Buzzing/vibration from hot water system when NOT running?

#1
Ok, Ive got an odd problem with my plumbing, and rather than fork out for an idle, self assured rip-off trades man to come and tut at me for £50 then do a £5 fix, I thought i'd trust you lot instead

I have an intermittent vibration on the hot water system. This only occurs occasionally, and only when the system is NOT in use. It is not on the heating side (ie not the radiators). One tap, the bathroom basin hot tap, shows the greatest vibration, but the act of touching the tap to feel it stops it! A gentle touch wont always, but grasping the tap as if to use it stops the noise and vibration completely!

Ive seen various suggestions for fixing noise and vibration in a running hot system, but not anything in this case

Any ideas?


incidentally, Im due to change the bathroom taps this weekend, so can do any remedial work at the same time
 
#5
We had a loose piece of solder or some such in our radiator that caused all sorts of bloody noise.

We got a man in to do it and the problem went away. He was called a 'Plumber' I recall and appeared to know all about hot water systems and the like.

Your approach appears more likely to sort the problem out.
 
#6
Thanks for such inspired replies so soon! May I say to the majority to **** off? If I wanted crap answers i'd be in the NAAFI.

Can anyone provide some serious and knowledgable info at all please?

Brettarider, Its not hammer, it only occurs when the system isnt in use, no change to flow
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
have you checked the pump and diverter are working properly?
 
#9
Yes I have had that too. I went into the attic and inspected the hot water feed tank (the one that feeds the hot water cylinder). I found the ball cock valve was very stiff. I turned off the feed water and stripped the ball cock valve, cleaned and lubed it with grease and replaced the rubber seal. Since then (1981) never been a problem. I would advise if you are not mechanically minded, call a tradesman, but it is an easy DIY job though.
 
#11
Have a look at the major components to determine which (if any) are causing the vibration. Also check that the pipework near where the noise is loudest is properly supported.
 
#12
Blanco, cheers, have to go up the loft tomorrow anyway so will check it out. Thinking about it, the valve was stiff soem time ago and caused a bit of a problem, but i'd thought the good clout i gave it with a wrench had sorted it!

JD - radiators are already bled!

As said, this only occurs when the system is not in use. I have never yet had it happen when either drawing off hot water, or when the boiler/radiators are operating.

Whats annoying though is that its most audible and sensible (ie can feel it) at this one bathroom tap, so i guess the vibration is travelling down to the furthest point before becoming noticable.

If it is the ball cock valve then thats a relatively simple job whilst i have the system down to put the taps on (was only going to use the isolation valves under each tap, but may as well drain down)
 
#13
w-b...turn off the water to the tank. Remove split pin and pull ball cock arm away from pivot post. Catch the seal holder before it falls to the bottom of the tank. The seal holder looks like its one piece but its not. It will unscrew into two pieces enabling you to replace the seal. Replace in reverse order. Good luck! BB.
 
#14
w-b...turn off the water to the tank. Remove split pin and pull ball cock arm away from pivot post. Catch the seal holder before it falls to the bottom of the tank. The seal holder looks like its one piece but its not. It will unscrew into two pieces enabling you to replace the seal. Replace in reverse order. Good luck! BB.
Whats the seal, is it just a standard rubber washer (sort of thing i'll have) or a specialist part? Im just thinking that if its a special part thats going to cost a couple quid, by the time i factor in the cost of fuel to visit the plumbers merchant, I might as well swap the whole valve? Never taken one apart before
 
#16
The seal is a small (usually black) rubber about the diameter of a 5p coin and 3mm thick. Cost about 1p each. They are usually found in a pack of tap washers bought from DIY stores. They are a very common part.

Edit...was 1p back in 1981 may be more now. donmac has posted a useful link.
 
#18
Cheers. Probably one in my washer kit somewhere then
Probably not, which is why I used to have a box of them in my kit.

Ball Valve Spares 107Pcs | Screwfix.com

Float valves for cisterns are very easy to rebuild. Strip it, it it needs a clean don't use sand paper, files or screwdrivers - soak it in a limescale remover or vinegar. Re-assemble with new washer, apply a water resistant lubricant, replace in cistern (they are called cisterns not tanks). Make sure you have a couple of handy bath towels and a washing up bowl .......just in case.

For general plumbing, drainage, gas and lpg spares give these a call get their catalogue and marvel at the cheapness that plumbists buy their gear. Just tell them you are a newly qualified new trade customer when you call.

Plumbing Supplies | BES Gas & Plumbing Fittings

If the fault continues and is really, really, annoying then section off parts of your system using plastic pushfit plumbing. It will stop the resonance in long runs of copper pipe and also remove problems caused by the expansion of copper pipe.

By the way it would'nt have been 50 quid. At least 150 because the whole system would need to be checked over until the fault was found.;))
 
#19
I'd say you just need some pipe brackets or something to stop the vibration. Any pipework has several types of bangs, knocks and rattles. It's often fixable for a few pence.

I had a rattling cold water ( mains ) pipe that was annoying in that it would rattle away, then nothing for months, then it would start again for a few days and then go.

A small wooden shaving, about half the thickness of a match, has cured it for the last ten years. It was rattling against a joist.
 
#20
Its because you have to allow for the expansion and contraction of the copper pipe. Short lengths can be tightly held, but as soon as they start to get long or complicated in design you have to start allowing for the changing length. You can use high temp grease in pipe clips too, or where pipe lays on a joist put some pipe wrap/sacking/hemp under it.
 
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