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Noisy water pipes and low pressure water in your home

You’re home after a stressful day, looking forward to a warm hansgrohe rainforest shower but the water pressure feels weak. If your showerhead is only releasing a trickle, you’re not going to get the shower you have in mind. You decide to take apart the fragile shower head to check for sediment to clean. However it does not do the trick. Before you head to the main water valve, intending to turn up the water flow for a quick fix, don’t.
You’re in deep slumber and are awoken by an off-pitched screech coming through the walls. It lasts for a couple minutes, then stops. A couple of days later, the sound re-emerges, only this time, it is coupled with a knocking / hammering sound as well. This now sounds serious enough to warrant some attention.
In both these instances, do not fret, you may not need to call a plumber at least not just yet. There could yet be a quick fix you can do on your own.

First, let’s diagnose the problem:

1. Do you hear the knocking sounds only when your water is turned on? The hammering sound occurs when a water valve is suddenly shut off. All the water that was running then crashes into the valve, shaking your pipes, creating the knocking noise you hear.
water hammer
A visual showing how water hammer can create knocking pipes. Image source.
Over time, ‘water hammering’ can be violent enough to shake the pipes loose of their joints and cause leaks resulting in structural damage.
2. High water pressure - when water flows through a pipe too fast, it begins to bounce of the sides and into itself, which shakes the pipe. The shaking pipes can rattle against walls and other pipes, making the knocking noise you hear.

Before you decide to call a plumber, try this:

STEP 1: Check your home’s incoming water pressure. You can do this with a simple water pressure test gauge.
water pressure test
Image: A water pressure test gauge that you can buy online
Attach the gauge to the hose bib that is closest to your water main. Make sure no other water is being used in your home and then turn on the hose bib completely. Your water pressure should read between 40-80 PSI. If it is too high, you’ll need a licenced plumber to add, replace or adjust your home’s pressure reducing valve.
STEP 2: How to fix water hammer and air bubbles
Attach the gauge to the hose bib that is closest to your water main. Make sure no other water is being used in your home and then turn on the hose bib completely. Your water pressure should read between 40-80 PSI. If it is too high, you’ll need a licenced plumber to add, replace or adjust your home’s pressure reducing valve.
Air chambers are sections of pipe that contain air and act as shock absorbers. However, over time the air in the chamber can become displaced by water. If you have air chambers, you can reduce water hammer by draining all the water out of your home’s plumbing and then refilling it.
Here’s how:
1. Shut off the water to your home at the main- By doing so, you can now clear all the water in the system without more water coming through. Use a wrench if it is too tight.
2. Open the lowest faucet (it’s usually outside or in the basement) and let all the water drain out. At this point the air will be “refilled” in the air chambers.
3. Work your way up and run each faucet, leaving them on until all water has run through.
4. Once all the water has stopped running through the system, turn the lowest faucet off (the one you opened in step 2) while leaving all the others on, and turn the water main back on
5. Let all the other faucets run until it stops gurgling. After it starts to run smoothly, you can then turn it off
There you are! A quick fix, without the need for a costly plumber to do what you could do on your own. However, remember that if these recommended step do not resolve the problem/s, you will then need to call in an iimafix licensed plumber. Rest assured, we will not charge you a transport fee (as we’re probably nearby), neither will we recommend you to replace with costly parts if your existing ones are still good to use.
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