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Thread: loud howling noise coming from pressure regulator

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member rayjoe123's Avatar
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    Default loud howling noise coming from pressure regulator

    Hello i have a question. i had a very loud noise in my basement at my pressure regulator, i can hear the noise when the shower is on or when the washing machine is on or any faucet. so I had a plumber come out and replace the pressure regulator , he then hooked up a gauge and the gauge read 50 psi. after about 2 days later i again heard the loud noise, so i turned on the shower and went downstairs and when i put my hand on the pressure regulator the noise quite, is there a way to correct this. im pretty handy , the pressure regulator is soldered in and my water lines are 3/4" copper , they are all strapped down but the regulator is not strapped it is soldered onto the pipes im not sure if that is the problem, Now im thinking my old pressure regulator was not bad, because this new one has been installed and im having the same problems, any advice would be greatly appreciated my wife is driving me crazy, she wants this howling noise to stop. thanks.
    Last edited by rayjoe123; 10-22-2010 at 07:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Do you have an expansion tank? Has the tank failed (i.e., is it full of water - it should be mostly empty and full of air)? Buy yourself a gauge for about $10 and check it yourself. What is the pressure on the inlet side? Watch the pressure on the output side, especially after tanking a shower or using a bunch of hot water which will cause the WH to turn on. Hot water expands, and if there's no expansion tank, or yours has failed, it raises the pressure until the weakest thing leaks to relieve it, or if not high enough, just results in it being (momentarily until you use some water) high.

    Make sure that your main water valve is fully open. and the one(s) at the WH.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member rayjoe123's Avatar
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    hello jadnashua thanks for the reply. i do not have an expansion tank on my water heater. the incoming water pressure after the regulator is 50 psi. i have a full port 3/4" shut off valve for my main water supply it is fully opened. i have never had an expansion tank on any of the water heaters at this house. should i install an expansion tank on my water heater to resolve the loud howling noise coming from the pressure regulator. its really weird that when i grab the pressure regulator and hold onto it the noise completely stops......... to be honest im not sure when my wife first started hearing this loud noise, she said she was washing clothes one day and all of a sudden she heard the loud noise. so thats when i had the pressure regulator replaced and at the same time i had the water heater replaced because the old water heater was 11 years old and i normally replace them at that mark if they last that long. the new water heater and the new regulator are now 2 months old. the estate we live at has about 70 homes and there are only 2 residence that have the expansion tank on there water heater , my neighbors live 6 feet away and they have no noise coming from there pressure regulator and they have no expansion tank. i will install one if you think that will resolve the issue , thanks again for the reply....

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I don't see the expansion tank doing anything for the noise. However it may be needed for thermal expansion. That would depend on whether or not your PRV has an internal bypass and the supplied pressure from the street.

    I'm curious though about what your supplied pressure is...
    Do you know?

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The valve is either installed backwards or it is sticking. Change it.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A PRV acts like a variable check valve...water goes one way, but not the other. So, when the volume of the water in the house expands from heating cold water in the tank, the pressure will rise without someplace for it to go - the PRV can't work backwards. Without a PRV, it pushes back to the street. Some cities are now putting checkvalves in/near the meter to prevent that as it is safer - if your water for some reason got polluted, you couldn't push it back into the supply to pollute others (like if you left a hose in a puddle and there was a hiccup in the pressure). So, with a closed system, you need some place for the water to expand, thus the expansion tank.

    A PRV can be made with a bypass valve in it to help with that situation. But, if the external pressure is quite high, you'll still get an overpressure situation in the house, so it's not a good idea to rely on it. If you were getting high pressure in the house because of expansion, and the PRV wasn't operating properly, it might make some noise as the internal pressure rose.

    ANY closed system with a heater needs an expansion tank.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayjoe123 View Post
    when i put my hand on the pressure regulator the noise quite, is there a way to correct this. im pretty handy
    Your hand pressure damps out, or deforms things enough to prevent, the oscillation.

    Usually I recommend finding the root cause but in this case I'd say temporarily duplicate your hand pressure with some kind of homemade fixture anchored to the wall or to pipes or to the regulator itself.
    Maybe just putting mild pressure on the nearby pipes also stops it.

