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Thread: Shower Valve Vibrates Pipes

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Book3's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    Default Shower Valve Vibrates Pipes

    I ran into a problem that has me stumped. After 15 years, the faucet in my fiberglass shower unit needed replaced. After much searching, I finally found one for which the valve was about the same size as the old one, only about an inch wider. For the old one, the water lines came up from the floor and attached to the valve but the lines were free standing, i.e., not secured to the wood bracing. The new one, being an inch wider, put the lines against the bracing so I simply secured them to the wood as shown in the attachment (looking up at the valve). The valve is a quarter-turn valve starting at cold and opening to hot. When I begin opening the valve (cold) there is no problem. If I open int entirely to hot, there is no problem. But when I open it half way (warm), everything begins vibrating wildly. Does this indicate a bad valve, or should I not have the lines against the wood, or do I need to brace the wood better? Any help would be appreciated.

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  2. #2
    Master Plumber-Gas Fitter shacko's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    Rosedale, Md


    From the looks of it you don't have straps holding the pipe, you have to put enough on to keep it from bouncing.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
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    Opening a valve partially should not cause vibration, unless there is some loose part in the valve.

  4. #4
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Aug 2008


    What's your GPM at the half-open setting? Does it make this noise with a shower head on?

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member le proprio's Avatar
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    Jul 2011

    Default I have the same problem! Did you resolve yours? If so how?

    I recently replaced a three-handled shower tap (hot tap on left, mixer tap in the middle, cold on the right) with a quarter-turn single handle pressure-balancing mixer. Exactly the same story as original poster. All cold OK. All hot OK. Mixing can set up violent vibration. If I adjust VERY slowly, there is much less likelihood of machine-gun vibration/ shaking/ rattling, but it can still occur. With the water still running, I can put the mixer handle back to all cold or all hot, and the banging stops. Then I can try to adjust very gingerly to the desired temperature, and vibration may or may not return.

    The brand is Belanger, a Canadian importer (I am in Montreal). Their customer service first recommended removing the spring-loaded check valve mechanisms, but this produced no change. Then we changed the main cartridge in the mixer valve. Still the same behaviour.

    Pipes are 1/2" copper, less than 20 yrs. old, municipal water main supply, no problems anywhere else in the building ever. This is a typical Montreal row house from the 1920's. Water supply lines were updated at some point, but certainly no air chambers or water hammer arresters have been installed - but we have no water hammer problem to my knowledge.

    The fixture is in a top floor (third storey) unit. Could this be some air trapped in a line somewhere? The shaking is very disconcerting and loud.

    Looking forward to your ideas.

    I will try to post a link to a video soon, for better diagnostic help.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Long Island, NY


    The shower valve itself with the three handles: does the hot and cold valves use washers? maybe the washers on the hot and cold have loose screws attaching them to the valve stems.

    Duh, I have to read better and look at the picture!
    Last edited by BobL43; 07-29-2011 at 03:55 PM.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Take the showerhead off and try it. There could be something caught in there. You can get more volume when you are mixing both hot and cold, and that may be enough to 'lift' some debris that then slows the flow, it falls back and repeats.

    Air would quickly be purged once you start running the water, so that's not it. Also note that some valves specify installation of water hammer arresters, and that may be required to stop the noises. To work properly, if required, they need to be installed as close as possible to the valve. Use an engineered one, not just a capped piece of pipe sticking up.
    Last edited by jadnashua; 07-29-2011 at 03:13 PM.
    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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