View Full Version : Pipe Noise??? HELP

07-15-2006, 06:05 AM
Hello, I just had a sprinkler system installed (July 06). I am having a problem with some pipe noise. A little backround...Live in Missouri, main water line comes in basement wall, the sprinkler system is tapped in before a pressure regulator valve, the sprinkler line then runs up the wall and out of the house to the backflow preventer. The noise happens when the zones or stations are opening, I know this because I programmed a delay in the system between zones and the noise happens only when the valves are opening. My sprinkler guy (lets call him Earl) put an air arrestor on to try and stop the problem, but not working. Mypressure at the hose spigit is 60-65, wihich is after the pressure regulator in the basement. I noticed when try to clear air form the lines (thought that might the problem) that the nose stops when the bathtub is running which is the first outlet on the water line. Earl has been installing systems for 15 years and says he doesn't understand the problem. "My house is no different than 10 other he intalled this month." The only relief I found was in reducing the pressure via the regulator valve. I am worried because I don't want the pressure in the house to drop to a level that is noticable in the shower. Also the city is panning to add another water tower next spring. Please help and I will provide any more info. Hope I didn't ramble already. Also I have a Potable Water Expanansion Tank on the cold water line near the hot water heater which is at the other end of the basement. Don't know if this makes snese but the nosie at startup is unbearable for a few seconds then is fine til the next zone kicks on. Could the sprinkler system be robbing the pressure form the house?? Does the PVR allow water to go both ways that the only way any of this makes sense, because when I turn the adjust nut out to reduce pressure the nouse is gone. But like I said I don't want the rest of the house to suffer. Thanks KK

07-15-2006, 08:01 AM
I was wondering if you had an expansion tank. How about when the sprinklers try to come on, the pressure drops in the city water line on the city side of your regulator. So the expansion tank is trying to take up the slack and is squirting water through your regulator valve backwards. That could be your noise.


07-15-2006, 12:28 PM
Yes Bob I have an expansion tank. It is further inside the house near the water heater...it is on the cold water line. Could this be the cause of the problem and if so have you heard of this before and what do I do to fix it?? My neighbor has a very similar set up and has never had this problem.. Also to help alleviate the problem I have reduced the pressure coming into the house by way of the PVR. Is this good or should I increase pressure?? I am at a loss here. Thanks KK

07-17-2006, 05:45 AM
Yes it could be the tank in my opinion. But since I do not work on city water issues, maybe one of the plumbers here will have some experience with this problem. It just make sense to me that this can happen with a tank on one side of a spring loaded valve and water trying to get through it backwards could make some sort of weird noise. When the sprinklers turn on, a lot of water is let go all at once and the tank could be trying to supply it's cache of water to help out.


07-24-2006, 06:34 AM
I do not understand how a pressure regulator is working properly if it is before the pressure tank/pressure switch. If the regulator is set below the shut off pressure of the pressure switch, the tank should not be able to fill to the shut off point, which would dead head and burn up your pump. If the regulator is set above the shut off pressure of the pressure switch, then the pressure never gets high enough for the regulator to do anything. A pressure regulator should be installed after the pressure tank on the line feeding the house. Then it has to be set at about the turn on pressure of the pressure switch so that the pressure in the house stays steady at 60 PSI while the pressure switch cycles the pump on and off between 60 and 80 PSI. Water running backwards through a regulator can make thumping noises when the sprinkler starts and there is more pressure in the tank than on the inlet side of the regulator. When you reduce the setting of the regulator below the pressure in the tank, the tank pressure keeps the regulator closed and the water to the sprinklers is coming directly from the pump. Move the regulator to the house side of the pressure tank or just take it off. Unless Earl has drilled a hole in the regulator, I don't see how the pressure tank is filling to the shut off point or what keeps the pump from melting down.

07-24-2006, 08:27 AM
I was under the impression he is on city water. Does he have a pump and pressure switch?


