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Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

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  • Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

    Until we has an irrigation system installed in September, we never had any disturbing sounds from our plumbing in the house we've lived in for 11 years. Since we put in the irrigation we get a periodic groaning sound from the pipes -- it sounds like a fog horn; loud and continuous (not pulsing) and lasting from a few seconds to 10 seconds.

    At first I only heard the sound after running upstairs taps or toilets after the water had been off for a while (middle of night or first thing in the morning). But now it's getting more frequent, happening a few times each day and night, and it can happen even when there is no running water.

    I have to suspect the installation of the irrigation has something to do with it as the sound first occurred after installation. To make the connection, the plumber made a t-connection to the main 3/4" copper line that run just below the joists in the basement; the connection is also less than a foot from a second connection to the main line that goes to an outdoor spigot --the spigot connection runs up from the mainline than turn 90 degrees towards an exterior wall while the connection to the irrigation runs straight from the main line, in the same plane, so to speak. The irrigation line itself is 1" wirsboro, about 30' that it appears well secure, that goes through an exterior wall and then up to a backflow detector before going down to the valves of the irrigation system.

    I tried once to flush out what I thought might be air in the system but the sounds have persisted. The irrigation itself was shut down a couple of weeks ago (there's a shut off valve inside close to where the Wirsboro connects to the mainline) but the sound persists.

    What may be wrong?

  • #2
    Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

    Perhaps the irrigation contractor cranked up the pressure to get the coverage of his head spread.
    now the toilet ballcock is vibrating.

    Can you turn the valve off to irrigation

    What's the pressure in your house

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

      Did you follow all of the suggestions in the post about the same subject you sent in October? I know that the system is shut off and blown out now. Did you put a pressure guage on your lines to see if the Irrigation Contractor boosted your PRV?

      http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=28460

      Mick

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

        Originally posted by Fireguy97 View Post
        Did you follow all of the suggestions in the post about the same subject you sent in October? I know that the system is shut off and blown out now. Did you put a pressure guage on your lines to see if the Irrigation Contractor boosted your PRV?

        http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=28460

        Mick
        Are you serious.
        WTF
        I thought it was someone who couldn't search.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

          Where's my sox honey?? Daycare
          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

            You state that the irrigation contractor tapped into your 3/4" line in the basement. We don't have basements here, but tapping into the main line after it enters a home would be a local code violation. And--a 3/4" line from the meter here would not give enough volume for a sprinkler system. Here, a 3/4" meter has an actual 5/8" I.D. outlet connection. A lawn sprinkler system here requires a one-inch (1") meter which would give you an actual 7/8" I.D. outlet connection. If your contractor tapped into your 3/4" line and then went to 1" Wirsboro, then when the system is on it is the path of least resistance for the water. This connection may be acting like a venturi and drawing water slowly out of your home at this connection point and into the lawn sprinkler system. The sound you hear may actually be the sound of water returning into the inside pipes. When you flush a toilet or run a faucet this will let water back into the pipe that now has a vacuum in it. Try living without the lawn system for a week and listen for the sounds at the usual times. IF there are no sounds, try the system back on for a week and do the same test. Good Luck, David

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

              Originally posted by Thurman View Post
              We don't have basements here, but tapping into the main line after it enters a home would be a local code violation.

              Most homes in Canada have basements/crawlspaces, or at least a lower level entry.

              Check with your local Jurisdiction having Authority. In a lot of locations it is illegal to tap into the water line before the meter. If the meter in the home, as most are, you have to tap into the line after if enters the home. Check to see if you should have a licensed plumber to do the stub outside. Most jurisdictions state that if you make a change, modification, or addition to the existing plumbing system you need a plumbing permit. To get a plumbing permit you need a licensed plumber.

              Having an unlicensed tradesman or contractor doing that same job will also be a code violation.

              Tapping into the water line before the meter is also a code violation.

