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  • Water Noise Problem

    Whenever any faucet is open in the house there is noise of rushing water in the basement pipes. The noise seems to be loudest at the pipe above the PRV but the sound of water can also be heard throughout the rest of the pipes. Could the PRV be causing this noise or are there other factors involved? The PRV appears to be in good shape but it came with the house so it is 15+ years old and the noise has been in the house from day one. I did remove and clean the PRV strainer recently but that did not help. The strainer actually was fairly clean. The outside pressure is 116 psi and the pressure inside the house is set by the PRV to 60 psi. I had it as low as 40 psi and the noise did not change. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Jerry

  • #2
    Jerry,

    Without hearing the noise it would be hard to tell what it is from. Typically any noise in your system will carry through your entire system. If you have copper plumbing the noise could even be from non-reamed pipe joints.

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

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Utah is correct about non reamed copper tubing. Copper tubing placed in a bind will also create a sound though it is usually a high pitched whine type of sound. The older globe style of valves tended to create a lot of water noise as well.
      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for your responses. Obviously there is not much I can do if the problem is with non reamed copper tubing. But in the context of things that I can check, I was wondering if the PRV or for that matter the main shut-off valve can cause the type of noise I am hearing, namely that of rushing water. Both of these items in my water lines are discontinued. The PRV is a Watts model U5B whereas the shut-off valve is a Red-White with a number 125 stamped on it. Is there anyway to check these components or is it worth just replacing them and hope for the best?

        Thank you,

        Jerry

        Comment


        • #5
          Its possible that the PRV is causing a vibration that resonates through the piping system. It is hard to discern without hearing it first hand. Is the noise louder when several fixtures are being used at once or does the sound tend to diminish as more volume is used.

          Not familiar with the Red White brand name here. Do you know if it is a globe style stop and drain, a gate or a ball valve?
          Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

          Comment


          • #6
            chances are that it would be the pressure regulator. you also said it was there from day 1. could it be a normal sound that you're not used to is it a vibrating noise, or a rushing water noise?

            i've also seen the water meter make a good noise when running at a fair pace.

            try adjusting the pressure up and down while the tub is running on cold full blast. see if the noise comes and goes. you should do this with the aide of a pressure gauge. don't get above 80# in the house. a regulator will make some noise as it reduces the pressure. also make sure that the piping is not rubbing or touching any wood or other materials. the red and white shut off valve is a common valve out here. is it a round handle (gate or globe valve) or a lever handle ( ball valve)?

            rick.
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              Plumber and Plumber Rick - The Red White valve does have a round handle. Looking at the available literature on the Red White website and comparing various dimensions of my valve with the ones listed there, makes me believe that what I have is a gate valve. The sound I hear is not a vibrating sound but the sound of rushing water. The sound increases with increase in the volume of water used. The pipes do touch the wood studs at various locations. In some places there is a rubber "isolator" between the pipe and wood, whereas in others there is direct contact between pipe and stud. Should I use a rubber isolator everywhere?

              Plumber Rick - Have not had a chance to perform the experiment you suggested but that is next on the list. I have a pressure gauge permanently mounted next to an expansion tank, plus I also have a handheld gauge, so there will be no problem monitoring the water pressure.

              Thanks,

              Jerry

              Comment


              • #8
                jerryk, what size and brand is the regulator? a regulator will make noise. but typically not too much in the lower flow demands. also your pressure curve is not to great. you're only at a 2 to 1 drop. most reulators are rated for 4 to 1 reduction.
                my guess is the regulator. i would go with a "wilkins 600" regulator. also sizing it 1 pipe size larger than the inlet, oulet piping will create a lower drop off curve. you can check their web site for the tables and sizes.

                also make sure that your expansion tank is set to the psi of the regulator. a 15 year old expansion tank is probably shot. the tank will help with water hammer, but your sound is not a water hammer sound.

                rick.
                phoebe it is

                Comment


                • #9
                  The regulator is a Watts U5B. It is a 3/4" regulator with 3/4" copper pipes going in and out. If I understand you correctly you are recommending that I go to a 1" regulator and just solder the appropriate 1" adapters to the 3/4" copper pipe. Am I correct in this assumption? Also, can the Wilkins regulator be installed vertically rather then horizontally? I know that one of the brands that were recommended to me, Cash Acme, can only be installed horizontally as indicated in their website installation instructions. Mine is a vertical installation.

                  As far as the expansion tank goes it is actually new. I've installed it only a few weeks ago. It is set to the house pressure of 60 psi.

                  Thank you very much for your help,

                  Jerry

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    jerry, the watts ub5, is a cartridge type regulator. a wilkins 600 should solve the problem. this is not a cartridge style regulator. a 3/4'' will fit, but a 1'' will have a lower pressure drop off. the 1'' will cost approx. $70.00.
                    it can be installed vertically, but i don't like upsidedown. (adjusting screw up).

                    if , when this works, i'll take you up on that fishermans village lunch next time i'm in the bay area. still waiting for that steak dinner from toolaholic in modesto.

                    looking for a breakfast on the way. anyone near santa barbra in need of help? will work for food

                    rick.
                    phoebe it is

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just one more question. I might as well replace the shutoff valve while I am doing this since the one I have is somewhat worn out and does not fully shut off the water. There is a very slight trickle. Should I replace it with a gate valve or a ball valve? If I install a 1" regulator I'll go with a 1" valve too. Also I've seen illustrations where there are two shutoff valves, one on each side of the regulator. Are there any advantages to that?

                      Thanks again,

                      Jerry

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        jerry, a full port ball valve is a good idea. make sure that you cycle the valve a couple of times a year to keep it from sticking. a quick off and on is fine with no water flowing. as far as 2 shut off valves go. it's not necessary, but cheap enough to add if there is room to fit it in. it will alllow for servicing without all the draining and spilling water in the basement. typically it's not done on a single regulator. we do this on a manifold of regulators. what's another $10.00? lunch

                        rick.

                        ok off to work now. other questions after 8:00pm.
                        phoebe it is

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Rick,

                          Just want to thank you again for all your help!!! It was very educational and I've learned a lot.

                          Jerry

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            jerry, i hope that the regulator is the fix. san francisco is an expensive house call.

                            fill me in when you change it.

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Rick,

                              I got an education on pipe noise, PRVs, full port ball valves, and all in one day. As part of my continuing education I was wondering if you consider the Wilkins 600 as a better unit then the Watts N35B. I was looking at this particular Watts PRV before I started this thread. Both PRVs seem to have similar pressure fall off specs. I am only asking because locally it is easier to find Watts products, however I would prefer to go with a product that professionals like you have experience with and recommend.

                              Thank you,

                              Jerry

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