Some washing machines are noisy, and you learn to live with it. But when the plumbing pipes connected to the washer shake and rattle—known as water hammer—you can’t just tune it out. Consumer Reports found a fix for this problem. 

Fast-closing washer valves cause water hammer. It can get so bad that it could possibly damage the pipes or fixtures attached to the pipes. "Not all washing machines create water hammer, and not all plumbing systems will experience water hammer from a washing machine with fast-closing valves," says Bernie Deitrick, a Consumer Reports engineer.

But if your new washer does shake the pipes, first try an inline water hammer arrester with hose fittings. The $10 Sioux Chief Mini-Rester 660-HB Water Hammer Arrester (shown) solved the problem in our tests. If an arrester doesn’t eliminate the water hammer, reduce peak flow by partially closing the water-supply valves. The washer will fill more slowly but it will still fill to the right water level. Next consider a larger arrester or pressure reducing valves, but you’ll probably need a plumber to install those.

Sioux Chief MiniRester is a cure for water hammer.

If you're shopping for a new washer, check out our washing machine Ratings and be sure to note how they did in our noise tests. 

Making Music Out of a Washing Machine

Rattling pipes aren't music to the ears, but an album made from sounds entirely produced by a top-loading washer is. Take a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II top-loader and add the conceptual electronics duo Matmos, and the result is an album made solely of sounds from the washing machine. In the Ultimate Care II video, the settings knob grinds, water splashes, the machine chugs and clanks, and electronic beeps alert the wash is done. “The album is a disarmingly enveloping ride, with flickers of techno, noise and house music that dissolve into an unbroken, 38-minute arc,” wrote Nate Chinen in The New York Times.