              Originally posted by Thurman View Post
              And--a 3/4" line from the meter here would not give enough volume for a sprinkler system. Here, a 3/4" meter has an actual 5/8" I.D. outlet connection. A lawn sprinkler system here requires a one-inch (1") meter which would give you an actual 7/8" I.D. outlet connection. If your contractor tapped into your 3/4" line and then went to 1" Wirsboro, then when the system is on it is the path of least resistance for the water.
              Originally posted by Thurman View Post
              This connection may be acting like a venturi and drawing water slowly out of your home at this connection point and into the lawn sprinkler system. The sound you hear may actually be the sound of water returning into the inside pipes. When you flush a toilet or run a faucet this will let water back into the pipe that now has a vacuum in it.

              Try living without the lawn system for a week and listen for the sounds at the usual times. IF there are no sounds, try the system back on for a week and do the same test. Good Luck, David

              David, he is living without the irrigation system for a while now. This is CANADA! We get winter. Winter tends to get a little nippy up here. Water filled irrigation lines and control valves tend to go KABOOM pretty quick if you try to use them in the winter. All lines should have been blown out and shut down at least a month ago.

              My suggestion would be to have a Licensed Plumber look at it if the Irrigation Contractor can’t come up with an answer. If the problem is related to the Irrigation system I would charge it back to the Irrigation Contractor, but let him know beforehand what you are doing. If he wasn’t a licensed plumber or didn’t get one to do the stub out, then it should be on his dime…….If the problem is actually the sprinkler guy’s fault. Either way you need a license for the stub out.

              Mick
              .

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

                Originally posted by Fireguy97 View Post
                .
                A few points of clarification:
                (1) The plumber tapped in AFTER the water meter in the basement. By "main line" I meant the line running from the meter to the rest of the house. Sorry for my lack of precision.

                (2) As Fireguy suggested, the system was blown out a few weeks ago and the supply to the irrigation line shut off. The shut off valve is just a foot or so away from where the wirsboro connects. The sounds have continued.

                (3) The plumbing was installed by a licensed plumber who was suggested by the irrigation contractor. To complicate matters the plumber charged about 40% more than the contractor said he expected. Neither has been paid -- I hope to sort this out first.

                (4) Mick - how could the pressure be boosted? The water meter was fully open before the install.

                Since my previous post some notable things have changes:
                - the irrigation system is shut off
                - what I thought at first was water hammer is instead a steady, rather than pulsating noise that sounds like a fog horn or a really bad oboe player. It's not that the noise itself has changed but rather I mistakenly thought it was water hammer because I was not aware of other sorts of sounds pipes make.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

                  Originally posted by JonLondon View Post
                  (3) The plumbing was installed by a licensed plumber who was suggested by the irrigation contractor. To complicate matters the plumber charged about 40% more than the contractor said he expected. Neither has been paid -- I hope to sort this out first.
                  Originally posted by JonLondon View Post

                  (4) Mick - how could the pressure be boosted? The water meter was fully open before the install.
                  Did you get a price for installation of the plumbing in writing? Did you get it from the plumber? If you had a contract or agreement with the irrigation contractor to do the job and part of the agreement was for him to supply a licensed plumber for the interior work at an agreed upon price, then you have an argument.

                  If the Irrigation contractor told you it would be xxx amount of dollars to install the sprinklers and you need to get the supply line to the outside of the exterior wall. And by the way, if you need a plumber, I know one and it should only cost this much to do the job. Then I would have had the plumber confirm the price in writing before the job was started.

                  Did you get the plumber and/or the irrigation guy back to see if they can help out with the noise/vibration problem?

                  It sounds like there could be some bad feelings going on out there. Contractors have a hard time trying to keep a client happy if they don't get paid.

                  I would suggest you work out your problems with the two contractors and pay them for the work that they have completed, maybe keep a 20 or 25% as a holdback until you are satisfied, but pay them the bulk of the invoice.

                  If they won’t help you out, then you might consider getting another trusted plumber in, pay him a service call to look at the problem. It's difficult to diagnose a problem like this without seeing it. Small details that an uneducated eye (yours) might not notice can make all the difference.

                  Before you boost any pressure, (or lower it) put a pressure gauge on your lines to see what it is. You might want to put a tell tale type of pressure gauge and keep it on the line for 24-48 hours to see what the highest pressure was. Sometimes pressure increases at night or certain times of the day.

