Ticking/tapping noise PEX baseboard lines

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by pkovo, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. pkovo

    pkovo New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    NJ
    Recent 2nd story addition. 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. Heated off existing boiler, one new zone with PEX running to Slant fin radiators.

    Heats great, but there are several spots where the PEX in the floor/ceiling makes quite a racket. It's a ticking or a tapping exactly like the sound that starts 24 seconds in on this youtube video, but mine is worse, and does it in several spots. Of course, the noisiest spot ishappens to be over my bedroom downstairs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sdiEdwUO7A

    the addition was a mix of pro work, and DIY, with the lions share going to the pros. This work was done by a plumber, and I didn't see the lines in this area before the deck went on, although even if I had, I wouldn't have known much about it.

    After doing some research, my guess is one or some of the following, but I know little about PEX:

    Connectors too tight
    Joists drilled too tight
    Routed sloppy so it taps against surrounding framing

    Am I on the right track here? The noise is annoying, but my real concern is weather it's something I need to be worred about, more than it just being annoying. I seem to be the only one really bothered by it.

    The worst of the noise is on the longest run that goes perpendicular to the joists along the front of the house. Seems to be the worst on the ends near the areas where it likely makes 90 degree bends.

    If it matters, the boiler is a Burnham v73 with the aquastat high temp set to 180.

    Thanks for any help in advance.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    Any of the plastic pipes expand and contract a moderate amount with temperature change, and that size change needs to be both understood and accommodated to prevent rubbing noises. Sounds like they did not do that, either by not using the proper guides or hole sizes. Not all that much you can easily do about it now.

    In the worst case, if it's also going around a corner or something sharp, that movement, over time, could wear a hole in it. This isn't exclusive to pex, and it can happen to pvc, abs, and even copper. At least pex isn't subject to stress fractures like some other materials.
  3. pkovo

    pkovo New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    NJ
    Thanks Jim. The thought of it rubbing enough to get a hole is not at all comforting.

    As much as I dont want to, I think im going to have to address it. Will see where I get with the plumber first, but worst case i'll have an unwanted fall project.

    I believe the worst spot falls below an AC utility room which only has plywood subfloor. Im tempted to go cut a section out right now and at least see what its actually rubbing against.

    If its simply a case where he cut all the holes too tight, I could have a bit of a chore as there are alot of joists up there...the original ceiling joists and the bew ones. The originals were 2x6, and the new are 2x10. I dont even know if he drilled theough both or went over the 2x6s.

    Theres also some AC ducts that are in the area, so they could be part of the problem. For all i know the ac guys could have run their ducts after the plumber and the ducts could be putting tension on the pex.

    Either way, I cant see how im going to get out of opening some ceilings/floors.
  4. jim mills

    jim mills New Member

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    nebraska
    I get that all the time. "I hear water dripping in my wall". Tic tic tic...
  5. pkovo

    pkovo New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    NJ
    I would be OK with a little here and there, but what I have seems extreme. I'm going to investigate through the floor upstairs later this week.

    Took this video this with a phone yesterday laying on my bed. noise starts around 30 seconds in

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7jcJwsgIPI&feature=youtu.be
  6. pkovo

    pkovo New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    NJ
    I accessed a bit of it in the one area that doesn't have a finished floor. Found the holes drilled through new 2x10 2nd floor joists are plenty big enough, but nothing inserted to keep the PEX from contacting the wood. Also the pex just lays on top of the 2x6 joists. So it rubs a 2x10 and a 2x6 every 16".

    The worst spots are the bends, as there's a little pressure placed on the pex against the wood due to the curve. I ran the heat, and in the spot I was, I could hold the PEX just slightly off the wood and no noise. Amazing, how it really doesn't have to be tight against the wood to make noise. I guess it's the two materials are noisy against one another.

    long story short, i would like to address the worst offenders myself, but I'm not sure what I should use at this point. Any suggestions?

    One person online said carpet scraps work well in areas where it's running parrallel with the joists in spots it's contacting. I could try that. Another said a plastic soda bottle cut up, another said plastic sheeting like 3 mil poly. I would be up for buying adaptersthe correct parts also, but I suspect trying to put actual grommets in now would be difficult if not impossible with the PEX already in.

    Open to any/all suggestions
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