The pipes are rattling and it ain't my ghost!
October 14, 2005 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Upstairs pipes rattle, but my ghost lives downstairs in the lounge?

In November 2001, I purchased a flat sorely in need of rehabilitation because I couldn't pass up the steep discount to market price at the time.

It was filled with rubbish, and the elderly woman who lived and died here (in my downstairs lounge, actually) neglected repairs. I've been slowly rebuilding rooms and fixing it up as time permits.

It's a two bedroom, split level with the bathroom and water closet upstairs. I've recently noticed that sometimes after a bath the upstairs pipes rattle. There is a water storage tank upstairs, and I gather this is happening as the tank slowly refills.

How do I stop the rattling but still use my upstairs bath? I
posted by Mutant to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Is it more of a vibration rattle, a series of jerky rattles or a hammering?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:06 AM on October 14, 2005

Jerky, inconsistent rattles. Interesting that if I run the water even just a little, on then off while rattling it seems to stop. And it doesn't happen all the time. I can't put cause to the effect, just sometimes it starts rattling. I've had crappy experiences with tradesmen here, but I'm worried enough to consider paying one to drop by and check it out.
posted by Mutant at 11:17 AM on October 14, 2005

It sounds like you need your pipes bled. Sometimes air can get trapped inside water pipes, causing a rattle. I don't know how you would bleed them yourself, though.

It's also possible that the valve at the water heater is rattling. They have ball-bearings that can rattle when you use the hot water.
posted by nekton at 11:37 AM on October 14, 2005

You might need a pressure regulator or, if you have one, a new one. Sounds like the vibration is coming from changes in water pressure, especially since it changes when you turn on the faucet.

If it were an air bleed thing, that would be more of a BANG! when you shut off the faucet, called a water hammer. Bleeding your system wouldn't hurt to try though.

To bleed you shut off the water from the main, turn on the lowest faucet in the house and then the highest faucet. Once the lowest has stopped dripping go back up and turn off the highest and then the lowest and turn on the main valve again. Go back up and turn on the highest until it runs steady again with no sputters.

Another possibility is that there is a faulty washer somewhere that is vibrating as water passes over it, sending a shock wave down the pipes. This is doubtful as it would not change when another faucet is turned on.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:48 AM on October 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm waiting with bated breath to hear if there's a solution to this, because the pipes in my apartment building do the exact same thing, and it drives me batshitinsane. It only happens from time to time, and usually when the upstairs neighbor is taking a shower. The pipes rattle so hard the walls actually vibrate. And, similar to the OP, I figured out that turning on the taps in my sink seems to make the problem go away. Anyway, you're not alone!
posted by MsMolly at 12:55 PM on October 14, 2005

have you ask the ghost.
posted by baker dave at 12:37 AM on October 16, 2005

I've experienced an identical problem and it was something to do with the pressure levels. We eventually got a plumber out and he did some stuff up in the loft (possibly involving replacing washers) and it was fine after that.

I'd recommend getting a plumber out because as time went on the noise for us got more and more regular, and more noisy. When I was in the flat I would have to regularly go to the bathroom and turn on taps just to stop the vibration, it was a complete nightmare (particularly when it started going at 4 or 5 am)
posted by cgfoz at 6:12 AM on October 17, 2005

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