, your kitchen sink, the water is running through the pipes, faster or slower, depending on your needs. But for this picture, let’s take that it is running very fast.

So, the water is running through the pipes, and all of a sudden you decide that you do not need it anymore and you turn the tap off.

The water that was running just a moment earlier has nowhere to escape, and it hits the shut- off valve. The sound that occurs can be very loud and dull, and it is better known as a water hammer.

Besides being loud, which is the smallest of problems that water hammer can cause, it can also damage connections and joints in the water pipes.

water hammer noisy pipes

There are two main ways to fix this problem:

1. Check the air chamber – Most of the piping systems have preinstalled dampeners, also known as air chambers, which are vertical pipes located near the faucet.

It is often placed in the cavity on the wall where plumbing that is connected to your tub or sink is held.

The air chamber is filled up with air that serves as a compressor and absorbent to the shock caused by the fast running water in your pipes once it stops all of a sudden.

However, the air chambers sometimes fill up with water and that means that they are not as effective anymore.

Of course, there is a way to fix this, and in order to do that, you will have to:

  • Turn the water supply to the house off; you can do that at the main supply or at the street level;
  • Open the faucets and let all of the water collected in the plumbing system runoff;
  • Turn the water on again; the water that is coming will clear the air from the pipes, but not from the air chamber.

2. Install new arrestorsArrestors like this are small devices that can be connected to your water pipes and have a shock absorber that I previously mentioned that works on spring.

Their purpose is to divert water’s force when you shut off the faucet.

Just opposite of air chambers, these cannot fill with water. 

However, it is a little bit hard to install them, so if you are not that skilled, it would be the best to ask a plumber to do so for you.

2. Water pressure that is way too high

High water pressure is a big threat to the pipes.

Not only that it can be a cause of noisy pipes, but it can also damage home appliances that are water- based, like a dishwasher and a washing machine.

Nowadays it is common for homes to have pressure regulators installed on the main water supply line.

If so, you can give it a look, and remember that the recommended water delivery does not go over 80 or under 40 psi.

If you happen to be living in a house that does not have one of those, you can purchase a pressure reduction valve and have a professional install it for you. 

This is a good investment in a long run, and it can save you a lot of trouble and lives of your water- based appliances.

3. Thermal Effects on copper pipes

Most of the piping is based on copper, and they might just as well be the culprits of those loud noises coming from your walls.

Copper is a material that is very sensitive to temperature changes, and therefore it will easily expand as the hot water passes through them and makes them hotter.

If the pipes are too close to each other, and they usually are at joints, studs, support brackets, etc., they will rub one against another, and make the noises.

Again, there are two ways to solve this problem:

  • The simplest way to stop this, naturally, would be to lower the temperature on your water heater;
  • Since this is not always that possible, you might want to consider installing isolating brackets and rubber matting onto the pipes and areas where they rub one against the other.

4. Loose Piping

There is one more thing that is quite common, and this would be loose piping.

You might consider placing some rubber spacers between the pipes and the wall, since the vibrations might be making the noise, and rubber is always good in stopping those.

How to Quiet Noisy Pipes

Pipe Soundproofing: How to Quiet Noisy Pipes

If you have given a thorough look at all the previous possibilities and solutions, and the problem persists, you might need to apply some soundproofing materials onto your pipes, or spaces between them, for that matter.

Soundproofing the pipes in your home can be done in two main ways:

  • Wrapping the pipes with sound blocking materials
  • Filling the empty space around the pipes with sound absorbing materials.

When it comes to sound- blocking materials, I would say that using Mass Loaded Vinyl would be the best solution.

It is very popular on the market, and easy to find. We recommend this one.

It has shown to be a very good sound insulator, and it is very dense and heavy, so it can stop the sound from getting out of the wall, and bring the vibrations down to a minimum.

You can wrap the pipes in Mass Loaded Vinyl, or you can simply place them on the wall and fix them there.

And from the sound- absorbing materials, I would recommend a ​natural cotton insulator like this.

It would be easy to fill in the holes with it, which would make the pipes move less, and it will absorb all of the vibrations and unwanted sounds coming from the rattling or rubbing of the pipes one onto another.

On Soundproofing Water Pipes

And these were some of the ways to save yourself from noisy pipes.

I tried to cover not only the soundproofing part but the part from which you can learn a bit more about the common causes of loud pipes and ways to solve them as well.

This might save you a lot of trouble in the future and I hope that it comes in handy.

No more Basilisks in your pipes, you can sleep soundly again now!