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House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 9:56 AM

Oh boy. I have read so many poorly worded and ill-formed questions, I am now nervous about submitting my own.

Here goes:

My house is on piers, so I have access to the plumbing underneath. I have recently inspected all the connections and found no leaks.

I have two bathrooms and one water heater. One bathroom is approximately 40 feet away from said water heater and the other (bathroom) is adjacent (twelve feet of pipe to the garden tub). All on the same level.

The following occurs only in the bathroom furthest from the hot water heater.

When turning on the hot water in the far bathroom (sink and/or shower), there is a short vibration in the pipe (only after the line hes been left alone for a while). The duration of this sound is less than a second and is similar to "hammer" in an old multi-story building. This particular house happens to be a single story structure.

My first thought was that there was air in the line and that the sound was caused by water forcing a small amount of air through the faucet as the valve is opened. However, as the line is under pressure, I cannot reason how air could accumulate in the line.

This is a very uncivilized problem for someone who claims to be an Engineer, and frankly I am embarrassed by it.

In a miserable attempt to save face I will say that the house is new to my family and the problem was only brought to my attention this weekend.

There, now you have it. Please feel free to pound me down with all the criticism I deserve for being vague and imprecise. I know I have it coming.

Any suggestions regarding my plumbing question would incidentally be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

-A-

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#1

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 10:14 AM

No reason to be nervous.

The problem might simply be due to vibration. You might check the water lines and make sure they are securely clamped to the floor joists.

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#2

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 10:41 AM

Try turning off the water at the street. Then turn on all your faucets. Then turn the water back on. Then let the water run a few minutes and then turn off the faucets. Supposedly this procedure will clear the pipes of air.

If the problem persists there are cylindrical shaped plumbing thingies that you can but on your pipes to lessen the hammering. You can get them at any hardware store.

And keep saying to yourself over and over, "People like me just the way I am."

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 12:54 PM

This sounds like a probable solution. Also, it is something I could try without too much effort (i.e. going under the house).

As to the "people like me" statement : I know you have seen the blood-in-the-water frenzy that occurs when a question is not up to snuff. I myself have been critical on occasion. It is for this reason that I am nervous of the impending pounce. I heeded not the warning to "judge not," and was therefor prepared to be judged.

Turn about, last time I checked, was still fair play .

-A-

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 3:15 PM

WELL THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE SEARCHED THE ARCHIVES SINCE THIS QUESTION HAS ALREADY BEEN ASKED AND ANSWERED MORE THAN ONCE!!!!!!!!

...ahhh, that's the release I was looking for.

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 3:26 PM

oh man, oh! brought tears to my eyes! cr@p that was funny!

Thanks, I needed that.

-A-

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#27
In reply to #4

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 11:06 AM

Oh, come ON now - it wasn't worded all THAT badly!

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#3

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 12:41 PM

Could be heat expansion as the pipe moves in the retainers holding it. It would only do that at first turning it on once the pipe got hot the noise would stop. Each time after it would not make a noise as its all ready hot. I am curious to know if the pipe is open under the house as its up on piers how much insulation packed around it.

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#5

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 1:13 PM

The post is just fine....except I don't think you say what material the pipes are made of.... I shalln't castigate you for though (unless you pay of course )

Assuming the pipe work is copper, maybe its an expansion problem caused by the hot water flowing in? Replace the pipe with plastic and push-fit connectors, (quick and easy) let the pipe curve a little, the plastic is more flexible and has a lower coefficient of expansion, and the curve will absorb a little movement.
Being a better insulator it will also loose less heat... a win-win situation.
If you happen to find a Racoon with a hammer living under the house ... bear in mind this could be a related problem

Del

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#6

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 1:58 PM

Del may be onto something, although I'd suspect a 'possum rather than a 'coon. Here in the Great White North, we've had 'coon problems and a lot of beavers, although they prefer the older wooden pipes. Lately, we're seeing 'possums as well. Wonder if it has to do with Dame Edna's visit a few years ago?

I'd go with adding some clamps to secure the pipes to your joists. That should prevent the little beggars from getting their paws around the pipe while they're beating on it. Where DO they buy those little hammers?

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#8

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 3:20 PM

Following on from Del, What you could try is cutting a small section of the copper pipe leading to the second bathroom and put in it's place a length of the now so popular PVC pipe! There are connectors ready made for this! This would act as a kind of expansion joint!

I only have to look at my own questions to see that your question is within the realms of understanding! So, what are the pipes made of? Are you mains or gravity fed from a header tank? Etc. You know we like to know all the details! That's what makes us so.....so...........us!

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 3:31 PM

Mr. T.B.

Whew, tough break on the name. Anyway, plastic pipe all around (gray PVC?). Water main feed from the city. Probably grav assist pressure from a tower a few miles away.

