Soundproofing Pipes in Your Home: A Comprehensive Guide

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Soundproofing Pipes in Your Home

Hearing unwanted sounds from your water piping system?

Looking for a way to address this?

Great! We’re here to help you with your soundproofing project.

From the causes to the materials down to additional sound reduction tips… don’t worry because we’ve got you covered!

Table of Contents

How to Soundproof a Pipe

The process of pipe soundproofing your home is fairly easy! There are two main ways on how you can do this:

  1. Wrapping Pipes. You may wrap the pipes with some sound-blocking products.
  2. Filling the Wall Cavity: You may fill the empty spaces around the pipes with sound-absorbing materials.

Knowing these two methods is the easy part.

But deciding on which method to actually use for your noisy pipes… this is where it gets tricky.

Soundproof Planning Process

You DO NOT go to war without a plan in mind!

A noisy pipe from one room affects the entire piping system of your house. This is why you should treat the process of soundproofing systematically.

Your assessment should firstly consider the type of materials you’ll need, such as:

  • Self-adhesives
  • Utility knives
  • Drywall filler
  • Heavy-duty glue

Remember to take note of which rooms are affected by specific noisy pipes as well.

Now consider these essential steps before you choose an appropriate soundproofing method:

  • Determine the cause of the noisy pipes.
  • Find out the type of pipe used in the plumbing system.
  • Select the best soundproofing materials.
  • Prepare the appropriate materials and tools.
  • Finally, proceed with either method: wrapping of pipes or the filling of the wall cavity.

The rest of this article will now closely follow the flow of these steps. This will help address the problem of noise pollution with a plan in mind.

What are the Common Causes of Noisy Pipes?

Noisy pipes? We guarantee they’re likely caused by any of the following:

  • Water pressure vibration
  • Loose piping
  • Water pipe location

Remember: vibrations produce sound. Thus, pipes produce unwanted sound and noise due to running water or the pipes rubbing against each other.

We’ll discuss the three primary causes in detail and provide appropriate fixes to address them!

1. Water Pressure

Have you ever pulled your faucet’s lever to a maximum and heard the rumbling of your pipes?

Or have you ever abruptly closed the faucet and felt (and heard) the hammering effect of the persistent liquid?

High pressure causes noisy pipes and damage. This issue isn’t JUST LIMITED to pipes but to water-based home appliances such as your washing machine as well.

There are usually three ways to fix this problem:

Assess the Air Chamber

Air chambers are preinstalled dampeners you’ll see as the vertical pipes located near your faucet. This is placed in the wall cavity that holds the plumbing system of your tub or sink.

What does the air chamber do?

It serves as a compressor and shock absorber of the fast running water in your pipes. A sudden halt might fill these chambers with water, implying that your chamber isn’t working as well anymore.

Here are simple steps you can follow to fix this without professional help:

  • Turn the main water supply of the house off.
  • Open the faucets and let all of the water collected in the pipe system spill off.
  • Turn the water supply on again.

The water coming out SHOULD SUPPOSEDLY CLEAR the air from the water pipes and bring back the needed force to the chamber.

The air chamber should more or less function better after these steps.

Install New Arrestors

Arrestors also connect to your water pipes and work as a shock absorber.

Arrestors simply do not allow the passage of water, unlike air chambers. Rather, they DIVERT the water’s force upon the closing of the faucet.

You might want to hire a professional plumber for this! Installation can get tricky and may be hard to DIY.

Replace the Regulators

A good homeowner should invest in the maintenance of water pressure regulators.

Water pipes have a threshold for the amount of liquid it will allow to pass through. You’ll notice that the main water supply lines of houses have water pressure regulators to manage this issue.

Recommended water pressure delivery would usually fall within the 40-80 psi range.

2. Loose Pipe

If you’re hearing sounds like there are empty cavities or some sort of unnecessary breathing, then the problem might be loose water pipes.

One way to address loose piping is using rubber spacers BETWEEN the water pipes and the walls.

