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My Pipes Are Vibrating -- Why?

Vibrating or rattling pipes may make some homeowners worry that something is wrong with their plumbing. Thankfully, most of the causes for vibrating pipes are normal and shouldn't cause immediate issues. However, your pipes should be checked in any of these situations to avoid long-term problems.

High Water Pressure

If your water pressure is over 60 psi, then that can cause pipes to vibrate. It can also lead to pipe fittings loosening, which can lead to larger vibrations. As time goes by, high pressure can cause stress to your home's plumbing and the internal components of your appliances.

If your pressure is too high, a professional plumber can install a special valve near your connection to the main line that reduces it. You can check the pressure yourself by viewing your pressure regulator near the main connection. If you don't have one, then you can use a home water pressure gauge.

The Water Hammer Effect

A water hammer occurs when rushing water is suddenly stopped by a valve that closes quickly such as a toilet tank valve or a sink faucet. This effect can cause the pipes connected to the toilet or faucet to vibrate quite violently. If the vibration is worse than it used to be, that's a sign that the air chambers used to mitigate the hammer effect have filled with water.

A good way to fix this is to shut off your main valve and drain faucets and toilets from the top floor down. This will allow air to get back into the chambers. If, however, the suspected vibrations are behind a wall, then you'll need professional assistance.

Loose Clamps

This is the most likely culprit if you notice vibrations from just turning a faucet on. All you need to do is inspect your visible pipes to see if a clamp is loose. If one is loose, you can tighten it yourself without difficulty. If the rattling is behind a wall, however, you'll need a professional plumber to cut away the wall boards.

Mr. Rooter iconAbout the Author: Stan Pomichter, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Francisco

Stan has been a trusted Mr. Rooter owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Francisco since 2016. With years of experience to back him, Stan has experience with a wide range of plumbing related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in sewer system repair, drain cleaning, gas line repair, and more.

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