With all the environmental noise in our high-tech society, it’s little wonder that peace and quiet have become highly priced luxuries. Noise ordinances are regularly sought and passed to control everything from the volume of recreational watercraft to the backfire of car engines. In most neighborhoods, residents are restricted from making noise or playing stereos loudly before 8 AM or after 10 PM as a courtesy to other neighbors. There is even a Noise Pollution Clearinghouse that exists on the Internet to help reduce noise pollution and create an awareness of its various sources.
But noise isn’t restricted to the great outdoors. Inside, there are equally as many sources of noise disturbance, including squeaky floors or doors, rattling windows, a dripping faucet or a toilet that continues to run. Manufacturers have invested heavily into technologies that make today’s dishwashers, washing machines and even refrigerators much quieter. Homeowners routinely pay extra for additional soundproofing procedures and insulation between living spaces.
With all the noise to deal with, it’s easy to overlook one primary source – the home’s plumbing system. Plumbing pipe can be the source of two types of noise – the sound of water flowing through the pipes and what is commonly referred to as water hammer, the banging or knocking sound that’s heard within copper piping systems due to pressure surges that occur, for example, when a shower is turned off suddenly or when a washing machine changes cycles. A shock wave results as the fluid inside the pipe decelerates sharply, causing the pressure to rise and the fluid to compress.
Unfortunately for homeowners, traditional copper pipe is rigid and, therefore, not capable of expanding. Compounding the problem, copper has very poor insulating properties; consequently, any noise in the system is transmitted throughout the home. An alternative material, CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride), is not only less rigid than copper, it also has superior insulating properties.
In an effort to determine how much noise results and is transmitted in metallic pipe and how much noise could be reduced with the installation of a CPVC piping system that offers superior insulating qualities, NSF International, a well recognized, independent testing lab, conducted testing designed to compare noise levels between FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipe and copper pipe.
These tests documented the noise level (average of three tests) for the FlowGuard Gold 3/4 inch pipe at 35.9 dBA versus 55.4 for the 3/4 inch Type M Rigid copper pipe. To put the 19.5 dBA sound level difference between the two pipes in perspective, it was concluded by NSF that the copper pipe was four times louder (as the human ear interprets sound level) than the FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipe.
To compare the difference another way, consider that the human whisper at 25 dBA approximates the noise level of water running through a FlowGuard Gold pipe, versus a washing machine at 65 dBA, which is closer to the level of noise of water flowing through a copper pipe.
Other common noise levels register as follows:
- Rustle of leaves – less than 20 decibels
- Normal human conversation – between 60 and 70 decibels
- Busy street traffic – between 70 and 80 decibels
- Locomotive – approximately 90 decibels
- Jack hammer – approximately 100 decibels
- Rocket ship – between 110 and 120 decibels
In addition to its quieter operation, FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipe has been gaining in popularity and is being installed in more homes for other reasons, as well. The foremost reason is reliability. Unlike copper which is subject to corrosion and pinhole leaks that can lead to premature failure, CPVC pipe will never pit or corrode. This also means it will never leach harmful metals into the home’s drinking water. In addition, it will never scale like copper, which allows it to retain full water – carrying capacity. And it’s easier and safer to install because it utilizes and innovative, one-step solvent cement bond which does not require a torch for soldering.
To learn more how the selection of the right plumbing product can minimize noise in your home, as well as the many other benefits of CPVC plumbing, just refer to Talon Plumbing.