Fast Fact: Rubber works to absorb the shock from the vibrations of noisy pipes effectively.

3. Location of the Noisy Pipes

Your pipe soundproofing project DEPENDS on your piping layout!

The location of pipes can tell you about what steps you need to take to improve on your plumbing system:

  • Piping replacement
  • Installation of drywall
  • Addition of soundproofing material

This is a factor people often OVERLOOK, and we don’t blame them!

For example, you will generally hear more of your noisy pipes if they’re situated within your living room walls rather than behind the walls of heavy appliances and furniture. It would help to note down where the exposed pipes are in your home starting your soundproofing project.

Types of Pipes and Their Noise Levels

Now more than the layout of your pipe system, it’s also important to know the type of pipes you have installed!

Simply do not overlook the material your pipes are made of. They may not look like much, but they also contribute to noise pollution.

Get rid of those noisy pipes and read through this rundown of how the material affects those unwanted sounds!

Cast Iron Drain Pipes

Consider cast iron for your living rooms or bedrooms. They’re perfect for keeping the noise level at a minimum.

  • Pros: Among the quietest types
  • Cons: Difficult to repair, expensive

Copper Pipes

The use of copper pipes has increased in popularity recently.

They may be durable, but there is one common complaint about their nature as noisy pipes: copper pipes tend to rub against each other — especially when they’re situated close to each other.

Yes, this is a LAYOUT PROBLEM…but also not solely.

Copper is just one of those products that naturally tend to EXPAND when exposed to high levels of heat.

  • Pros: Easily customizable with rubber and isolating brackets
  • Cons: Sensitive to temperature changes, expands with hot water

PVC Drain Pipes

Plastic PVC drain pipes are among the most popular choices in the market.

However, they too suffer from poor system layout and heat sensitivity. WRONG INSTALLATION especially affects their ability to reduce noise.

  • Pros: Lightweight, easy to repair, customizable with rubber spacers
  • Cons: Sensitive to temperature changes, expands with hot water

So, are These Types Still Worth It?

Yes, definitely.

We especially understand that metal pipes CAN get expensive. If you can’t get a hold of the reliable metal pipes for your home, these options are as good as it gets.

Besides, this is what this pipe soundproofing article is for anyway!

Regardless of their downsides, there’s not a single thing simple pipe soundproofing can’t do.

Best Soundproofing Materials for Pipes

Let’s put all this knowledge into ACTION.

The final step of your pipe soundproofing project preparation is to identify the best soundproofing material for your specific noise situation.

Here’s a quick guide on how each of these materials can help you decrease the sounds of noisy pipes in your home!

1. Rubber Spacers

Starting off this list are the ever-popular rubber spacers. These are QUICK FIXES, especially for copper and PVC pipes that suffer from a lack of layout space.

Simply attach the rubber to the joints of connecting water pipes. This effectively reduces the vibrations and eventual pipe noise in an INSTANT.

Perhaps an added benefit is also how it helps flexible types like your PVC pipe from moving around and keeps it secured in place.

You can get them here.

2. Acoustic Lagging 

The thing with acoustic lagging is that it ACTS like a cushion against the wall cavity. It’s one of the best options you can choose to effectively soundproof a pipe.

Feel free to DIY this too! Just follow these three simple steps:

  1. Measure the dimensions of the pipe you plan to soundproof
  2. Cut the acoustic lagging accordingly
  3. Glue it onto the pipe in several sections until you’ve covered the entire pipe

3. Mass Loaded Vinyl

Mass-loaded vinyl is a highly dense, flexible, and popular material used to soundproof a pipe.

It’s similar to acoustic lagging in the installation process and general aesthetic. It’s quite LITERALLY a wrap around a noisy pipe!

The mass-loaded vinyl is one of the most widely used products in the industry.

We have nothing but praises for this mass-loaded vinyl as it reduces noise and can absorb sound in ALL AREAS — NOT just pipe noise.

