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desron1964 07-26-2006 12:01 PM

Knocking Copper Hot Water Pipes in Winter
Copper water pipes are in unfinished daylight basement and basement is unheated Average temp in basement is 58 to 65F. During winter months when the hot water is turned on it sounds like a knocking sound coming from within the walls. I was told this is due to Thermal Expansion since the basement is unheated.

Is this true and short of heating the basement what can be done? Would insulating the pipes correct the problem or is there anything else that could or should be done? Thanks!

J187 07-26-2006 01:08 PM

Regardless of whether or not it stops the banging, you should insulate your water pipes if they pass throught an unheated area. In fact, if it gets very cold in winter where you are, I'd insulate my hot AND my cold. Cold water pipes that are insulated are slightly less likely to freeze. Hot water pipes passing through an unheated area will put extra strain on the water heater as the pipes lose heat. Conserve energy and insulate those pipes, if the banging stops, awesome. If not, you may build up or hammering or other problems.

Ron The Plumber 07-27-2006 08:18 AM

Expansion and contraction of the hot water pipe is the cause, if in the wall, finding the source is the only way to fix it, what is happening is the pipe is attached tightly to a stud, when pipe heats up it needs to expand, so it is forced the expand in a tight spot. This is the noise you hear.

sbmfj 11-18-2009 03:28 PM

In searching for expansion noises, I found this thread, and had one more question. Is it worth fixing, looking into, or leave as is? I have encountered the same problem, where the pipes know when heating in the winter.


Maintenance 6 11-19-2009 07:04 AM

If you can, locate all of the places where the pipe travels through a floor, stud, hanger, etc. Apply a small dab of silicone plumbers grease. You may not be able to get to all of them, but........

sbmfj 11-19-2009 10:24 AM


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