Fixing Whistling Pipes
LESLIE: JC in Nevada’s got whistling pipes. (whistles, Tom chuckles) Are they at least being melodic or is it more annoying?JC: Oh, totally annoying. (Leslie chuckles) OK, I bought the house 16 years ago; brand new. About 10 years ago, they moved the water source from down the hill to up the hill. They came in; they put a pressure regulator and then an expansion tank on the water heater. Everything was fine for eight years after that; then, two years ago, my pipes started whistling. Also, I notice if my sprinkler system – which takes the water off before the pressure regulator – if I have my sprinklers on, the pipes don’t whistle. And also, the whistling comes from the wash room and also I turned off all the valves on the toilets but I still get whistling as well. So that’s what I’ve done. I don’t know …TOM: Does the whistling seem to happen when you turn anything on; like is it activated by turning on a faucet or anything of that nature?JC: Seems if it’s closer to the washroom, that’s when I get the whistling.TOM: Well, it must be happening when something is demanding water. I don’t know if that’s the toilet or a dishwasher or something else. Typically, the whistling in the pipes is caused by a valve problem and if the valve goes bad, then you get that kind of high-pitched sort of screaming noise. And because the pipes are metal, it tends to carry through the entire house. Now, the reason it’s not happening when the sprinklers come on – I’m going to speculate – that’s because the pressure drops then.JC: Yeah, that’s what I was wondering. You think it’s the pressure regulator? I could – it’s cranked up open all the way.TOM: Yeah, I mean it’s probably one of those pieces of plumbing there and you have to isolate it to try to narrow it down.JC: OK, so what would you advise; going down there and turning …?TOM: You might just want to replace the pressure regulator.JC: Oh.TOM: It’s a pretty simple plumbing project to do. And see if that makes …JC: Well, it’s underneath the house. It’s sort of a pain in …TOM: Oh, it’s tough to get to it? Yeah.JC: Yeah, it’s underneath the house and it’s real annoying.TOM: Yeah.JC: That’s why I have to get a professional to do that.TOM: Yeah, that’s probably what it is. It’s typically in a plumbing valve assembly like a pressure regulator, which is essentially a valve that takes high pressure and drops it down a little bit before it goes into the house. And if something breaks down in there, you get that water that runs across it and it does make a very annoying, vibrating sound and that’s going to carry all through the house.JC: OK. Well, thanks for your help. I appreciate that.TOM: You’re welcome, JC. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.