Loud humming noise in pipes

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by wss, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. wss

    wss New Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Whenever I turn on any water source in the house (shower, washer, flush toilet), there is a loud humming noise (like a foghorn) coming from the pipes. It is loudest right at the main shut off valve inside the house (which is in a closet). As soon as the water source is shut off, the noise disappears. Opening/Closing the valve (globe, I think, maybe gate) to different positions alters the sound, sometimes eliminating it, but it soon reappears. Thoughts?
  2. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    loud noise

    either you got a pressure reduceing valve at the main that is
    humming and needs to be repaired or replaced....or

    you got a ballcock in one of your toilets that is humming....

    not shutting off all the way and actually vibrateing -eventually it will get louder andlouder. If you got the type with an arm and ball, just change them ouit and the problem will most likely cease.
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  4. wss

    wss New Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Doesn't appear to be toilets.

    Took a closer look at the main shut off valve. It appears to be Hammond Gate Valve with soldered ends. "Hammond" appears on one side, and "200 WOG" appears on the other side. Are pressure reducing valve and shut off the same part or should I be looking for a separate pressure reducing valve between curb shut off and inside shut off?

    Saw something called a valve replacement kit at the hardware store, so I shut the water off at the curb and started to disassemble the valve, but got stuck trying to remove the bonnet. Thought it was threaded, but now am not so sure. Applied a lot of pressure, but could not turn it.

    Am I headed in the right direction here? New to plumbing DIY, so go slow with me. :)

  5. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of

    I dont want to be the one to get you into trouble here fella.

    If its just an average gate valve, leave it alone before you get into trouble.

    If their is PRV valve, at the incomming main, it could be where the humming
    originates. Not just the main stop.

    Usually I have found the problem to be one of the old ballcoclks in the toilets .

    Sometimes you got to "catch them" humming. they dont do it 100% of the time. The water "WHISTLES" through them when they are about to fill up.
    I have heard them actually vibrate so loud that it sounded like a jack hammer banging in the pipes.

    The vibrate only when they are just about to completely fill up,, they cant completley shut off and start to whistle....

    and then if you open a faucet somewhere in the home, the change in pressure will help shut of fthe toilet , and the sound will go dormant again.
    Untill the next flush anyway.

    Its just best to change them out with fluidmaster ballcocks, only $5 each and just see if this solves the problem. Get new flexible braided water conecters too. You will have a total investment of about 8 bucks per toilet.
    What more can you ask. cheap, cheap, cheap

    Please , fix the simple , cheap things first , then start looking for more exotic sources in the home.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2005
  6. wss

    wss New Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Thank you, I will try that first.

    I guess the only thing that is confusing me is that I can reproduce the noise anytime simply by turning on a kitchen faucet, washing machine, any of the three toilets in the house, etc., and the noise immediately stops upon turning off the faucet, etc. In addition, I have no random noises at all -- only when a water source is turned on.

    I'll post results when I change the ballcocks.
  7. MattyB

    MattyB New Member

    Aug 20, 2006
    Thanks for hosting the forum

    I think you helped me solve my problem.

    Thanks a lot of hosting the forum. I'm finally getting to a little DIY!

  8. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Jun 12, 2006
    Try this: Turn off the water to your toilets. If the sound goes away, you know it's in one of the toilet ballcocks. Then you can turn on the water to each one, one at a time, until the noise comes back. If you still hear the noise after you shut off the water to your toilets, then it's probably the gate valve.
  9. drlamhoang

    drlamhoang New Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Hissing noise in house plumbing

    Whenver we use water (anywhere) in the house we'd hear a high-pitched hissing noise when we turn the water off. Our builder told us it is normal. We don't believe it. We heard from someone that the noise may be caused by pressure-reduction valves. Some others told us that it was from valves that prevent back flow. We're confused. Could somebody tell us what are those valves for and how to eliminate those hissing sounds. Thank you very much:eek:
  10. drlamhoang

    drlamhoang New Member

    Aug 22, 2006
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    A pressure-reduction valve drops the incoming pressure from the supply down to a user adjustable value. House plumbing doesn't like really high pressures that may be seen in some systems. It somewhat depends on how far you are from the pump or water tower, and the size and usage of the supply.

