Why Oh Why Do My Plumbing Pipes 'vibrate'??????

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Mrs. Incredible, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. Mrs. Incredible

    Mrs. Incredible New Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    Every fall- winter - my household pipes 'humm' or what I call
    'vibrate'. When I run a tap it temporarily stops. Then when the running water tap is shut off...the vibrating pipes start singing again.!!!
    How do I fix this annoying problem! :confused:
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2004
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    I am not sure what is causing your problem, but the first thing I would do is check all my outside faucets to see if any are turned on and the hose attached to it is shut off at the nozzle.
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  4. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Sep 6, 2004
    Plumber, Contractor, Attorney
    Wichita, Kansas
    Six ? Marks.

    Are you stateing that when cooler weather arrives you hear a sound that does not stop until you run water? Does it last all winter? Has this developed over the winters or of a sudden? Could it be related to another device that is transmitting it's sound through the piping like the furnace blower or ductwork touching the piping? Do you have a pressure reducing valve or water conditioning device? Do you have a humidifier on your furnace and that water valve is humming?
  5. Mrs. Incredible

    Mrs. Incredible New Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    'vibrating' pipes

    I didnt explain my problem correctly...Let me try again.
    When we flush the toilet or have a shower, the copper pipes will 'hum' loudly after we turn the taps off. It IS the 1/2 inche copper pipes. Could it have anything to do with the temperature change of the pipe. This happens as soon as it turns harvest/fall weather.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    This may be way out there, but...do you have any heat wrap on any of your pipes? The cold water may cause the heat wrap to turn on if the supply water is really cold. It is (unlikely, but) possible that that could make a sound, i.e., vibrate a little. What kind of hot water heater do you have? If it is an indirect one, the pump may be getting worn out or its zone valve could be making some noise. These are all uncommon situations, but since you asked...

    Once it starts, how long does it last? Seconds, minutes, hours?
  7. Mrs. Incredible

    Mrs. Incredible New Member

    Oct 1, 2004

  8. PHGates

    PHGates New Member

    Oct 26, 2004
    It's called water hammer

    The problem is water hammer. It occurs from too much water pressure brought on by quickly closing valves in washing machines and the like. Our house has the same problem every fall and winter, and I had to install a water hammer arrestor in several locations (near washer, toilets, and shower) that helped with the problem. Here's a site Google pointed me to that describes the problem: http://www.builderswebsource.com/techbriefs/waterhammer.htm

  9. John Cimini

    John Cimini New Member

    Oct 27, 2004
    This is my first post but I've been visiting this site for awhile. It's a great site and I've learned a lot here.

    I don't know if this is the answer to your problem but about 10 months ago I had a similar problem with a building I maintain. The pipes in all 24 apts were humming. The problem was the toilet flapper in one of the basement apts. The chain would get caught under the flapper and the water seeping by must have resonated at just the right frequency to create the hum. I would check the flapper and make sure it's working properly.

    Check the flush valve too.

    Thank you,
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2004
  10. dsjtiger

    dsjtiger New Member

    Jan 24, 2005
    Vibrating pipes

    Did ur problem get resolved?
    I too am facing the same problem of vibration but upon opening one of the faucets, it stops. And on closing the faucet it does not come back.

    This started in winter i.e December

    How did you resolve this one at ur end ?

    Thanks in advance for sharring ur experience and the resolution
  11. Bert C

    Bert C New Member

    Apr 13, 2005
    This seems to fix my problem, though it's not a chain caught under the flapper but the flapper not sealing properly. Cleaning the slime off the flapper fixed the humming noise.
  12. P-tank

    P-tank New Member

    Dec 21, 2004
    do i hear a thank you?
  13. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

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

    if you are getting ahumming soiund throuighout the house it could be a loose washer in one of the faucets.

    it can also be the control i the washing maching sort of mixing the water and it passing through the unit

    but most likely it is one of your toilets..... try changeing out the ballcocks and see if that does not resolve the problem

    if you got the old style ballcock it simply will start humming and vibrateing

    install a fluidmaster ballcock in your toilets and see if that takes care of it.
  14. rkymtnmom

    rkymtnmom New Member

    Oct 21, 2007
    Water Hammer!!!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I just can't thank you enough. I found this site by googling the vibration in my water pipes, and I was able to solve a problem that has been bothering me on and off for a couple of weeks, in just a matter of minutes!!

