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  • Fog horn plumbing

    Hi,
    My family home was built in 1945 and my family has lived in the house since it was built. A few months ago, for the first time since being in the house, our plumbing pipes sound like a fog horn. At first I thought it might be water hammer but then I realized that it couldn't be water hammer since the fog horn sounds when the water is turned on and running rather than when turned off. And the fog horn sounds from different faucets and from different temps but not every time the faucet is turned on. If the fog horn sounds when running hot water and a little cold water gets turned on too that will usually stop the fog horn sound for that running time. And vise versa if the cold water is running and a little hot water gets turned on too that will usually stop the sound. If the water gets turned off and immediately back on then the fog horn sounds again and the temps have to be mixed again to stop it. But that same faucet may not sound the fog horn a few hours later. A few hours later there may be a different faucet sounding the fog horn or there may be none.

    So my questions are what could this be, could this damage the pipes, what can I do to solve this and will it be expensive? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: Fog horn plumbing

    Check the pressure in you home and your pressure regulator.

    Mark
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Fog horn plumbing

      I agree in suggesting that you check the water pressure in the house.

      Also check the fill valves (ballcocks) in your toilets. Certain brands of toilets have seats on the valves that will wear out over time. When there is a small pressure drop in the system (turning on faucets, etc.) the seat will sometimes "chatter" or vibrate. The vibration causes the "foghorn" like sound you are describing. Replacing the valve is a usually a quick and easy repair (depending on brand and style of the toilet). An easy way to check the toilets for this is to pull the lid off of the tank and and have someone run water in other parts of the house (and/or the lavatory in that bathroom) and see if the sound is louder or the vibration is noticable at the water supply to the toilet (put your hand on the pipe coming out of the wall).


      I see this happen occasionally specifically with Mansfield brand toilets/ballcocks and a few other brands too.

      Hope you get it figured out.

      If you need professional assistance at your home to help you out,
      Barry Plumbing and Heating in D.C. is a frequent forum contributor.


      -Chris

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Fog horn plumbing

        Hi,
        Thank you both for replying.
        Check the pressure in you home and your pressure regulator.
        I don't know how to check the pressure or the pressure regulator, most of the pipes are the originals from 1945, so I'm not even sure there is a pressure regulator and if there is one I don't know where it is or what it looks like.

        My toilet is an American Standard brand but not original, if I remember correctly it was replaced in 1993. And a few years ago the inside parts of the toilet were replaced with one of those kits from a home center store. I tried to check the toilet, I'm not sure that I'm doing it correctly. The fog horn does sound loud in the bathroom but I'm not sure that it's any louder there than anywhere else in the house. The fog horn doesn't sound like it's coming from the toilet, it just sounds generally in the walls. Any vibrations on the toilet pipe were so faint that I'm not sure if it was that pipe that actually was vibrating since I have no comparison.

        What I did notice when looking for a faucet that was currently sounding the fog horn to check the toilet was, at least that particular time, that faucet only sounded the fog horn at certain points when I turned it on. When I turned the faucet to full on or 1/2 on I did not hear the fog horn. But since I was trying to hear it to check the toilet I turned it to 1/4 on or 3/4 on where I heard the fog horn. And it's not usually like that, normally it would sound the fog horn at any point once the water is on until the other temp of water is turned on too and mixed in. I also noticed that I have never heard the fog horn from the toilet flushing.

        Either way this appears to be a pressure issue. If the problem is the pressure or the pressure regulator could this damage the pipes, what, if anything, can I do to solve this and will it be expensive to fix? If the problem is the toilet...
        Replacing the valve is a usually a quick and easy repair
        does that mean replacing the inside toilet parts again with another kit would solve this? Thank you.
        Last edited by vroni357; 03-15-2010, 08:04 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Fog horn plumbing

          use a pressure gauge with a female hose fitting. i use a 200 lb gauge. higher would be better. put your setup on hose bib and turn on. that should be you pressure. breid............

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Fog horn plumbing

            Hi,
            Thank you for replying.
            put your setup on hose bib and turn on
            My hose faucet is turned off from the inside and I can't turn it, would a pressure gauge work on an inside faucet as well? Thank you.
            Last edited by vroni357; 03-15-2010, 08:39 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Fog horn plumbing

              Originally posted by vroni357 View Post
              Hi,
              Thank you for replying. My hose faucet is turned off from the inside and I can't turn it, would a pressure gauge work on an inside faucet as well? Thank you.
              Try the water heater drain as long as its not a plastic one.
              If its plastic don't touch it!
              411 Plumb Appliance Stimulus Package

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Fog horn plumbing

                Originally posted by vroni357 View Post
                Hi,
                Thank you for replying. My hose faucet is turned off from the inside and I can't turn it, would a pressure gauge work on an inside faucet as well? Thank you.
                you can get an aerator adapter that'll screw onto/into most faucets to convert to hose thread.
                This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Fog horn plumbing

                  Hi,
                  Thank you for replying.
                  you can get an aerator adapter that'll screw onto/into most faucets to convert to hose thread.
                  I'll try to find a pressure gauge and an aerator adapter and use that on a faucet. Does it matter which faucet?


