Plumbing chase after foam insulation (C) Daniel Friedman Eric Galow Galow HomesBuilding Plumbing Noise Sources
Diagnose, & Cure Plumbing Noise Problems in Buildings
     

  • PLUMBING SYSTEM NOISE SOURCES - CONTENTS: Building & house plumbing noise sources: a diagnostic catalog of sources of building plumbing noises: lists of causes, cures, and detection methods sounds coming from plumbing pipes, equipment, controls, fixtures
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about diagnosing the source and finding the cure for noises or sounds in or around buildings and their systems
  • REFERENCES

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Building plumbing noise troubleshooting: a list of sources of noises or sounds traced to the building plumbing system or plumbing equipment & fixtures.

These articles discuss building noise control: how to inspect, diagnose & cure noise or sound problems in homes or commercial buildings.

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Plumbing System Noises in buildings, Causes, Cures: list of sources of plumbing noise

Noisy plastic drain waste vent piping (C) Daniel FriedmanThis article lists sources of plumbing system-related noises in buildings, providing help in identifying types of plumbing noises and tracing them to their source.

For the broad topic of controlling plumbing noises in buildings
see SOUND CONTROL for PLUMBING

Plumbing System Noises in buildings include these categories

  • Banging pipes, creaks, rattles, and vibrations:
    see WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
  • Clanging, ringing sounds in buildings are often traced to loose water supply piping, water hammer in supply piping - see
  • Drain piping noises from clogged or partly clogged drains such as gurgling or bubblind drain sounds -
    see CLOGGED DRAIN DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
  • Photograph of a house with missing plumbing ventsDrips at plumbing fixtures may make an obvious drip or splash sound. But dripping water can be tricky to track down. Don't forget to consider
    • A small water supply leak inside of a building cavity can produce a noise that is hard to track down. Supply pipe leaks may be continuous (and thus are eventually discovered by water stains or mold) or intermittent, such as a leak around a tub or shower control that drips into the wall cavity only when the valve is turned "on".
    • A drain piping leak inside of a building cavity can also produce a noise that is hard to track down. But a drain drip noise should not be present when no fixtures have water running into them. But don't forget that a quietly running toilet can also produce a drip or other plumbing problems downstream from the toilet in the building drain piping.
  • Plumbing Fixture noises at drains, gurgling, glug glug sounds, burbling, bubbling during drainage when sinks, tubs, or showers drain, or when a toilet is flushed - see
  • Jetted tubs, whirlpool baths, spas: motor & pump noise transmission
    See JETTED TUB & SPA NOISE ISSUES
  • Plumbing water supply piping noises include
    • Leaks in water pipes outside of the building but in water supply piping coming to the building from a municipal water main or city water piping can produce a humming, hissing, or ringing sound in the building. If you turn off the main water shutoff at the building and listen with a mechanic's stethoscope to the water pipes on the street side of the shutoff valve, comparing this sound to pipes in the building you can identify this problem.

      See LEAK TYPES, WATER SUPPLY or DRAIN PIPES and

      see WELL PIPING LEAK DIAGNOSIS.
    • Running water in the building that is unanticipated, such as a running toilet or intermittent cycling water pump (private well systems) will produce intermittent water pipe noises.

      See TOILET RUNS CONTINUOUSLY and

      see INTERMITTENT CYCLING WATER PUMPS.
    • Water hammer noise: banging or clanking sounds when water faucets are shut off -

      see WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
    • Water pipe transmission of vibrations in well pumps or other pumps used in the plumbing system -

      see NOISE, PLUMBING CHECKLIST for details.
    • Whistling shrieking water pipe noises -
      See WATER SUPPLY PIPE WHISTLE NOISE

  • Water pump noises: hiss, hum, motor sounds, clunks, or thunks: at water pumps or well pumps. Water pumps can be quite noisy, depending on the pump type and model, and the pump location. If the well pump is a submersible unit located inside the well, normally the only noise you'll observe in the building is the clicking of the pump control relay(s) that turn the pump on or off, and possibly a modest sound of water entering the water pressure tank or building piping.
    • Water pump noises change from loud and rattling to a more quiet hum if a pump has lost prime (contains air instead of water) and then regains its prime (contains water). Running a pump "dry" can also destroy it.
      See WATER PUMP LIFE EXPECTANCY.
    • But if your well pump is located indoors the pump motor sound can be loud and disturbing. We do not recommend simply surrounding the pump or covering it with fiberglass insulation in contact with the pump or water tank, because condensation can lead to a mold problem.

