|Banging from Hot & Cold Tap Water Pipes!|
Plumbing Problems: Knocking/Banging Water Pipes!
Solution: Pressure, Pressure, Pressure!
Water pipes are great when you can't hear them, but like that annoying creaky floorboard that you step on every time, knocking or banging water pipes can be a real pain! ...and just like that creaky floorboard it's especially annoying when someone else makes it happen just as you are trying to get to sleep!
Tracing a knocking sound in water pipes can be very difficult, because the sound travels along the pipe, and so the problem can seem to be somewhere it is not.
Yes central heating pipes, give of some clicks/creaks as they warm up and cold down as the pipes expand and contract a little, that is to be expected. Any loud knocking and banging of pipes should be eliminated where possible though.
Knocking and Banging of pipes will be more in association with tap pipes rather than central heating pipes though, because the tap pipes will more often than not be under water mains pressure, where as central heating systems usually operate within a controlled pressure range.
In the house where these pipes were banging, we knew it was from the tap water pipes. The pipes would give off terribly loud bangs each time you turn off any of the hot or cold water taps, or when the toilets finished refilling after being flushed.
We had done a lot of changes in the house and had many of the floorboards up for both plumbing and wiring purposes, many of these boards were re-lifted in the process of trying to trace the knocking from within the pipes. These were floorboards that did need lifting and refitting as they were creaky ones anyway!
Lifting up the floorboards helped confirm the banging noises were not from within the maze of pipes underneath but that the sound was indeed travelling along the pipes to this area. It would seem the sound was in fact originating from the Stop Tap!
Closing the Stop Tap up a little, thus reducing the pressure on all the pipes and then opening and closing any taps did confirm we had now found the cause of the problem. We had not found the solution though, because although the pressure was now reduced, and all the taps and toilets would work fine, water would be down to just a trickle if you turned on too many taps and flushed the toilets etc. all at the same time.
The compromise seemed to be to turn the stop tap up enough to keep up the pressure at the taps, with a certain degree of knocking remaining! This we could live with. The only trouble was we thought the neighbours must be able to hear the knocking pipes because we could hear theirs!
Like a dripping tap that keeps you awake at night, the neighbours late bedtimes were now having a similar effect, in the silence of the dead of night it sounded as if they were running around slamming every door in the house every night. When in reality, they were simply, using the bogs, washing hands, having a wash, or brushing teeth etc. each time creating a large bang to go with it.
It then occured, that maybe we could shift the knocking noises from within the house, to under the ground outside, by lowering the pressure at the main water board stop tap outside the front of the property. The only problem was that the stop tap seemed inaccessible due to how rusty the lid was. but with a little effort it opened, then came off! The rust that was holding the lid at one end had eaten through the pivots at the other end!
After cleaning all the muck out of the tube (always a mucky job) we soon had access to the main stop tap. There was a stop tap handle in the tube but we were unable to move the stop tap with it! Luckily we have a longer homemade stop tap handle that was more than up to the job.
Dropping the water pressure right down outside (by closing the stop tap completely, then re-opening it just 3/4 of a turn), and opening the stop tap back up inside the house, made a huge difference, good pressure, and little knocking.
Then closing the main outside stop tap little by little, we were able to adjust the water pressure, so that the pipes no longer banged at all, yet still keeping all the pressure at the taps.
As to the neighbours pipes they seemed to really quieten down too, maybe we had reduced some kickback in our/their pipes by adjusting the pressure at our main stop tap. Might just play with theirs at the Main stop tap too though! Then up the street... and around the corner....
These taps work great...
...until you turn them off that is! ...BANG!
Tracing the knocking pipes, lead us to the stop tap!
Adjusting this did stop the knocking, but it would also reduce the water pressure a little too much!
Located outside though will be Water Board / Main Stop Tap. Adjusting the water pressure further away from the house will hopefully make life better inside it!
The Main Stop Tap is normally located just outside the property boundary, but in some cases like this one it is located within the boundary wall.
After managing to open the lid on the stop tap housing, we did find a short stop tap handle inside the tube.
First the rubber gloves came out though to clear all the muck out that had accumulated down the tube.
When the short handle was tried it was too hard to turn with it being so short.
Luckily we also had our own longer handle that we had made for another house some years earlier.
The pick was needed/used to open the rusted cover!
...That rust had also eaten through the pivot points on the lid!
The homemade stop tap handle was much better, and long enough to do the job.
Reducing the pressure outside = no more banging pipes (but good pressure) inside!