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Noisy pipes!

lissak27
lissak27 Member Posts: 6
edited April 2015 in THE MAIN WALL
A pipe in the wall of our bedroom is expanding whenever any of our neighbors turn on the heat (or hot water maybe?) and a loud tapping noise comes through the wall. It happens all day long, probably hundreds of times a day, but is loudest at night, and it is driving my boyfriend and me crazy. It's a loud ticking similar to the one in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sdiEdwUO7A

To try to solve the problem, the building management has cut a hole in our wall and shoved rubber pieces around the pipe to insulate it and keep it from moving around. It seemed to help for a day or so but then the sound was back full force. So they cut another hole, higher up (it seemed like the sound was higher up), added more rubber, but still, nonstop ticking just as loud as ever.

My boyfriend and I are going crazy trying to move the rubber, or feel up the hole to figure out what/where it is hitting. All I can tell is that there is noise coming from one specific pipe. When I put my hand around it, I can feel it throb/beat along with the noise.

We have taken the hard step of cutting the holes and actually going into the wall, but now we're stuck. How can we identify where along the pipe the noise is coming from? Is there a particular location in a wall that might be more likely to cause noise? Is there a place where the pipe insulation might not exist (maybe to pass through a wall or something?) Could the sound be happening inside of the pipe insulation somehow?? Any other ideas?

I know these may be hard questions to answer since things vary from home to home but I'm at a complete loss here and I know so little about pipes. It seems like management's solution of adding rubber is not doing anything.

In case this helps, here are pics:

Pipe: http://imgur.com/jvfJNKk,Jd12ja7#1
Inside the wall: http://imgur.com/jvfJNKk,Jd12ja7#0

This building was built in 2008 and is 23 floors.

Thank you for your help!

Comments

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Very possibly pipe expansion where the pipe goes through one of the floors and is rubbing against the floor/subfloor.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,331
    23 floors straight up and no expansion joint or loop?? It will leak at some point some day.
    I suspect Fred is correct, or it could be a hanger on the pipe in the wall.

    Tell them you making a deduction in your rent till they fix it. Call them day and night.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    I don't know what floor you're on, but do the neighbors above and below you hear it? If you find that out it will help narrow down where the noise is coming from and the solution will be easier to identify.
    Harvey RamerZman
  • RJMCTAFO
    RJMCTAFO Member Posts: 113
    As crazy as it sounds for the short term...... Dish soap. Put it on the pipe where you can see it and let it run down the pipe if the noise is below. Have used that trick before where baseboard feed comes up through floor. Worth a shot but still needs to be fixed properly.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    edited April 2015
    Fred said:

    Very possibly pipe expansion where the pipe goes through one of the floors and is rubbing against the floor/subfloor.

    +1

    I'm guessing DWV expansion if it's PVC and not supply. With 23 floors I'm hoping they have a hot water recirc loop, so the supply should be pretty hot most of the time and shouldn't be affected by someone turning it on and off. The drain on the other hand...

  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    PVC on a 23 story building?i have never seen it.Maybe a ny thing we use cast iron and copper.What floor are you on?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,468
    jonny88 said:

    PVC on a 23 story building?i have never seen it.Maybe a ny thing we use cast iron and copper.What floor are you on?

    Do they allow the use of orange PVC for sprinkler systems in NYC yet? If not, they will down the road.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • lissak27
    lissak27 Member Posts: 6
    edited April 2015
    Thanks for the responses. I am on the 9th floor. It seems to be a metal pipe (copper maybe?) with a thick layer of insulation tubing around it. I don't know if it's anchored anywhere. It's apparently a known issue with the building that the management doesn't like to talk about. :-/

    I also think it is worth noting that there is a heating vent right next to the pipe. Yesterday I noticed that when I shove my hand down the wall to feel the pipe, I can tell that the insulation around the pipe stops and an off shoot of the pipe then goes toward the vent. I'm guessing that there may be something knocking the wall/entry way to the vent around that area. I took the cover off the vent and can feel the vibrations in a pipe in the vent area so I'm thinking that might be the location of the problem? Does that sound logical?

    Or is it more likely the pipe hitting the floor space it's feeding up through below?

    In either case, I will definitely try dripping some liquid soap down to see if that might help.

    We have been complaining but I'm concerned that the management just doesn't get it or doesn't think it's completely fixable. They say they've talked to our above and below neighbors and they aren't hearing anything but we've yet to ask our neighbors ourselves.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Noises in a pipe radiate and are not typically isolated to just you being able to hear it. I'd check with those neighbors above and below you personaly and find out for myself.
    If the pipe is actually vibrating, it is most likely tapping against the floor or wall structure and soap won't help that. The intent of soap is to make the surfaces slippery so that the pipe can slide as it expands. Simply won't fix tapping as a result of vibration. If you hold the pipe to stop the vibration, oes the tapping stop? If so, maybe it can be strapped suffeciently enough to stop the noise.
  • lissak27
    lissak27 Member Posts: 6
    Ok I will ask the neighbors tonight. I haven't been able to stop the vibration unless I actually pull on the pipe. Holding it in place and I can just feel the vibration in my hands, but if I gently pull the entire thing to the left it stops the noise to a faint tap. Pulling a bit harder completely stops the noise. When I let go of the pipe, I hear a creaking noise as it goes back into place, which worries me, so I haven't messed with this too much.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    lissak27 said:

    Ok I will ask the neighbors tonight. I haven't been able to stop the vibration unless I actually pull on the pipe. Holding it in place and I can just feel the vibration in my hands, but if I gently pull the entire thing to the left it stops the noise to a faint tap. Pulling a bit harder completely stops the noise. When I let go of the pipe, I hear a creaking noise as it goes back into place, which worries me, so I haven't messed with this too much.

