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Brian
Brian, Architect
Category: Plumbing
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Experience:  Licensed Architect- 17 years
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If the pipes sing when you flush the toilet or turn the water

Customer Question

If the pipes "sing" when you flush the toilet or turn the water faucet on, is this a real problem or just irritating?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Brian replied 5 years ago.

HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on JustAnswer. The other Experts and I are working on your answer. By the way, it would help us to know:


-Could you describe the "sing"?

-Do you hear it when you turn on the water or when you shut it off?

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Kind of high pitched drone I think would describe it best. Sort of a far away air raid siren (if you're old enough to remember WW II.) And it's when you turn the water on .
Expert:  Brian replied 5 years ago.

HelloCustomer

Welcome to Just Answer.

Sorry to hear about your problem.

 

If you hear the noise when you turn the water on, there is a good possibility of air being in the pipes. There are only two ways I know of to get the air out; push it out by increasing the water velocity, or open the pipe and release the air. To push the air out you need to temporarily increase the water velocity to the point the water "sweeps" out the air bubbles. To increase the velocity you need to turn on as many water outlets as possible. That creates a high water demand and the water velocity goes way up. As the water rushes through the pipe the trapped air is swept along with it and out of the pipe. Turn on all the faucets in the house and then flush all the toilets. Again, give it a few minutes to push that air out. If you know where the water supply comes into your house turn off the faucets starting with the one closest to the water supply entry point, then close them one at a time moving away from the entry point. As you come to a toilet when you are moving through the house turning off faucets, flush it again, then wait two minutes before closing the next faucet. Don't forget the faucets on the outside of the house. If this does not help, try the next option.

 

If the air can't be pushed out, you will need to find where the air is trapped in the pipe and "open the pipe" to release it. Air rises above water, so the air is likely trapped in a high spot in the piping. If you can identify a likely high point turn off the main water shut-off valve and open a faucet or valve to release the water pressure. Then cut the pipe at the high point and install a tee on it with a small valve on the tee outlet. A compression type tee may be easier to install. A 1/2" valve, or even a smaller one if you can find one, will work fine for the valve. Do not use a gate valve, since they tend to leak easily. Ball valves work good. See the drawing below. The valve needs to be on a short nipple, a few inches above the pipe as shown. Close the faucet and turn the water back on. The air will rise to the highest point which is the short upright nipple under the valve. You can then open the valve just a little bit to let the air escape. Some water is going to come out too, so be prepared for it to squirt! After releasing the air put a plug in the outlet of the valve for safety.

 

If the sound is more like a foghorn or train whistle type sound, the noise you hear could be caused by the vibration in the stem and washer assembly in the ballcock/ fill valve in the toilet tank. Shut the water off under the tank and remove the three screws securing the top of the ballcock assembly, that is inside the tank. Pull the float ball, stem and washer assembly up and out. Pry the washer out and turn it over pressing it in in firmly. Place your hand over the open ballcock and reach down and turn the water back on to flush out any crud that might be in there. If you have a newer type fill valve, they simply twist to remove near the base or a top plastic cover is removeable and the top is twisted off--you then turn the supply back on to flush out the fill valve, then reassemble.

Reassemble and give it a test flush. The sound should be gone.

 

If you need further help or clarification on this answer, please do not hesitate to reply to this post.

 

Thanks for asking your question at Just Answer.

Best of Luck, Brian

 

Please leave feedback at your convenience.

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