    A check valve is required in some places, and isn't a bad idea everywhere. It keeps any water that comes into the house from returning to the supply. The idea is, if you have something installed incorrectly, and a hose or pipe can suck in contaminated water, it won't then affect the rest of the people that get water from the main supply.

    A prv usually performs the effect of the check valve, but code may require the check valve anyways.

    Note, if you have either of these things in your house, it creates what is referred to as a closed system. When this exists, you must install an expansion tank near your water heater. With a closed system after you use hot water, the cold replaces it. Once the faucet is closed again, that cold water gets heated back to the storage temp of the heater and expands. This can cause very high pressures in the house and actually cause water to be exhausted from the water heater from the Temperature and Pressure (T&P) safetly valve. If the water has some place to expand into (the expansion tank), then the pressure stays the same.

    A PRV can make the noises you indicate, as can several other things in the house's plumbing. You might be able to isolate it if someone works the water valve, and someone carefully listens down near your water meter, which is typically where the check valve and PRV would be installed, if present.
  12. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Nov 8, 2005
    Hansville, Washington
    Get a longish steel rod and place one end of it on the main valve, and the other end on your earlobe, closing the lobe into the ear -- we're making a quicky mechanic's stethoscope here. Have someone turn on some water somewhere and listen. If it's the valve making the noise, it will be very obvious. If not, you can probe other parts of your plumbing until you track it down. I'm betting on a worn valve. Sometimes they can be silenced temporarily by opening them all the way, giving the handle a little extra oomph at the end. See if it looks like this:


  13. slider

    slider New Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Humming problem solved

    My pipes are in the attic of my house and they woke me up a couple of weeks ago with a loud humming sound. After confirming that it was my pipes rather than a space ship landing on my roof (my first thoughts), I figured I was in for a big repair bill. But then it stopped.

    It just did it again a few minutes ago, so I Googled and found this thread and you guys were correct!!!! I went around the house turning off the toilets and found I had a toilet leaking, I turned off the leaking toilet, no more humming.

    Thanks for the advice. I'm a happy guy, this is something I can actually fix for $ 10, after football season. :) :) :)
  14. mbrewster

    mbrewster New Member

    Jul 15, 2015
    United Kingdom
    I had exactly the same problem- fog horn like sounds that seemed to be coming from everywhere. When I turned taps on the noise subsided, but then came back.

    The issue: the ball cock in the cold water tank in the loft was causing the noise and when the noise started and I went into the loft it was obvious where the sound originated from.

    The solution: I was prepared to replace it if needed, but I just gave it a wiggle and pulled it to the right slightly. Hey presto- problem solved!

    I hope this helps anyone else with a similar issue.
  15. Sathish Babu

    Sathish Babu New Member

    Nov 19, 2017
    Bolingbrook, IL
    I had a loud rattling sound vibrating my entire home, initially thought it was from the furnace motor, or at least that's what the furnace guy implied when I changed the motor, I had this annoying rattling noise for a long time, thought it was some malfunctioning motor somewhere in the home, it
    was never constant, so never bothered to be looked at, this time it was so annoying, tried shutting off the electric mains to know if I can stop it, but it stayed, which led to believe it was from the water pipes, googled it, vola, so many hits, tumed out many have or had these problems, so went around looking for a leaky toilet flush, guess what, found one, shut it and sound disappeared.

    Thank you guys a lot .
  16. AnalogDarwin

    AnalogDarwin New Member

    Nov 24, 2018
    Had the same issue but I've got a Manabloc Modular Manifold Plumbing System.

    Turned off the water to the house a few weeks back and one of the kids flushed the toilet. Not sure what happened but the fog horn hum started shortly thereafter. I suspect some air got trapped in the line.

    Turned on every valve in the house including faucets, showers, washing machine, dishwasher and flushed every toilet. Turned off everything and no more hum.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2018
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