      But enclosing a well pump in a utility room that has benefited from sound control insulation can make a big reduction in pump noise heard in the rest of the structure.

      See SOUND CONTROL in BUILDINGS and also

      See NOISE, PLUMBING CHECKLIST for details about well pump sound transmission through air or through water piping.
    • See INTERMITTENT CYCLING WATER PUMPS for an explanation of water pumps that turn on unexpectedly.
    • See SHORT CYCLING WATER PUMP or SHORT CYCLING DIAGNOSIS TABLE if the well pump is turning on and off too frequently
    • See WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING if the well pump simply won't stop running at all
    • Hissing noise of air escaping at water tanks: air escaping from the air volume control valve on some water pressure tanks, such as the U.S. Gauge Type 310WJ Air Volume Controls makes a hissing noise and is normal but should only occur on occasion, not constantly. Otherwise there is a problem putting too much air into the water tank.

      See WATER TANK AIR VOLUME CONTROLS.
    • A "thunk" or "clunk" sound heard around the water pressure tank or water pressure tank controls can be caused by check valve, control, or piping troubles.

      See WATER PUMP NOISES for details.
  • Water pressure tank and water storage tank noises:
    • Bubbling and gurgling at the water pressure tank is usually air in the well piping system; look for a leak in the well piping system or low water levels in the well.

      See AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES
    • Clicking at the water pressure tank, especially if the well pump is submersible (in the well and nowhere near the tank itself) is more likely the water pump pressure control relay clicking in and out to turn the pump on and off. If the clicking is rapid, every few seconds, your well pump is short-cycling and needs repair.

      See SHORT CYCLING WATER PUMP
    • Squeals and shrieks from water pressure tank: A squealing water pressure tank sound is often due to water passing through a restricted valve or pipe clog.

      A high pitched shriek or whine also occurs during fill-ups of water tanks whose water level is controlled by a float. In that case the noise seems to come from a combination of stick float mechanism that may not fully open the fill valve and thus a partial restriction in the water line.

      Shrieking from a water pressure tank that incorporates a bladder may be due to a partly collapsed bladder or obstruction at the tank entrance fittings.
  • Running toilets - may produce a high pitched sound, or may be silent but sill running
  • SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS may include pumps that produce noise in the building - see Pump Noises above.
  • Plumbing drain piping or plumbing fixture noise diagnosis and cure - see
  • Plumbing Supply piping noises, including a high-pitched hissing or whistling sound may be heard as water runs through building supply piping. This sound should stop immediately when you turn off any fixture that is running water in the building. You may be able to stop or reduce plumbing supply piping noise by changing the water system pressure at a municipal water supply valve.

    Try first just slightly reducing the incoming water pressure.

    See WATER PRESSURE REGULATOR ADJUSTMENT. We have also corrected this noise by slightly closing the main water shut off valve at a municipal supply to adjust the incoming water flow rate.

    If your water pipes are making a banging or clanging sound at the moment when water is turned off,

    see WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
  • Plumbing vent piping-caused plumbing system noises and odors -
    At PLUMBING DRAIN VENTS we explain the basics of proper plumbing vent piping and how errors cause trap siphonage, odors, and noises. See
  • Water heater noises:
    see WATER HEATER NOISE DIAGNOSIS, CURE - identify and cure noises at water heaters such as rumbling, clanking, burbling, hissing, and clinking noises observed at water heaters. Also there may be noises at the water heater due to oil or gas burner problems.

    See OIL BURNER NOISE SMOKE ODORS.
  • Water tank noises: Bubbling sounds if air is being forced into the water tank from an air leak in well piping, low well water level, or from an air volume control. Hissing noise of air escaping at water tanks:
    see WATER TANK AIR VOLUME CONTROLS.
  • Other advice about controlling normal plumbing noises in buildings by controlling sound transmission is
    at SOUND CONTROL for PLUMBING.

 

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PLUMBING SYSTEM NOISE SOURCES at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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