    There's a small chance that this fix will work for a few days and the noise will return even with the fix in place. In any case you may get some clues as to the cause.

    But, being that new it could also be "infant mortality"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve
    these failures are due to factory defects.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 10-23-2010 at 11:45 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member rayjoe123's Avatar
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    hello redwood. i had water company out and they said the incoming water pressure to my house from outside meter into my house is 96 psi.

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    DIY Junior Member rayjoe123's Avatar
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    hello hj. this is the second pressure regulator i had installed because i thought the last one was bad because of the loud noise, would two different plumbers have installed the regulator backwards twice.........

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member rayjoe123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    A PRV acts like a variable check valve...water goes one way, but not the other. So, when the volume of the water in the house expands from heating cold water in the tank, the pressure will rise without someplace for it to go - the PRV can't work backwards. Without a PRV, it pushes back to the street. Some cities are now putting checkvalves in/near the meter to prevent that as it is safer - if your water for some reason got polluted, you couldn't push it back into the supply to pollute others (like if you left a hose in a puddle and there was a hiccup in the pressure). So, with a closed system, you need some place for the water to expand, thus the expansion tank.

    A PRV can be made with a bypass valve in it to help with that situation. But, if the external pressure is quite high, you'll still get an overpressure situation in the house, so it's not a good idea to rely on it. If you were getting high pressure in the house because of expansion, and the PRV wasn't operating properly, it might make some noise as the internal pressure rose.

    ANY closed system with a heater needs an expansion tank.
    So i should install the expansion tank anyways for safety. Thanks.
    Last edited by rayjoe123; 10-23-2010 at 12:43 PM.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member rayjoe123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatguy View Post
    Your hand pressure damps out, or deforms things enough to prevent, the oscillation.

    Usually I recommend finding the root cause but in this case I'd say temporarily duplicate your hand pressure with some kind of homemade fixture anchored to the wall or to pipes or to the regulator itself.
    Maybe just putting mild pressure on the nearby pipes also stops it.

    There's a small chance that this fix will work for a few days and the noise will return even with the fix in place. In any case you may get some clues as to the cause.

    But, being that new it could also be "infant mortality"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve
    these failures are due to factory defects.

    Hello thatguy . i will try what you said to do. but what would you think the root cause is.. i have 96 psi water pressure coming in from city. i have 3/4" copper pipe throughout my entire house. the pressure regulator is brand new the water pressure after the regulator is 50 psi, my water heater is also brand new (bradford white). the pressure regulator is not strapped down to anything. the plumber soldered it onto the copper pipe, the copper pipe is mounted to cieling in basement. could vibration be causing it to make the howling noise. if i do strap it somehow what type of straps do you recommend..... Thanks.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    There is an arrow on the outside of the PRV, check to see that it is point TOWARDS the house side. I have not seen any PRV make noises unless one of those two conditions existed.

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    DIY Junior Member rayjoe123's Avatar
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    hello hj, i turned off the 3/4" shut off ball valve in my house and then i took channel locks and un-screwed the union side of the pressure regulator and then i turned the 3/4" shut off valve back on a little bit and water came flying out of the un-screwed side of the regulator there is an arrow as you said and it is pointing away from the 3/4" shut off valve towards the house in the direction of the water flow ............
    Last edited by rayjoe123; 10-23-2010 at 05:11 PM.

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member rayjoe123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    There is an arrow on the outside of the PRV, check to see that it is point TOWARDS the house side. I have not seen any PRV make noises unless one of those two conditions existed.
    Should i go and buy another pressure regulator and install it....... the regulator the plumber put on says watts on it..... and its all brass.. one side has a soldered male threaded adapter and the other side has a soldered union. but i guess i could have gotten two bad regulators beings i have the worst luck in the world....

  15. #15
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayjoe123 View Post
    i could have gotten two bad regulators beings i have the worst luck in the world....
    Or else something is making two perfectly good regulators fail.

    Can you post the noise on YouTube?

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