Groaning pipes

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Candice80, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Candice80

    Candice80 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    California
    In the last few months I have noticed that when the hot water is turned on to an infrequently used shower (but not the bath faucet) the pipes groan and rattle. This sound and vibration immediately ceases when the diverter is switched back to the tub or the water is turned off. Cold water does not make any noise.
    I have tired a few suggestions that I found on the web such as taking off the shower head to clear air and shutting off the hot water and draining all of the lines in the house. So far nothing has worked (I am so glad that one of those links was to this forum.) I am not very experienced with plumbing and the sound and vibration really concerns me.
    The fixtures seem kind of old. Since this has been happening it also seems like the water pressure the the shower has gone down.


    Any ideas out there?

    Thanks
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I woud check and see if you have a pressure reducing valve.

    It sounds like it may be in failure.

    It should be located near where your water enters the house and it will have an adjustment screw sticking out of it.

    If you have one purchase a pressure gauge that will attatch to your outside faucet and test the water pressure with nothing turned on in the house then turn on a tub faucet and see what the pressure drops to.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    If this is a basic old 2 handle ( or 3 handle) shower, you could have a loose washer on the hot stem, which causes vibration when turned on. In this example, if you open the handle wide open, does it go away?

    If it is a single handle, the problem is probably elsewhere, such as the pressure regulator mentioned,
  4. Candice80

    Candice80 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    California
    Jimbo-
    It is a 2 handle shower with a 3rd handle for going between the shower and bath, but opening the handle wide does not make the noise go away.

    Cass-
    We did have a pressure reducing valve put in when we bought the house about a year ago. The outside pressure was reading about 85psi and all of the faucets in the house were leaking when we were looking at the house. We are not having problems anywhere else in the house though... I will look into getting a pressure gauge to check on the pressure drop.


    Thank you both so much for your help.
  5. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    I would atleast replace the washers on the three handle valve. This would be a good starting point. I don't believe it is a pressure problem, because it would be hot and cold.

    The old three handle tub/shower valves have washers. These have a screw holding them in place and when the screw gets old it loosens. The washers breaks down also causing it to loosen. This happens more on the hot side because it's hot water.
    They are very old I'm sure. I'm thinking screw head that held the hot washer is lodged in the valve body.

    If this was my house I just bought I would replace the tub/shower valve to a new single handle pressure balanced valve
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    If the pressure every where else in the house is normal then I doubt it is the PRV.

    I mis read your first post and thought you said the pressure drop was at all faucets in the house.

    I think jimbo is onthe right track. It does sound like a lose washer.
  7. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Hey guys,

    I have a similar issue in my 8 year old home, only it has to do with nearly all of the water faucets in my house. It most noticeable when running the upstairs or downstairs bathtubs. It seemingly came from nowhere, as 8 years have gone by with no abnormal plumbing noises at all. Now, all of a sudden, it sounds like my home was built on an Indian burial ground and the spirits want their land back. :)

    I'd appreciate any help you could throw my way. Also, any comment as to why it appears to be the hot water that is the culprit vs. just water in general? Nothing I have tried makes the noise go away, but eventually, after maybe 5 mins of filling the tub, the noise abates.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
  8. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Any ideas, guys? I asked one plumber who was at my house and he theorized it was worn down innards on one of the toilets that was causing a pressure drop and was vibrating. Well, we tested that theory after he left and there was no doubt that the noise was NOT coming from any of the four toilets in the house.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
  9. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    It appears that my groaning is on the hot water side of the downstairs master tub only. I'm going to try to order a new cartridge for that Moen roman tub faucet and see if that solves the issue. If not, I need to cut off the caulk holding the access panel for this tub and see what I can find out looking at the guts "underneath the hood" to see what I can see.

    Regards,
    Jeff
  10. dvfx

    dvfx New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    LA CA
    Hey there!
    did you ever find a solution to this? I had my plumbing redone about 5 years ago and just in the last few months my HOT water only is making a whining/groaning sound when I turn it on full. It lasts for about 30 seconds then subsides. I have pressure reducer, tankless wh, and my pressure was pretty high but recently reduced it. the noise still persists. It happens when any fixture is used...tub, shower, washer. I really hope it's not pinhole leaks or something but I fear it may be because of air in the pipes.
    Any ideas or solutions would be a big help. I'm not a plumber but a very competent DiYer.
    thanks
    DJ
  11. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    DJ,

    Well, the long and short of it is that I ended up having the copper pipes that were sweated to my bathtub fixtures replaced with flexline while we were doing the bathroom remodel. All the fixtures and sinks were replaced, as well. I don't know which, if any, of these "fixed" the issue, but it seems to have disappeared. That being said, I think I have some serious "air in the lines" issues now, as when the washing machine runs, I can hear the pipes banging and crashing around inside the walls and ceiling. I'm not sure what, if anything, can be done to solve this, so I'd be happy to hear thoughts.

    Good luck!

    Regards,
    Jeff
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,059
    Location:
    New England
    AIr in the pipes doesn't do that. What you need is to install a pair of hammer arrestors on the supply to the WM. Any valve that can turn off fast can cause this (ice makers, WM, some toilet refill valves). http://www.siouxchief.com/Supply/Arresters-And-Trap-Primers/Water-Hammer-Arresters2 is the sort of thing I'm talking about. There is a special version for a WM that just screws on after removing the hose...then, you install the hose to the thing. They're available at the big box stores and any plumbing or hardware store worth their salt.
  13. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Jim,

    Thanks so much for that info! Given that I am about as handy as a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest when it comes to plumbing, is this something that I should have a qualified plumber install where my water line attaches to my washing machine, or is this just something that gets screwed and not sweated to make the connection? If it's just a matter of screwing it on, no problem. It appears from that website you linked below that I would need the female compression tee mini arrester, does that sound correct to you?

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,059
    Location:
    New England
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  15. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Thanks, Jim. I picked up a pair of these thanks to your recommendation. I hope to install them tomorrow night when I have some free time and can wedge myself into the overgrown closet I call a utility room in my house. I will definitely let you know about the install process and their operation. Thanks!

    Regards,
    Jeff
  16. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Well, good news, bad news on this. It appears that installing the water hammer arresters did diminish the sounds of the pipes banging around in the walls, but they still make some reasonable racket in the newly remodeled master bath. I installed them on the washing machine itself, as the instructions indicated rather than to the bibs coming out of the wall. So it's a step in the right direction, but didn't totally fix the issue, at least in master next to wear I sleep. :(

    Regards,
    Jeff
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,059
    Location:
    New England
    Is this still from the WM? Or, when other things turn on and off? For example, the ice maker of the fridge can do the same thing, and the solution is the same - a hammer arrestor. Some toilets turn off quite fast, and can cause it, and, you may have other things in the house with solonoid valves - say your sprinkler system, etc. Also, if the pipes in the house aren't properly anchored, it can make it worse.

    Some shower valve designs say to install an arrestor, but that is often overlooked by the installer. That one is a bit harder to overcome cleanly. At least some wall would need to be torn out, hopefully, not a tiled one for access to install one.
Similar Threads: Groaning pipes
Forum Title Date
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog Can I insulate a wall with hot/cold pipes? Aug 12, 2014
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog Water in pipes Jun 30, 2014
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog New Shower Fixture Created Noisy Pipes Apr 22, 2014
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog Connection of Water Intake Pipes to Shower Valve May 16, 2013
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog How to Clean & Sterilize "Whirlpool" style Tub Pipes and Jets ? Mar 4, 2013

Share This Page