    You should demonstrate that to the building manager or maintenance guy. They may be able to strap it in such a way as to stop the noise.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    Is that your lav vanity sink that makes that noise or just a demo from somewhere?
    If yours you could determine if it is the hot water supply or the drain line. Just plug the drain and fill the sink with hot water. When full, without letting any water go down the drain or overflow opening, shut off the hot water and listen. If you hear the noise it is the supply. If quiet then pull the plug and listen for the drain to sound off.
    The sink is probably pretty small and you may have to run some water to get it very hot, so catch it in a bucket so as not to run it down the drain. Then do the test.
    STEVEusaPA
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    When I used to work in the city we installed a six elbow swing.We would transition from copper to brass and make swing.Keyflex make great expansion joints.Hot up @JohnNY he is a city plumber and will be up to date on this.Be careful when pushing that line over,copper expands .Keep us posted please but try and ask John .Good luck.@Chrisj to the best of my knowledge I dont believe they are using plastic yet on sprinkler in NYC I have seen it installed though.Fire and Sprinkler is a whole different license here.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,468
    @jonny88 When I was working on commercial jobs as a carpenter back in 2006 they were just starting to use orange pvc for sprinklers here in nj. Not sure how far it went since then but I know the sprinkler guys were upset about it
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    I bet they did,taking the skillset away always leads to problems which we are experiencing with pex right now as contractors are cutting out plumbers etc.By the way @Chrisj really enjoyed your video on your boiler
  • lissak27
    lissak27 Member Posts: 6
    The video is just something I found online that demonstrates the noise pattern. It isn't as loud, thank god. But it is frequent, in our bedroom, and it is loud enough to wake us up every night.

    Last night I realized that if I anchored the pipe with only one rubber piece in one specific place (very far down near the floor), the noise almost completely went away! So I'm thinking the pipe is indeed hitting the floor board. Unfortunately, come this morning it's loud again. I think the pipe is wiggling its way out of my anchor. But that gave me some good info to share with my building management who I have contacted and should hear back from soon.

    So, now understanding that it's very likely the non-insulated part of the pipe hitting the floor board, what is the permanent solution? Is it to put a permanent strap of some type in that location I found to keep it anchored there? Or would it be to cut away that part of the floorboard to let the pipe move freely? Hard to know without seeing it in person? I just want to ask that my building do the correct thing that will be a permanent fix.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited April 2015
    If they can wrap the area where it goes down into the floor with rubber or maybe even fiberglass insulation and push that down into the floor cavity (if there iss enough of an opening) that will probably resolve the problem. If the opening in the floor isn't big enough to squeeze some type of insulation into it, they probably need to strap the pipe so thaat it doesn't hit the side of the floor board. If they try cutting the floor board back, I would still suggest packing it with insulation or it just might allow more room for that pipe to vibrate and bang even more.
  • lissak27
    lissak27 Member Posts: 6
    edited April 2015
    Great, that makes sense and I'll let them know. I also still need to discuss with my neighbors (after securing the pipe and quieting the noise last night I thought I had solved the problem and didn't need to bother... dumb wishful thinking I guess).

    Final question - does this seem like shoddy construction work or is it just something that happens?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    By itself, no one could call it shoddy construction. In hind sight, if they are having this problem throughout the building, they probably are wishing that had foam-filled the areas where the pipe passes through the floor. They may have left it this way by design to allow for easier pipe repairs. Hopefully they strapped the piping as they should have.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Apologies for continuing the off-topic thread on fire sprinklers, but CPVC fire pipe has a number of significant advantages over steel and also an excellent track record. The biggest problem IMO (more of a nuisance, actually) is the risk of overtightened heads -- and Spears solved that problem years ago.

    NFPA 13 (all of them) are quite clear on where and how CPVC can and can not be applied, and the near-complete absence of MIC in CPVC wet pipe systems really is a huge win. Automatic fire sprinklers save lives -- and a lot of them Your insurance company has the math, and your premiums reflect it.

    I do worry about Legionella in the new combined residential PEX systems, but I don't lose sleep over properly installed CPVC fire pipe.
    ChrisJ
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    SWEI said:


    I do worry about Legionella in the new combined residential PEX systems, but I don't lose sleep over properly installed CPVC fire pipe.

    Don't quote me on this but I believe that the combined domestic and fire systems are engineered to have flow through all lines (except of course where the head drops are).
  • lissak27
    lissak27 Member Posts: 6
    Thank you Fred and everyone for your help! I will update once this is resolved.