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Old 07-06-2006, 03:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Air in the Pipes

So...I have a house built in '28.....radiator heat and pipes running pretty much everywhere. It would seem I have air in the water pipes somewhere , as the entire house rattles when water is run.


How do I fix this, Oh great collective TFP mind?
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Old 07-06-2006, 03:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It may be a simple matter of loose pipes, and water inertia.

We've stopped a few ancient house rattles by adding expansion tanks. They're just air tanks that absorb the energy of flowing water, and keep it from causing pipe movement and noise. The alternative is opening up the walls and tying down every length of pipe. We'd get to it eventually, what with the degrading iron pipe, but by itself the noise isn't worth all the plaster work.
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Old 07-06-2006, 06:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think the problem is called water hammer. I had the same problem mainly when I cut off a faucet. I got lucky and mine pretty much went away. I had looked into adding an expansion tank.
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Old 07-06-2006, 11:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't get it.

There are two water systems in your house.

1. Potable water (drinking water)

2. Radiant Heat.

Which pipes are banging? I ask cause you say "when the water is run" Implying the drinking water supply is the source of your banging.

The two are essentially separate systems, though the boiler will have a pipe that allows the system to be filled.

If it's your drinking water and the pipes are banging when you shut off the water, this is called water hammer. You can buy water hammer arresters at home depot and install them close as possible to all faucets.

If it's your rad pipes, and the system bangs when the boiler comes on, 1. you need to bleed your rads, there should be bleeders at all the rads (mind you they are probably seized and when you go to turn them, you are liable to break them off in your hand.) As another poster mentioned, you need to have an expansion tank that works as well.
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My house was built in the '20's too, hot water cast iron radiators etc. I know my radiator vent valves still work since I've bled them a couple times during the almost 30 years I've lived in this house, like after the main heater/boiler was replaced and the heater system was opened and refilled with new water which of course had air in it that eventually needed bleeding out; otherwise, if there is no water loss and you don't have to add water, there should be no reason to bleed air out unless it wasn't bled properly in the past.

If it's the potable water system clanging around like mr. kirk suggested, my question is "did you change any spigot, valve or flush mechanism or have other plumbing work done recently after which this noise started?" That would be a clue where to look for the problem. Sometimes it is hard to find the root cause of the noise and adding a water hammer arrestor or such device is easier, but I prefer to find the cause of the problem and get rid of the cause especially if it is a recent and not longstanding problem.
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks all....it is indeed the potable water system......heading to the "Depot" this weekend for the fix.......you guys rock, and I will post the results.

tecoyah crosses his fingers and buys everyone a beer
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Old 07-07-2006, 12:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Uh-oh....Tecoyah in Home Depot....*shudders*
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngdawg
Uh-oh....Tecoyah in Home Depot....*shudders*
There's a ringing endorsement...

Water hammer arresters are not the easiest things to install.

You need to cut the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, then solder in a female connector (best to use a T), then thread in the arrestor using teflon tape.

It's a job.
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james t kirk
You need to cut the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, then solder in a female connector (best to use a T), then thread in the arrestor using teflon tape.

It's a job.
And somewhere in there make time to put out the fires caused by step 2.

From that you can surmise I'm no pro.

james t, I've noticed newer cartridge faucets don't seem to contribute so much to hammering. I'm assuming because the washerless seal doesn't feed back to the problem? If the hammering only starts when using one or two faucets it might be worth a try. Could save him from chasing leaks in that 80yr old iron.
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Old 07-08-2006, 09:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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We stayed in his house for the Rochester get together. As soon as any faucet is shut off, and most noticeably, the shower, the whole house fills with a banging/humming sound that lasts about 5 seconds. This didn't happen last summer.
Wouldn't an expansion tank or something on the water heater be a better and easier idea? I ask because it might only be the hot water lines; using cold and flushing doesn't produce the noises it seemed.
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:00 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The timing has increased to 20-30 seconds and beyond.
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:03 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Was that before or after he went to Home Depot?
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Up through the 1950's, most plumbers were smart enough to build in water hammer arrestors. On a lateral inside a wall, a tee was installed with the center fitting oriented vertically. A 3 to 4' length was then installed with a cap at the end of it. When filling the system, that vertical leg would trap air and form a water hammer arrestor. As cheap as Bill Levitt was, he did that in the thousands of Levittown, PA homes, and they worked just fine.
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Old 07-09-2006, 10:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazoo
Up through the 1950's, most plumbers were smart enough to build in water hammer arrestors. On a lateral inside a wall, a tee was installed with the center fitting oriented vertically. A 3 to 4' length was then installed with a cap at the end of it. When filling the system, that vertical leg would trap air and form a water hammer arrestor. As cheap as Bill Levitt was, he did that in the thousands of Levittown, PA homes, and they worked just fine.
Yes, that will work.

My parent's house built in 1960 had pipe stubs that would do that.

I've never seen a fresh water system with an expansion tank, typically, that's something you see with hydronic heating systems.

If you shut the tap off slowly, you can avoid the banging as well since the problem is caused by the rapid closing of a valve. Toilets seldom produce the dreaded hammer because they close very slowly as the float moves up in the tank.
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Old 07-10-2006, 09:51 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngdawg
We stayed in his house for the Rochester get together. As soon as any faucet is shut off, and most noticeably, the shower, the whole house fills with a banging/humming sound that lasts about 5 seconds. This didn't happen last summer.
Wouldn't an expansion tank or something on the water heater be a better and easier idea? I ask because it might only be the hot water lines; using cold and flushing doesn't produce the noises it seemed.
IMO that is most likely due to vibration of the valve plug, the faucet seal, on that particular spigot. If it's worn or loose, it will flutter and actually cause that rapid on/off cycling that causes the vibrations. The simplest and most direct and cheapest solution is to fix the faucet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by james t kirk
Toilets seldom produce the dreaded hammer because they close very slowly as the float moves up in the tank.
Right, but I've seen plenty of toilets make loud noises just as they shut off the refill cycle when the float sticks or hangs up and doesn't move up and down smoothly; so the water level in the reservoir goes up but the float sticks, then it suddenly rises, shuts off the water, and bam!
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:17 AM   #16 (permalink)
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these rattling pipes act up when any water whatsoever is used...toilets, sinks....washer.....regardless, even the Hose outside.....likely I will need a plumber....bummer.

....Or....not....



Dont I feel stupid:

"Rattles occur when pipes vibrate against your home's framing members as water travels through them. If you can gain access to them where they rattle--from the basement, for example--the quickest and easiest way to solve the problem is to put foam insulation sleeves onto them and refasten them securely."


At three locations in the basement these pipes were vibrating through the frame of my house....I just placed Foam between the pipes and the wood.....problem solved.

My thanks to everyone for the help....this place rocks.
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Last edited by tecoyah; 07-11-2006 at 07:31 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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When I first read the thread topic, A different, and less appealing sort of "air" came to mind. Air in the pipes. Sometimes I have that problem he he

Last edited by caver; 08-03-2006 at 04:02 PM.. Reason: seeking grammatical error erroniously
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Old 08-04-2006, 05:17 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I recommend Beano or Gas-X

My kids have a game CD at home titled "The Original Vintage International Wind-breaking Contest" ...is that you?
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