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Find the Source of Loud Humming in Pipes

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Rod in Colorado is dealing with a loud, banging noise whenever he turns on the water. Describe it.

    ROD: I had a water heater put in and ever since I had the water heater put in when I turn on my front faucet to water the yard or my washing yard or flush the toilet I have a real loud humming sound that you can’t hear over. It’s horrible.

    TOM: It’s a conventional water heater; a tank water heater?

    ROD: It’s a regular water heater, yeah.

    TOM: And does this happen only at one particular faucet or does it happen throughout the entire house?

    ROD: Throughout the entire house.

    TOM: Hmm.

    ROD: And it’s not every time. It’s intermittent. One time it’s – you can hear it a little bit every time you turn the water on and off, but if I water the yard – and it only does it on the cold side.

    TOM: Right.

    ROD: And so, when I turn the water on the cold side it makes this real loud – about a 40-degree decibel hum I think it is.

    TOM: Do you get the sense that it’s sort of a vibrating sound? Because sometimes when the water goes through pipes – these are copper pipes, I would expect?

    ROD: Yes, they are.

    TOM: The pipes start to vibrate and oscillate and that can actually create quite a loud noise. The other possibility is that in the supply valve that the water is coming out from the water heater to the rest of the house, that the valve could be partially closed or partially open even though it feels like it’s fully open. And that is, again, forcing some slow-down at that area, which can cause that type of a sound.

    It shouldn’t be that hard to track down. Once you hear it happening I would start at the water heater and work out from there. For example, if the pipe’s vibrating, if you grab the pipe it’ll stop vibrating.

    ROD: Well, the problem is that the guys who put the water heater in said, “Oh, it’s not our fault.”

    TOM: It may not be their fault. It could be just a breakdown in the pipe. We don’t know. Or in the valve.

    ROD: Uh-huh.

    TOM: But you’re going to have to sort of track it down to figure out what’s causing it.

    ROD: I see.

    TOM: And if it didn’t happen before, then my thought is that it has something to do with the valve that connects the cold water supply to the water heater.

    ROD: Oh, I see. Yeah, well they put a new meter in also at the same time.

    TOM: That could be something else. Have you asked the water company to take a look?

    ROD: No, I hadn’t. I just thought about that.

    TOM: Well, if they put the water meter in that may not be a bad idea.

    ROD: Yeah, they did. Yeah, I will do that. I can call them tomorrow and ask them to make an appointment.

    TOM: It could be a defect in the water meter as well.

    ROD: Yeah.

    TOM: You know, that’s a very mechanical device. There could be something grinding in there.

    ROD: Yeah. Yeah, because now these are all remote billing type things, you know.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    ROD: (INAUDIBLE) you know, so they don’t have to go in my backyard anymore.

    TOM: Before you have them replace it, find out if they’re under-billing you or over-billing you. (chuckling)

    ROD: Yeah. Very good idea. Well, I sure appreciate and I’ll give them a call and we’ll see what happens.

    TOM: You’re very welcome, Rod. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

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