    My problem ended up being one of those bleach tablets to keep the bowl clean being just under the flapper. Not enough to keep it open enough to hear the toilet running but obviously enough to cause a case of water hammer!! Listen to me talking like a pro!

    Again thanks so much, I have a feeling this site just saved me a ton of money!!!
  15. geniescience

    geniescience Homeowner

    Nov 27, 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold
    for the record, it is not called water hammer, when it vibrates continuously. One person posting above talked about water hammer... but that is not the right term here.

    Glad it all worked out for you today.

  16. theelviscerator

    theelviscerator New Member

    Oct 2, 2007
    Elkhart, IN
    sympathetic harmonics.
  17. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Sep 3, 2007
    Webster Ma.
    Thats because they are EVIL!!!
  18. nonibbity

    nonibbity New Member

    Nov 20, 2007
    Humming pipes in 2001 condo

    So it sounds like there's a tuba player stuck in my walls. I can't recreate the sound; it doesn't appear to have anything to do with shutting on or off the faucets (or any water using device). It is so loud it wakes me up at night, but it happens at any time of day. During the summer it pretty much stopped, but now that it's fall it started again. My condo was built in 2001, so it can't be the fault of old construction. The bathroom is across from the closet w/ the hot water heater, etc, and that's where the sound originates from. When the sound is going on, the pipes vibrate to the touch and the walls vibrate, too. I even felt it once in my feet when I was sitting at my desk upstairs. It's a mystery. Unlike the other posts, there's no corrolation between the sound and turning on/off the water...Any ideas? Thanks!
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    If I had to guess, you have a pressure reduction valve (PRV) and may not have an expansion tank. Or, if you do, it is shot. They usually last longer than that, but it's not unheard of that it is.

    Now, this is all supposition, but it does fit the facts. During the summer, the incoming water is warmer. Water expands when it is heated. It needs a place to go. Many places use either a check valve to isolate your water from the supply, or if you have a PRV, it acts the same way. In the winter, the incoming water is colder and therefore more dense. So, after you use a bunch of hot water to say do clothes or bath, that cold water then gets heated, expanding more than it would in the summer. That water pushes somewhere. It could literally go back out of the house (condo, doesn't matter), or if it can't, the preferred place for it is into the expansion tank.

    Go buy a pressure gauge - about $10. See what the pressure is. You may have to attach it to the washing machine connection, or maybe the drain of the WH (if you do that, drain some first to clean out sediment so you don't clog up the gauge). You can buy adapters and unscrew an areator. Check the pressure. Use a bunch of hot water, then watch the pressure as the water gets heated. If it rises, you need an expansion tank.

    The prv (or check valve) could be bad as well.
  20. kordts

    kordts In the Trades

    Oct 15, 2005
    industrial service plumbing foreman
    exurban Chicago
    I fixed this kind of problem for a customer. The city changed his water meter and then a horrible humming, shuddering sound occured when the toilets had been flushed and were refilling. The gate valve on the inlet side of the meter
    would only open about half way, and the water department guys weren't smart enough to realize it. That restricted the volume and caused the noise.
  21. Isaac

    Isaac New Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    plumbing vibrates after toilet flush

    plumbing loudly vibrates after toilet flush for about 10 seconds; neighbors know every time I flush the toilet; vibration stops if I run the sink water while plumbing is vibrating. Here's how I fixed it: A little tube in the toilet tank was not connected! The rod that holds the big ball pushed the little tube out of the top of the "stalk". Water sprayed everywhere inside the tank when I flushed it. I reconnected the little tube. Water flows through the little tube and into another vertical plastic pipe now. (Don't you love my professional talk!) Now, no more loud vibration after a toilet flush!
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