Downstairs apt bath water flow noise

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by tholz, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. tholz

    tholz New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    New York
    Hi,
    I live in an apartment and the our downstairs neighbors take baths and showers late at night. This was never a problem until they installed a new shower body and now we can hear a very loud water rush noise in our apt (the noise is present during the entire shower or bath, not just at startup. It's not water hammer.) When this first started happening, we did a little experiment by replacing their older rainshower head (8+GPM) with a Kohler 2.5GPM head (we used my shower head) and it was dead silent when using the shower, but not the bath. He bought a new rainshower head and the noise is a little more than our "experiment" but totally acceptable. However the problem still persists when using the bath. We've had the shower body replaced already, with only a minimal noise reduction. I'm no plumber, but I'm thinking the reason for the noise reduction when using the new shower head is due to the reduction of water flow thru the system (body, pipes, etc). Is there anything that can be done about the bath noise (it's the same sound as with the old shower head)? I was thinking that installing a reducing coupling 1/2" to 3/8" and then another from 3/8" to 1/2" between the shower body bath output and the actual bath spigot would act as a flow restrictor and reduce the water flow through the shower body and reduce the noise. Is the flawed thinking? The local plumber says it can't be done but was not able to explain why it would not work. Any other advice? What about getting a "high flow" shower body (3/4" pipe in/out)?

    thanks so much for any help!
    Tom
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,930
    Location:
    New England
    Assuming you get the shower to work by a diverter tub spout, putting a restriction in there will cause the showerhead to dribble all the time water is on. That path needs to be unobstructed by restrictions.

    Do you think that the pipes are vibrating? Water flow in itself normally doesn't cause much noise. If the shower valve has in-line shutoffs, they may not be fully opened. Is the noise more of say a whistle, or a lower pitched vibration, or just lots of white noise?
  3. tholz

    tholz New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    New York
    Yes, a diverter tub spout is being used here. I see how a restriction would force water up to the shower head.
    A white noise is a great way to describe it... it's def not a whistle or low pitched vibration. The supply lines do have shut off valves (ball valves) which I'm 99% sure are opened all the way.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,930
    Location:
    New England
    IF any of the connections are threaded, they used teflon tape, and they were sloppy, the tape could be flapping as the water flows. Depending on the amount, it could flutter, changing the flow and creating noises.
  5. tholz

    tholz New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    New York
    100% soldered copper piping.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,930
    Location:
    New England
    beads of solder bouncing around during flow, partially blocking flow can make some nasty noises.
  7. tholz

    tholz New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    New York
    Jim, First off, thank-you for your time thus far. I really appreciate you taking the time to consider my issue.
    I suppose it's possible, but I hear a very similar noise when I run my bath (my shower is quiet), so I'm not sure both would have solder issues. Let's suppose that there is no obstruction in the pipes, would a high flow diverter (3/4" in and out) reduce the velocity (and noise?) within the diverter itself, assuming the existing 1/2" supplies are used and 3/4" piping is used between the diverter and shower head/bath spigot?
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,930
    Location:
    New England
    Don't think that would help. I guess I'm out of suggestions. SOmetimes, you just have to hear the noise to help decide what and where it might be coming from. One off-the-wall thing is the toilet fill valve. SOme of those are a source of weird noises in strange situations. If the apartment has an auxillary pump to boost pressure, that might be affecting things, as well as a defective pressure reduction valve, if there's one present.
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