noisy water pipes
May 15, 2005 9:49 PM   Subscribe

At my cousins' new house the water pipes make this awful and continuous groaning noise when she waters the front lawn but not the back. Any ideas what may be causing it and if anything can be done about it? Cheap fix is what we're hoping for.
posted by BoscosMom to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
No idea what's wrong, but she can get a spigot splitter from Home Depot and run a super long hose from the back to avoid that horrid noise.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:03 PM on May 15, 2005

Could be water hammer (resonance in pipes).
Solution is to trap an air space off a "T" fitting, since air is compressible, and will absorb the oscillations.

posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:39 PM on May 15, 2005

Can you also fix pipe resonance by changing the length of the pipes?
posted by scarabic at 10:48 PM on May 15, 2005

If it's continuous, and is while she's watering the lawn (not after she turns the tap off), it may not be a water hammer. You may want to check the washers and fittings on the outlet she's using for the hose - if any of them are loose, they can resonate in the flow of water, and cause that kind of cotinuous sound with the water flow.
posted by bemis at 10:50 PM on May 15, 2005

If it's continuous while the water is running, then it's not water hammer (strictly speaking), which occurs when you turn off a high-flow tap suddenly.

I would go with bemis' answer ... check/change the washers and fittings on the tap for the front lawn.

If no other taps on the property cause the same sound, then it's even less likely to be a trapped air bubble kind of problem.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 11:47 PM on May 15, 2005

Check to see if the pipe(s) supplying water to the front yard are rubbing against something--I had this problem in our house (H20 to back yard)--the fix was a simple as putting rubber bushing between pipe and wood framing material Good Luck
posted by rmhsinc at 4:44 AM on May 16, 2005

I have a similar noise, but only intermittently after we flush the toilet. Is that a water hammer? If so, is it something that needs immediate attention?
posted by Yukon at 6:35 AM on May 16, 2005

Yukon: That's a loose valve... at least in my case it was... On the bottom of the toilet, where the water enters from the wall, check to make sure all of those things are tight... not overly tight but tightened with a wrench. That fixed my problem. (You can also google "foghorn toilet." That seems to be the way that people describe the noise.
posted by ajpresto at 2:14 PM on May 16, 2005

I think many new homes are being outfitted with backflow preventers on the spigots outside. Mine make an awful racket at certain flow rates, especially after releasing the nozzle on the end of my hose. If the groaning seems to change pitch as you vary the flow, it matches my experience with backflow preventers.

On my house, the backflow preventers are a short chunk of brass that goes between the spigot and the hose. There are a ring of bypass holes just above the male threads.
posted by jupiter at 2:33 PM on May 16, 2005

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