Are Knocking Pipes Bad or Dangerous?

January 14, 2021

If you’ve noticed a knocking or tapping sound coming from your pipes in Myrtle Beach, SC, you’re probably envisioning major plumbing repairs—and the bills that come along with it. Here’s the good news: those strange noises might not be that serious, as long as you call a professional right away.

Why are my pipes making noise?

You might notice a knocking sound not just from flushing the toilets, but also when you run the sink faucets, fill your washing machine or run the dishwasher. Often, this has to do with your plumbing valves. Some are automatic, like in your toilet. Others are manually turned on and off, such as your sink valves.

The water in your pipes is under pressure at all times—that’s what propels it through the pipes and makes it possible to have running water on demand. When the valves are closed, the water is percolating, but has less energy. When you turn on the tap or flush the toilet, all the water bursts forth to either fill the toilet tank or provide water from the tap. When you shut it off, the water has nowhere else to go and “crashes” against itself and the valves. That makes the knocking noise.

What happens if I don’t address the problem?

It sounds harmless enough, but this needs to be addressed right away. As the pipes knock around, they undergo sideways pressure; this can break fittings and soldering. It might also loosen any straps that connect your pipes to the walls. The more they knock, the more likely you’ll see (or hear) damage in other areas of your plumbing, especially the joints.

What to do next

The best way to eliminate the knocking sound (and motion) is to install air gaps in your plumbing. Air gaps are exactly what they sound like: small pockets of air that act as shock absorbers in your pipes. Prior to the 1960s, this was achieved by air-filled T-shaped pipes. Today, water hammer arrestors do the same thing. They are installed behind quick closing valves, and have a permanent, pressurized air cushion.

If you notice your pipes knocking, call a plumber right away. They can install water hammer arrestors to eliminate the knocking sound. If the knocking is happening for another reason, or if the pipes have already been damaged, they can take care of those issues, too.

Otherwise, you can try to fix it yourself by shutting off the water main and letting all the water drain from your highest and lowest faucets, flushing water out of the toilets and running appliances for a few moments to drain them. Turn off the lowest faucet and turn the water main back on. Your top faucet should sputter, but then turn into a constant stream. Test the pipes by flushing your toilets in Myrtle Beach, SC. If they no longer knock, you have solved the problem.

For plumbing assistance in the Grand Strand area, including emergencies and after hours, reach out to the team at Rooter Express today.

Categorised in:

Rooter Express