-A-

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 3:42 PM

It's the cross I opt to bear! Although I must admit, I like the '-' around the 'A' must have taken you all day to think of that name!!!

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 9:21 PM

TB,

I have a hard to pronounce name, so for the sake of civility in my professional life I have shortened it to one syllable. Further, for the sake of anonymity, I continued the trend here and reduced it to a single letter.

Not that it matters a flip. The only reason I bother to explain it here, is that. . . it's an inside joke that only I get and. . . it gets so lonely laughing all by myself.

ok, back to work!

-A-

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#17
In reply to #12

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 2:05 AM

Don't worry -A-, I'm laughing with you!! I hope you realise that Mr. Truman Brain is only fictitious but don't tell him that!

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#29
In reply to #12

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 11:14 AM

And all this time, I was thinking it was a quote from a celebrity...

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#16
In reply to #10

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 1:37 AM

A,

You don't say if hammering is on hot or cold line. I have same trouble and is because cold water line is cracked though does not leak because pressure is too low. But upon opening faucet air is educted and hammer briefly occurs.

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#20
In reply to #16

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 8:15 AM

"When turning on the hot water in the far bathroom (sink and/or shower), "

As to your suggestion, I will take a look for that. Thanks.

-A-

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#28
In reply to #8

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 11:10 AM

LOL!!! And there's nobody anywhere more like us...than......us! (This may well be the good news y'know...)

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#13

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 10:17 PM

Water pipes rattle when turning the taps on. (Pipes are PVC)

Air in lines has been dealt with by earlier suggestions. But seems not likely.

Water hammer (Long lines of water in pipe trying to change velocity) might be the cause, but not likely since usually happens at turn OFF rather than turn on.

Possible cause is washer "rattle" as water rushes around it to fill and pressurize the outlet. Seems to be related to the clearance between the washer stem and the inside of the tap spindle.

Check with a local plumbing store and they will be able to suggest alternate washers.

Could also be in the tempering valve near the heater, but that would be heard when other taps are used.

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#14

Re: House plumbing question.

04/14/2008 11:30 PM

Before doing anything radical to alter the existing pipes, I suggest you just try adjusting the main control valve to the structure by opening or closing it just a bit. Sometimes it is a matter of changing the pressure or flow volume a tiny bit to eliminate the valve vibration. If that doesn't work, then the next step to try would be to replace the offending valve, if that is where the vibration is located.

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#15

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 12:00 AM

The things we know it cant be quite often turn out to be things that are.

When heated water cools even if under pressure it gives of air bubbles caused by the cooling effect, these can be dispersed during water travel to the faucet and hardly noticable at the tap.

For some reason this seems more prominant whenever there are bends in the pipe.

Simply checking is to squeeze a hose over the faucet and run it down under a jar inverted in water, if there is air it will show.

Good luck.

Peter

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#22
In reply to #15

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 8:22 AM

DaS,

Interesting. . . This would be a good experiment for my kids.

Thanks,

-A-

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#18

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 4:54 AM

If the problem persists after carrying out the excellent advice above, it might prove worthwhile to improvise a little hydraulic "accumulator" into the pipework as a vibration dampener.

  • Put a T into the pipe and arrange for a capped-off stub pipe to project vertically from it, thereby trapping a little air bubble within the stub. As the pressure in the system fluctuates, the bubble will compress and expand to accomodate, reducing the tendency of the system to vibrate, and making it do so at a much lower frequency.

High quality posting!

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#21
In reply to #18

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 8:20 AM

PWSlack,

This I may try even if the above works out.

Thanks,

-A-

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#23
In reply to #18

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 8:56 AM

Ya PW. I've done this and it always works. It's cheap, relatively easy, fast, and inexpensive.

ga 2 u

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#19

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 5:56 AM

It is the expansion of the copper pipe..

Replace with PEX and use quick-connect...

www.seatechinc.com

good luck

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#24

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 9:37 AM

Several, several years ago, I worked for a old plumber. We went to a old house that had the same problem, and he told me to crawl under the house (crawlspace) and find the bull-head T, cut the bull-head out and hook the line up correctly. That solved the problem.

Maybe he was lucky, or maybe he was good, but you could have a bull-headed T in your line.

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#25

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 10:05 AM

I had the same problem in the past. I managed to solve it by securing the pipe to the floor joist every 3 ft and replacing the 90 degree connections with a 5D radius elbow.

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#26

Re: House plumbing question.

04/15/2008 10:40 AM

www.irrigationtutorials.com/waterhammer.htm

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-A- (7); Anonymous Poster (2); bhankiii (2); Bluestone (1); Bricktop (1); bwire (1); DaS Energy (1); Del the cat (1); EnviroMan (3); Graebeard (1); inlgh (1); Just an Engineer (1); Mr. Truman Brain (3); ozzb (1); PWSlack (1); Skeeter (1); slong (1)

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