07-29-2006, 07:12 PM
It is recommended by irrigation valve manufacturers to operate sprinkler valves at no higher than 45-50 psi, so there should be a seperate pressure reducing valve serving the irrigation system. That will reduce noise considerably and has done just that in my experience for this same issue.

08-08-2006, 11:38 AM
Hello again...to make it clear I have city water, no pump. The water comes in my house via the basement...then to a main shut off valve...then to a pressure regulator...then the sprinkler system tees off and up and out to the side of my house...from that tee the main water travels to the rest of the house. In the middle of the basement is my water heater. The potable water expansion tank I refer to is on the cold water line near the water heater. Hope this clears up the confusion. Since my last post the noise has lessened. Some days it is worse than others. Please someone try ot figure this out...Thanks KK

08-08-2006, 11:52 AM
Just for the sake of arguement, why don't you try teeing into the main line before that regulating valve. I'll bet the noise will go away.


08-13-2006, 05:51 AM
Hello again...to make it clear I have city water, no pump. The water comes in my house via the basement...then to a main shut off valve...then to a pressure regulator...then the sprinkler system tees off and up and out to the side of my house...

I'm confused -- in your first post, you said the sprinkler system is teed in BEFORE the pressure reducing valve (PRV).

Paul R
08-19-2006, 07:39 PM
I noticed that nothing had been posted in a week or so, but I'm real interested in how this turned out. My scenario was just like yours (almost to the letter). I also had an irrigation system installed by a local professional who hasn't offered much help in fixing this. With mine, I'd sporadically get that noise (like sneakers in a dryer) when I turned my sprinklers on, but the kicker is when the sprinklers are already running. When they're running and I turn on any plumbing in the house (even just an icemaker filling a tray) my pipes in the house will start chattering for about 20-30 seconds and then settle down. It can get pretty violent at times. It was worse when I had the inlet valve to the sprinker backflow preventer wide open, but I've tweaked it back a bit to keep the house from jumping out of its skin. I still can't get rid of it. Pressure off the street is about 80 lbs. Pressure to the house is @ 60 afer the PRV. The sprinklers are tapped into the line at the meter, PRIOR to the PRV.... and yes, I also have an expansion tank at the water heater on the cold line AFTER the PRV. My sense is that my expansion tank has some issues of it's own because it always seems to stay half full, but pressure in the house stays consistently @ 60lbs so it's still handling thermal expansion OK. Your thoughts? My plumber was thinking about putting a 2nd expansion tank on the city side of the PRV. I'm also thinking that we might as well replace the existing tank at the water heater with a new one. Whatcha' think? Someone also had mentioned adding a PRV to the irrigation line. Do I really need all 3?

