Copper pipes noisy when running bath

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  #1  
Old 08-18-16, 10:47 AM
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Copper pipes noisy when running bath

Have had this house for two years now. One thing that is really bothersome is, my roommate takes two baths a day - which I don't mind - but the pipes are very noisy 90% of the time; I'm pretty sure if she opens one or both of the valves fully, there is sort of an air'y noise, but if she doesn't open the valves all the way it's not that noisy, just the sound of water running. If it makes a difference, there is a hot and cold valve that you turn to the left separately. The rare times that she does take a shower, it's only a soft water noise, like in my shower.

It's hard to describe the noise without hearing it, but here are the two ways it sounds, the first being the soft one and the second being the noisy one:

Soft: "ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff"
Loud: "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"

Unfortunately, my bedroom is next to the bathroom and the copper pipes are between the wall. I tried putting some sound isolating batting but it barely helped, and still wakes me up every morning and night. I asked her to open the valves to where it isn't noisy, but she keeps forgetting so I've given up on that. I tried googling some remedies, but most talk about "air hammer" which I don't think this is.

Not sure if it makes a difference but the bath is on the 2nd floor and the water stuff is in the basement.

Any ideas on what to do?
 

Last edited by Mirth; 08-18-16 at 11:36 AM.
  #2  
Old 08-18-16, 11:49 AM
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There is only one remedy and that is to re-pipe with larger piping. The noise is from high velocity through the pipes. It is less noisy when using the shower or only opening the valves part-way because the flow rate, and consequently the velocity, is lower.

Have you tried using some earplugs when you sleep?
 
  #3  
Old 08-18-16, 11:58 AM
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Ah, well that stinks... I've tried earplugs but I can't seem to fall asleep with them in, and I'm on call 24/7 for work and am afraid to miss a call. I don't think I can afford the costs to have them re-pipe nor the experience to do it myself.

Would there possibly be a way to physically limit the valves from being opened all the way at the bathtub?
 
  #4  
Old 08-18-16, 12:12 PM
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The only option that I can think of, and it might not even be an option, is to replace the tub spout with a model that restricts the flow similar to an aerator on a kitchen or washbasin faucet. Unfortunately, that would also cause it to take significantly longer to fill the tub for bathing.

I DO understand your problem as I used to work shift work as well as being on-call. I wish I had something else to offer.
 
  #5  
Old 08-18-16, 12:42 PM
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May be worth checking the water pressure.
A simple screw on gauge to an outside faucet will do it.
Other Accessories - Plumbing Tools - The Home Depot
 
  #6  
Old 08-19-16, 11:21 AM
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I have found the valves used often help (or make worse) the water running sound. I've found that using a 1/4 turn ball valve for a toilet along with a higher quality toilet reduces the water fill sound. I've never tested it with a tub fill, but replacing the valve with a newer and higher quality valve might help. Of course, that's rarely an easy project.

You could also try to muffle the sound from the pipes. A heavy blanket (call it a tapestry) on the wall could help. Also insulating in the wall around the pipes - but again, not an easy project.

Good luck!
 
  #7  
Old 08-19-16, 12:16 PM
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Joe's advice to first test the static (and then dynamic) water pressure in the house is a good one. If you need instruction on how to test, just ask.

Zorfdt, my whirlpool tub supply is piped with nominal 1/2 inch copper branches maybe fifteen feet long from 3/4 inch nominal copper. I used standard ball valves and all the piping is insulated with 1/2 inch wall foam. In addition, the piping in the wall to the faucet is surrounded with Roxul AFB (sound absorbing) insulation and my piping still is obnoxiously loud while the tub is filling. The noise IS from the high velocity and this is proven by the fact that IF I close down on the tub faucet (a Moentrol) the noise subsides significantly. Of course if I DO close down on the faucet the tub takes longer to fill.
 
 

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