Plumbing woes – noisy pipes

noisypipesOne of my children once asked me if the house was alive after hearing these noises when flushing the toilet.

Question:   What is the noise I keep hearing when I turn on my water?  I hear a lot of noises, banging, rattles, hums, and whistles throughout the whole house when I run water or flush toilets.

Answer:  One of the most common problems with “noisy pipes” are failing pressure reducing valves (PRV).  Most municipalities require a PRV to be installed on the home to reduce the amount of street pressure required to properly feed a neighborhood.  The street pressure is reduced at each home via the PRV to a more usable pressure that will function throughout the home and not damage piping or fixtures.  This pressure will usually range between 50 to 60 PSI.  When a PRV has aged, it is common that the rubber diaphragm inside will vibrate as water passes through the valve.  This vibration can often create a hydro harmonic resonance, which results in noises and rattles throughout the home.  Although there are other problems that can cause similar sounds and rattles, typically if the sound is created regardless of which fixture in the home has been turned on it ends up being a bad PRV.

Information is provided by Dave Noffsinger, master plumber and  owner-operator of, a full service plumbing company specializing in water heater repair and replacement.  The answers provided are based on common causes with common solutions to the question asked based on plumbing experience, and may not address your specific issue.  Contact us at (919) 868-3585 to discuss your specific concern and to schedule a free estimate.