08-14-2008, 05:16 PM
Hello, I just joined. I had a similar noise problem after we installed a new sprinkler system around the 4th of July this year (2008). I googled and found this group, but it was too technical for me. I am new to sprinkler systems and decided to study a little bit and was able to fix our problem. Based on what I read here, I feel like my experience would help some of you or some future readers. I live in Claremont, California (35 miles east of LA). One day I realized the portion of the pipe connecting two values broke and I decided that it would be a good time to replace all the valves and the whole assembly. So, we bought six of Rainbird JTV/ASF-075 values and installed them successfully, we thought. When we tried each value (station) manually they worked well. We connected them all to the main controller and set the time to be 12:30am. They seemed have worked well - until about 3 weeks later. In the middle of the night (when station 6) started, the noise was so loud we thought the whole house was going to collapse. The noise was travelling between the area where the new values were installed which is in the front of the house and the back of the house where there is another set of four valves which are controlled by a separate controller. I went out and basically identified where the noise was coming from, but couldn't do much. I shut the controller down. A friend of mine suggested that it is perhaps because the water pressure in the middle of the night is too high, so try to water at a different time. So, we reprogrammed and let them run early morning hours instead, and the noise did not come back. So, we thought that fixed the problem. A few more weeks went by, but we noticed that two (stations 4 and 6) of the new stations had not been working, i.e., grass was dying in those areas. Plus the noise came back to station 6. I decided to learn a little bit about the values. I read the Rainbird manual and tried various things, which I would like to share. First, I tried to swap the controller wire from station 5 (which was working fine) with station 4 and verified that the controller is sending the signal ok to valve 4. Similarly control signal was working fine for station 6 as well. Both stations 4 and 6 worked fine when I tried the external bleed screw. So, I thought it must be that there is something wrong with either the solenoid or the diaphragm. By the way this particular value has three ways of controlling water flow through the value: (1) external bleed screw to manually turn it on or off; (2) the 'black knob' by which the amount of water flow can be adjusted; and (3) the solenoid that you can manually turn to turn the water on or off. As I said external bleed screw worked ok on both 4 and 6. For the 'black knob' that controls the amount of water I left all 6 of them fully open. Now the solenoid: this is where control wire is coming in from the main controller. Apparently the wire internally turns it on or off when it is operational. We can manually turn the solenoid without the electrical signal to turn the station on or off. So, I tried to turn 4 manually using solenoid. Aha, the water was flowing through the valve 4 so little that only one of the sprinkler heads was getting a little bit of water and all the other heads were not getting any. Similarly valve 6, there was no water at all reaching the heads. I concluded that the mechanism within the valve that controls the water flow was not working. I went to the store and bought two more valves of the same model. I swapped the part containing solenoid and diaphragm of valve 4 and a new one. Hey - station 4 worked now. Now on to station 6. With new parts installed on station 6, it was getting water alright now but the problem was that the NOISE came back!!! By sheer luck, a thought flashes by - perhaps there may be too much water flowing into the value? I decided to try to reduce the amount of water flow into it. Sure enough the noise went away. Whew...!!!... Without understanding fully why, the controller for the amount of water was open fully on all 6, but the very last one could not handle that same amount of water. So, the problem I think was that two of the original new values were not good or got broken. Trying a different amount of water flow through the valve makes a difference when it comes to noise (?). I am happy that I fixed mine at least for now. I am not sure if there is more fundamental problem that I did not fix such as water pressure, back flow control, hammer something, etc. etc. Before you spend a lot of money replacing/installing many of these, try something simple - you might get lucky like me. I hope this is useful for someone. I am a college professor (computer science) who did not know anything about sprinkler systems - just bought a house about a year ago, got interested in gardening, started replacing all the plants/grass with drought tolerant plants. Ended up learning a little bit about sprinkler systems. The previous owner was watering this garden every day - we are watering twice a week - our goal is to reduce it to once a week during the summer and none during the winter. - Ace.

08-15-2008, 05:32 AM
I would think the valves trying to close at 80+ lbs of pressure could be the most likely culprit. It happens on Autotrol heads when they go through their cycles on a normal backwash. If the pressure is too high, they will vibrate the entire plumbing system. I don't think sprinkler valves would be any different. For that matter, I don't think the sprinklers were designed for that kind of pressure either.


08-17-2008, 10:23 PM
Valve noise can be cause by several issues. If your circuit is large enough and when the valve turns on, it will make a loud noise. This is simply water filling up the circuit. To get this to stop try inserting small nozzles in the sprinkler heads or turn down the flow control in the valve.
To get the hammer out of a system try turning on all the bleed screws and the turn the solenoids. In outer words turn on all the valves. Leave on for about a min or two. High pressure can cause noises. Rain bird and most of the big box valves dont like the psi about 55. A trick sometimes is to turn down the flow control. Then turn on the bleed screw. If you still hear noise then turn down the flow control even more.
If you cant get the PSI down then the one thing i would do is recommend using a valve from Griswold control. They are about 100.00 a piece. They take alot of abuse. They don't clog from dirty water, don't produce water hammer from high psi. They open and close slow. You can only get this valve from irrigation supply houses. If you buy this valve it will be the last valve you will ever buy.
Good Luck