                  If the problem is the pressure or the pressure regulator could this damage the pipes, what, if anything, can I do to solve this and will it be expensive to fix? If the problem is the toilet would replacing the inside toilet parts again with another kit solve this? Thank you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Fog horn plumbing

                    I worked the the D.C. area for a long time and I had this problem a couple times. 1 time they had a stop and waste on the main instead of a gate or ball valve and the washer had worked its way loose causing the "foghorn" sound. The 2nd time it was a water meter that had gone bad and had loosened up. You might try checking those out. This would happen anytime you turned water on anywhere in the house. Now if it only happens when you turn on one certain valve or flush one certain toilet then I would check out those fixtures.
                    My guess without looking at it is that you have a loose washer in a fixture somewhere.
                    I just remembered another one I had. If you have galvanized pipe in the house you might consider this too. I had a 3/4 galvanized pipe that had a lot of mineral deposit in it. Some of the minerals had broken loose in a good size chunk and it would act like a flapper in the pipe causing the noise as you described it.
                    Last edited by alsdrainservice; 03-16-2010, 08:49 AM. Reason: just remembered
                    Two men Have died for you. One is Jesus Christ the other is the american soldier. One died for your soul The other for your freedom.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Fog horn plumbing

                      If you are really in Washington's DC and not one of it's suburbs it is NOT a pressure issue. In 20 years of working inside the city limits i have found high water pressure only 2 times. Both were right next to the Macmillan Reservoir. Rarely is it over 55 psi.
                      Virginia suburbs have extremely high water pressure though.

                      Most likely a loose washer or ballcock as others have mentioned.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Fog horn plumbing

                        I suggested the pressure regulator more thinking something is loose in it. The fact that the problem is in multiple locations suggests it is at a common sorce.

                        Mark
                        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Fog horn plumbing

                          Hi,
                          Thank you for replying.
                          they had a stop and waste on the main instead of a gate or ball valve.
                          I don't know what that is.
                          it was a water meter that had gone bad and had loosened up
                          As far as I know, my water meter is buried somewhere in the ground outside and I don't know where. But I don't think I'll be able to check either of those.


                          The fog horn sounds from different faucets and from different temps but not every time the faucet is turned on. If the fog horn sounds when running hot water and a little cold water gets turned on too that will usually stop the fog horn sound for that running time. And vise versa if the cold water is running and a little hot water gets turned on too that will usually stop the sound. If the water gets turned off and immediately back on then the fog horn sounds again and the temps have to be mixed again to stop it. But that same faucet may not sound the fog horn a few hours later. A few hours later there may be a different faucet sounding the fog horn or there may be none.

                          If you have galvanized pipe in the house you might consider this too. I had a 3/4 galvanized pipe that had a lot of mineral deposit in it. Some of the minerals had broken loose in a good size chunk and it would act like a flapper in the pipe causing the noise as you described it.
                          Most of the pipes are the originals from 1945 which I believe is galvanized pipe. But if the problem is loose minerals what, if anything, can I do about that? Thank you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Fog horn plumbing

                            Hi,
                            Thank you for replying.
                            If you are really in Washington's DC and not one of it's suburbs it is NOT a pressure issue. In 20 years of working inside the city limits i have found high water pressure only 2 times. Both were right next to the Macmillan Reservoir. Rarely is it over 55 psi. Virginia suburbs have extremely high water pressure though. Most likely a loose washer or ballcock as others have mentioned.
                            I am in the NE section of DC. And, if I remember correctly, Barry Plumbing unstopped my drain a couple of times. Could this fog horn sound damage the pipes? If the problem is the ballcock, would that mean replacing the inside toilet parts again with another kit would solve this? If the problem is something else will it be expensive to fix? Thank you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Fog horn plumbing

                              Originally posted by Snapper
                              if i was you raw (thank fukin god im not as ignorant or pathetic as you) i wouldnt touch it either cause your a frickin moron who just pretends to be a plumber online to satisfy your arrogant ego....your a schumck

                              I'm a newbie here, so maybe I missed something, but why drag up a thread that is months old so you can cuss and insult someone??? That in of itself seems kinda moronic to me.

                              Comment

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