Fix-It Friday: Noisy, Leaky, Or Blocked Up Pipes? Norma Tackles Common Plumbing Problems

Woman checking the sink
Fix-It FridayHome Improvement 2 Comments

I always say it; noisy (rattles and roars or loud bangs and hard knocks), leaky, or blocked up (and clogged up) plumbing are consistently the most common household issues. Here are a couple of solutions for two of our WYSK readers who are struggling with the kind of troublesome plumbing problems many of us can relate to…

“We remodeled the downstairs of a bi-level home adding bedrooms, a kitchen and enlarging a bathroom adding a shower. We have an air chamber or something on the sink in the new kitchen as a vent. The builder hand-built a manifold so we could get to the shut off valves. Now we hear both a machine gun like banging and a slow rhythmic noise in 2 or 3 other places especially in the mornings when the water is first used. We have a well and the pressure is 40 lbs at max. All of the pipes and valves are CPVC. No one seems to know what to do. Help.” – WYSK Reader Linda

NV: Hey there! If this noise started after the renovation and the new manifold was installed, I would go after the builder/plumber that did the work.

For those who aren’t familiar, a plumbing manifold is a kind of command center of water shut-off valves to the entire house.  It’s a really helpful system that can easily shut down water to any given fixture/appliance when needed, making it easier for work to be done, plus diminishes risks of leaks at joints and fittings because there are less of them.

As for the air gap at the sink, from what you’re describing, that’s there for the dishwasher to drain properly.

banging pipes

My guess is, from when the work was done and lines opened, air got trapped somewhere in your pipes. Have you tried bleeding the lines in the entire house?

Here’s how to do that as covered in one of my previous Fix-It Friday columns, but in your case, be sure all of the shut-offs at your manifold are in the open position.

Also, try to find exactly where the noise is coming from…this could reveal what’s specifically causing the problem behind the ceiling or wall.

If these approaches don’t do the trick, like I first stated, go after the company that did the work in the first place, and make them accountable for your new noisy plumbing!

“Hello. When the hot water faucet is turned on the pipe knocks and not always do I get water. How do I fix this? The cold works fine and no noise occurs. All other bathrooms and sinks work fine. Thanks.” – WYSK Reader M.

NV: Hello, M! Sounds to me like there’s a problem with the hot water valve in that particular faucet. To test this theory, I would shut off the HOT water at the shut-off valve under the sink, then disconnect the supply line from the shut-off to the faucet.


With the supply line now disconnected, gently turn the shut-off on to test that the hot water shoots out from the valve with no restriction. Do it fast and prepare to get wet! (Place a bucket or low receptacle underneath to catch the water).

If this water is flowing, it’s clearly the hot water valve of your faucet that needs to be repaired/replaced. This fix will depend on what kind of faucet you have. If you’re up to the challenge, send photos of your faucet and I’ll help guide you through. If not, armed with the knowledge of already knowing what the problem is, call in a pro!

Norma sig

Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.

Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.

Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.


  • katrina kat

    The bathtub pipe from bathroom is connected with the kitchen. Whenever I wash dishes ,an awful smell comes in the bathroom and a little water in the bathtub. What do I do? So far no plumber could help me.

    • Norma “Toolbelt Diva” Vally

      Hi there katrina! Sounds like a drainage and pitch problem.

      To explain, there’s a p-trap under every fixture that holds water in it to create a barrier that “traps”sewer gasses from backing up into the house. If your kitchen waste-line is backing up into your tub, it’s breaching the trap by back flowing up the tub’s waste-line…likely due to a clog and/or poorly pitched waste-line.

      See what happens if you close the drain (as if you were going to fill the tub) and do the dishes. The smell may come through the overfill opening of the tub, but the closed drain may reveal a slow/clogged kitchen drain.

      Here’s what I’d do to correct the problem: manually clean out the kitchen waste-line — snake it yourself or call in a pro. Then use a natural drain cleaner like Drainbo on a regular basis to maintain clean and properly draining waste-lines.