                  Is the backflow device on your main line in your home, or is it on the irrigation feed only?

                  If the backflow device is on the main line, and you don't have a thermal expansion tank, you might want to consider getting one installed.

                  Mick

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

                    I see it all the time in my area where the sprinkler guys remove the pressure reducing valve and tie in their water line at that point because its easy since there are unions to break apart.
                    Check and see if you still have a pressure reducing valve after the meter if not that can be causing your problem

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

                      Originally posted by ridgidpipe View Post
                      I see it all the time in my area where the sprinkler guys remove the pressure reducing valve and tie in their water line at that point because its easy since there are unions to break apart.
                      Originally posted by ridgidpipe View Post
                      Check and see if you still have a pressure reducing valve after the meter if not that can be causing your problem


                      Good call. Hopefully that didn't happen here because a licensed plumber installed the stub to the sprinklers.

                      Mick

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Fog horn/groaning sound from pipes since irrigation put in

                        Where the plumber attached the irrigation line there was only pipe, so while I'm not even sure what a pressure reducing valve looks like, nothing was removed to attach the irrigation line other than a few inches of pipe -- which was replaces with a t-pipe from which the irrigation line is connected, with some transition pieces from the copper to the wirsboro. I don't see anything either before or after the water meter that looks like a valve other than a shut off valve just before the meter.

                        I had a price from the irrigation contractor that included a line for plumbing with a 3/4" wirsboro. I wanted 1" inch wirsboro and priced out the difference in parts, which was minimal. The plumber recommended two plumbers; a first and second choice. He didn't believe the first was available because of timing so I got a quote from the second plumber that was $100 more than the 3/4 wirsboro. The irrigation contractor told me to forget that quote because it was much too high since the labor is the same -- he was quite upset the quote was so high. Then he suggested I contact the first plumber to see if the timing could be worked out. The first plumber ended up doing the work and then charging $180 more than the the price for 3/4" wirsboro. The irrigation contractor's comments about the $100 extra-quote being ridiculous are still on my voice mail for my cell phone. I have notified the irrigation contractor about my concerns, both about the invoice and the plumbing noise. He seemed receptive about the billing -- the plumber billed him, not me -- but had been silent about the plumbing problem.

                        At the end of the day, I'm less concerned about the extra money and more concerned about having a well-functioning irrigation system and one that doesn't place strain on my plumbing that leads to these noises. Adding to the complexity of the situation is that the irrigation is only one-third done, by my choice, since I was only landscaping a third of our property this fall and am doing the balance in the coming year.

                        Also, I suspect the irrigation connection has either created or amplified a stress in the plumbing. So my task is twofold, I think: Finding the source of the sound AND finding what about the change in the system has change that is causing that sound.

                        What I will probably do is pay 50% of the invoice for now because the total invoice isn't much - close to $1,000 bucks -- and I want to have more held back than the price of what the fix may be for the noise. (that price is for roughly one-third of the system) (the price is also on the low side because I bought most of the parts so I'm mostly paying for labor -- much cheaper for me to buy parts in the US than what the contractor can get from a distributor in Canada)

                        I'll ask the plumber to come out; if he doesn't I'll get another and just deduct that service call and associated work from the original plumber's invoice.

                        I do have an upstairs toilet that has had issues running for a good part of each day after each flush. There were none of theses groaning sounds, though, until the irrigation was connected. Perhaps what was already a weakness in the toilet was made worse by the irrigation connection. I did turn off the supply to the toilet for a day though, and I still heard the groaning that day.

                        One other thing. There is a difference between the way the irrigation line was connected and how the line to the outdoor spigot, which was done years ago, was connected. I don't know if the difference is meaningful but perhaps some of you would.

                        The connection to the spigot is two parts - first a t-pipe that directs the water straight up from the water line (the water line is running parallel to the ceiling, so the t-pipe takes the connected line a bit higher). Than a L-pipe that turns towards an exterior wall and the spigot.

                        The connection to the irrigation line is just one part - a t-pipe that directed the water directly towards the exterior wall.

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