4. Spray Foam Insulation

Looking for a quick AND easy fix? This is as quick and easy as it gets!

Using spray foam insulation is the PERFECT WAY to manage moderate to low-moderate noise. It’s spray-based, so you don’t have to worry about learning the basics AT ALL.

To use this, simply:

  1. Apply the spray along the entire surface of the water pipe
  2. Leave and wait for it to dry and let the product thicken

You’ll find that this thickened foam is what works to muffle the sound caused by pipe vibrations!

Spray foam insulation also works to insulate your home by regulating temperature.

5. Acoustic Pipe Wraps

One way to reduce unwanted noise and sound is to use an acoustic pipe wrap.

This works similarly to the spray foam insulation material, except that this is ACTUAL wrapping and not spray-based.

Its advantage over the spray foam is the assurance that your loud pipes are getting the coverage you desire for them!

6. Drywall Installation

Now, if you have absolutely NO WAY of having direct access to your pipes, your only viable option is to add another layer of drywall.

The options presented so far have you directly customizing the pipes, but you can always just add sound dampeners onto drywall instead.

Additional walls can also EFFECTIVELY FILTER out the sound waves from the water supply pipes and reduce noise.

Just make sure to consult with actual professionals! This requires the most construction experience out of everything we’ve discussed so far, and you might need some professional insight.

Additional Tips for Soundproofing Pipes

We’ve finally got the basics covered! Now we just need to set things straight and TRY to avoid any other factors that could compromise your soundproofing projects.

Here are some tips you should consider before FINALLY soundproofing your loud pipes:

  • Some pipe soundproofing products are flammable. Make sure your construction takes note of all the necessary hazards. Also, make sure your soundproofing materials are heat-resistant.
  • You can combine different types of pipes to cut down on costs! You can choose to only replace noisy pipes like copper WITH QUIET ONES like cast iron drain pipes. This is a totally valid life hack that still results in a proper piping and drainage system.
  • Soundproof both your pipes and walls for better sound reduction! Some prefer to install THICK BARRIERS to prevent sound from piercing through the walls.
  • It’s easier to soundproof a pipe with the help of your friends, household members, and professionals. You’ll be able to see the bigger picture of your system and even have some assistance on the side!

Our professional advice is to ALWAYS prioritize addressing any issues in your drainage system, wall cavities, or any part of the house. Even the quietest sump pumps can still cause noise if the pipes aren’t well-maintained.

But WHY Should You Soundproof Pipes?

We know you’re here because the issue has been bothersome for you… right?

Let us once again reiterate, when you soundproof a pipe, it helps reduce unwanted noise and sounds in your house.

If you’re having any doubts once more, here are some benefits you can always consider:

  • Improved heat insulation
  • Cut down on electrical costs
  • Peaceful ambiance
  • Appealing living space

Your home should be a haven. One problem experienced within the house is already one problem too many.

Noisy water pipes are among the MOST IRRITABLE house problems you will ever encounter. Addressing them as early as now (or mitigating these problems properly) should be of your utmost priority.

Final Thoughts

Man fixing pipes

A home should have as little noise as possible.

You’d be surprised by the different ways pipes can affect the overall mood and ambiance of your home!

Address these sounds from your noisy water pipes as efficiently as you can, as soon as possible:

  • Find the cause of the noise.
  • Identify the types and methods you can use.
  • FINALLY get on with your soundproofing project!

Changelog:

June 17, 2021 – updated featured image

June 14, 2021 – added changelog, updated title and H1, fixed and updated article formatting and content, updated internal linking, optimized content

About the Author

andrea_adams

Andrea Adams

Fidgeting with gadgets and electronics has long been Andrea’s expertise. She has assembled, disassembled, and tweaked almost every type of device you can think of. Through the years, she has come to realize that technology should never be fussy. And that’s where her interest in quiet products stemmed from. She hopes to become your go-to person for insight when deciding on noiseless goods to purchase.