What Does It Mean If Your Pipes Are Rattling?

Hearing a rattling noise coming from the walls or under your sink can be quite disturbing for any homeowner. If you've noticed this noise recently and are afraid of what it could mean for your plumbing, then here's a simple guide to walk you through what's likely going on.

Pipes Secured

Here's the simplest explanation for what's going on: chances are your pipes aren't properly secured.

When pipes are put in place when a home is built, the pipes are secured in order to prevent movement either during use or in the event of a disaster, like an earthquake. This helps to keep damage from occurring to the pipes. However, like all things, these reinforcements can start to break down as the years go by. If your home has never had its plumbing redone or is very old, it's possible that your pipes either aren't secured at all or that they've become loose over the years. But what's making them rattle?


One of the main explanations for pipes rattling is that the pressure within the pipe is changing as you use the water. As water flows through the pipe, the pressure shifts, which can cause enough of a weight distribution shift to make the pipe rattle a bit. If you've ever turned on a faucet and noticed that water takes a second to come out, this is likely because the pipe isn't completely full of water, and has some air pockets in it. This can also cause rattling when those air pockets move out of the way of the water.

Temperature Changes

Another common cause of rattling is that the temperature of the water in the pipe is changing, and thus changing the temperature of the pipe as well. When you turn on hot or cold water, if the pipe isn't the same temperature, the heat or cold will cause the metal of the pipe to start changing temperature, which can cause rattling until the temperature between the water and pipe equalizes. This is a more likely cause if you've noticed that the pipes rattle for a minute or so and then stop.

Rattling pipes are often neglected, and it's not a good thing. If you get help soon, there's a good chance that all your plumber will need to do is reinforce and secure the pipes. However, if you wait too long, excessive rattling can shake pipes apart from each other, creating leaks in the walls or under your sink. Get help fast before it turns into a much bigger headache.