What Causes Banging Pipes When Water Is Not Running?

What Causes Banging Pipes When Water Is Not Running?

Anthony Barnes

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In most homes, the water pipes and systems are probably used every single day.

Due to this huge usage of water, just in our homes, why is there sometimes a banging noise that starts coming from the pipes?

We are here today to find out if any of it will affect you in your home and the dangers it could pose. 

It is everyone’s worst nightmare to start having issues with your pipes and plumbing and it is something that everyone wants to avoid because it can be very fiddly.

However, everything in life only lasts a certain amount of time before it starts to get worn down or broken.

The sound coming from your pipes means that there is a problem, not with the water flow but with the pipes themselves. 

What Sort Of Noises Should You Listen Out For? 

There are several different types of noises that the pipes could be making that are an indication to you that something is wrong with them.

For example, they might make a banging or a squealing type sound. Or it might be more of a gurgling or a rattle sound.

If you start hearing any of these problems it means your pipes need to be sorted out straight away. 

This is also something that will occur when there is no water running.

If this is not checked out then it could potentially lead to a burst pipe or a leak in the pipes which could be more expensive to fix and also will take time and energy.

Having this happen could also lead to other things being damaged too which is never wanted. 

There are other reasons for the sounds of banging pipes such as when you close off the water supply when it is at high pressure. The water has nowhere to go.

Reasons For Banging Pipes

There are several reasons for why they might be making these noises and here are a few of them!

No Stable Force

There are things called air chambers which are usually right behind the wall where your pipes are located.

What Causes Banging Pipes When Water Is Not Running?

When there are these rushes of force and high pressure there has to be a retraction when the water is turned off.

When it retracts back, where it will hit the air chamber. It all depends on the pipe damage because this can also cause air loss.

If there is no air foce to soften the blow, then the sounds hitting against the air chamber will be much louder. 

These can be caused for three different reasons which include:

Anywhere that has faulty water flow, water pressure that is not up to standard or if your pressure valve closes too fast. 

Your Piping Is Loose

This is one of the main reasons for banging pipes or the most common.

When using water you expect it to come out straight away.

However, if there is a loose pipe then you will find the water will vibrate off the pipes which is the reason for the sound. They need to be secured properly where no air or water can escape from. 

Most people will recognise this noise as a hammering sound from the vibrations which will definitely be noticable.

If this is to continue for a long period of time without being fixed, it can definitely lead to bursts in your pipes which will not be good!

Moreover, if there is slight water loss over time, this water that escapes can also cause corrosion that can also lead to the bursts.

Too Much Pressure

It is not only the low water pressure that you need to worry about when it comes to your pipes, it is also the high water pressure as well.

It can be really damaging for your pipes to have water pressure that is too high because it is putting unnecessary pressure on the material.

When it is high water pressure, you can usually expect to hear either the banging noises or a high sound coming from the pipes.

They can also vibrate like the last part which causes the same issues as before. You need to watch out for these indicators of bad pipes or bad water flow. 

How Can This Be Fixed?

The main thing when it comes to this problem of having banging pipes with no running water is that you have already identified the problem which makes the job much easier.

It can take some time to find out what is actually wrong with the plumbing because it could be a loose pipe or could be the water pressure! 

Solutions depending on the noise:

  1. Knocking with no hot or cold water on 
  • If you hear these noises when you flush the loo then you could try this. 
  • When you use the washing machine 
  • Sprinkler systems 

When it comes to these types of issues you are having with your pipes, it is most likely that you are hearing these sounds due to the water in your pipes crashing against the valve.

What Causes Banging Pipes When Water Is Not Running?

This is common for creating leaks in your pipes which can be very frustrating to sort out. 

This all links to the age of your pipes and how you physically can fix them.

If your pipes were made in the 60s then you will have an air chamber behind the wall.

If this is the case, it could be a problem with sorting where water has filled up in the air chamber where there needs to be air so it can act as a shock absorber. You will need to really drain this water out before anything.

How to drain the water supply: 

  1. Water needs to be off at the valve. 
  2. Open highest faucet in home 
  3. Then open lowest faucet 
  4. Then you can turn the low faucet off and the valve back on. 
  5. You need to have that highest faucet to keep running until water has stopped coming out. 

The Banging Noise Is Throughout The Day

If you have that continuous banging throughout the day then this could definitely be to do with the water heater in your home and could be a failure.

This is linked to a buildup of sediment in the water heater. The noises that are actually being created are from water bubbles.

These bubbles are coming from the water tank and are especaping which is causing these sounds throughout the day when the water is boiling.

This can even be quite loud that you may think it is coming from the wall when actually it is not.

To avoid this type of build up you need to maintain your water heater and keep it clean regularly.

If you don’t, then this is one of the problems that can happen which can be easily avoided.

You do not want a build up at the bottom of the tank! Another thing to keep in mind is that you do not want this water passing through the pipes because it is collecting all of the minerals and bacteria.

What Causes Banging Pipes When Water Is Not Running?

How To Clean The Tank 

If you are looking to solve this problem yourself, then you are going to want to flush the tank and here are some steps to follow: 

  • You will need to protect your hands while doing this, so cover them with gloves! 
  • Turn off the heater and make sure it is completely off. 
  • Then you will need to stop the cold water from entering the valve and turn it off. 
  • You then can leave this for about 30 minutes and no less. 
  • You then need to find the drain valve where you can attach your hose to. 
  • You then need to open the drain valve to empty. 
  • You can now turn the cold water on to get rid of anything left remaining. 
  • You can then remove the draining valve, close it and put the heating back on and it should be all really clean and good for use!

When you are performing this task, you need to be careful of any hot water that could burn you.

This task also needs to be done at a minimum, once a year and maybe more if you want to maintain a routine of cleaning. 

Frequently Asked Question

Why Are My Pipes Banging All Of A Sudden?

The top three causes of banging plumbing pipes are because of a water hammer, copper pipes or too high of water pressure.

These sounds can be heard after a water supply is shut off, while the water is running and randomly throughout the day or night.

What Happens If You Don’t Fix The Water Hammer?

More than just producing an annoying clamor, a water hammer can actually damage the pipe connections and joints, resulting in leaks and costly repairs.

Or worse, the noise may also indicate a larger problem like excessive pressure in your water supply lines or loose piping.

Conclusion

Overall, you do need to be cautious when it comes to looking after the pipes in your home because they can cause water damage if not focused on when making these noises.

Now that you know what to look out for or you are using this guide to figure out what noises your pipes are making and how to fix this, you will find the answers here. 

Always remember that you need to check your product as well to make sure that you know what type of system you have, whether it be older or newer because they do have different systems.

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age