The Tank › Pipes vibrating in walls
- August 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm #18881
For a few days now, I have had a vibration noise, almost like a fan running, in the walls near my hot water heater.
I have an 80-gal Rheem Solaraide with a Watts recirculating pump and a Radco drainback system for my solar hot water heater. All were installed in January 2009.
I can unplug the recir pump and the sound continues. I can unplug the drainback pump and the sound continues. I can turn the breaker off for the water heater and the sound continues. Time of day doesn’t matter. We tend to hear it more at night because other house sounds are less, but the noise is constant.
Because my house was replumbed, the copper pipes go up the wall near the water heater and to the attic of my two-story house and then across the attic in order to reach the opposite side of the house where the master bath is located upstairs and the kitchen is located downstairs. And yes, I can hear the vibration in the wall of the kitchen.
I have attached a photo to show the pipes coming out of the water heater. One of them vibrates more than the others, and I have marked it since I wouldn’t know the technical term for that pipe (it’s a girl thing).
What is wrong? How can I troubleshoot? Is it easily fixed or do I need a plumber?
Thanks in advance.
JoAugust 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm #18883
I tried to upload a photo that was only 154kb, but the system tells me it’s too large. Go figure.
The pipe that vibrates the most is the one that goes from water heater to wall and has a yellow valve on it. It is NOT the pipe with the recirc pump. Hope that helps.August 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm #18884
Hello: Try turning off water to the heater and see if that has an effect. If not, turn off water to the house and see. (let us know) Do you have a pressure reducer in the main line coming into the house? Questions 😉
Yours, LarryAugust 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm #18885
I have a pressure reducer coming into the house. I’m not sure how well it is working. A guy who came to fix a sprinkler problem said I would probably need to replace it in the next few years.August 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm #18887
I don’t know where to turn off the water to the heater. Is that easy or do I need to call my friendly neighbor Joe the mechanic? 🙂August 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm #18889
Okay, so that yellow gate valve turns off the water supply to the heater. (Gotta love Google) Did that. That pipe no longer vibrates, but the vibration is still in the wall.August 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm #18891
OK, next turn off water to the house and see if that stops the vibration. In the meantime, make sure you turn the power off to your heater. This will prevent any chance of thermal expansion in a closed system. It also will prevent any possibility of a burned out element. 😉
Yours, LarryAugust 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm #18892
Water heater power off at breaker.
Cold water valve to water heater open.
Water to house shut off.
No vibration.August 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm #18893
Hello: That’s progress! Now, you can suspect there is a leak in the cold water system someplace. Water running through the reducer (or possibly toilet fill valve/s) is making noise.
So, turn water back on and go to toilets, and shut them off one at a time to see if that has an effect on the noise. Also, have a look at your water meter to see if water is indeed flowing when you think nothing is running. Have you noticed an increase in your water bill? More questions 😎
Yours, LarryAugust 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm #18894
Hmm. Water bill was high for June, but then I increased water to lawn and refilled hot tub. Bill was quite a bit lower for July but still kind of high. Will check toilets.August 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm #18895
No immediate vibration when I turned the water back on. Will wait a bit and see if it starts up again.August 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm #18896
No vibration for 15 minutes.
Turned on cold water tap in downstairs bathroom. No vibration.
Flushed toilet in downstairs bathroom. No vibration.
Flushed toilet in upstairs bathroom. Slow to fill and…
Turned off water to that toilet and sound stopped.
Turned on water to that toilet and vibration started again.
Put a new flush valve in?
These are Toto toilets and I have a spare Corky flush valve.August 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm #18897
Hello: You want the toilet to fill slower or faster, but not at the current pace. You may be able to adjust the float to drop lower, so it fills faster. You might close down the angle stop to make it fill more slowly. The problem is getting hunted down! 😎
Yours, LarryAugust 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm #18898
That is the one toilet in the house that has not had the flush valve replaced since the new toilets went in, which was December 2002.
I’m calling my neighbor to get help with undoing the nut on the bottom of the tank, as the last one I tried to do was so tight I didn’t have the right tool or muscle to loosen it.
Thanks for all your help, Larry. Saved me a plumbing bill! I already spent $20 on having a guy come look at the roof-mount AC because I was sure the condenser fan was running. The other suspect was the doorbell transformer. Who knew that harmonics could make such a small thing into such a loud sound.August 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm #18899
Hello: Depending on the valve, it could be as simple as replacing a washer in the unit. Rubber wears out 😯 Glad we could be of some use.
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