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Thread: Pipes make loud noises but only at night.

  1. #1

    Question Pipes make loud noises but only at night.

    i was wondering if anyone could help me. i have a small condo with upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. recently with the colder weather approaching here in VT the pipes have been rattling very loudly but only in the evening. it sounds almost like a jack hammer. heres the thing....when i turn off the water to the upstairs toilet nothing happens but when i turn off the water on the downstairs toilet it cures the pipe problem. also and i dont know if this has anything to do with the same problem but the upstairs toilet seems to never stop cycling at night also....it does fine in the day but cycles almost all night....it will fill tank then when tank is full the volume of the cycling decreases but there is still noise and it will go for hours. someone please help me im baffled! the condo was built in the early 80's and ive only lived here a few months.

  2. #2

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    A leaky toilet fill valve can cause pipes to bang or hum. Sounds like you need to replace the fill valve in both toilets. You might as well replace the flappers too while you're at it. That should take care of all the problems.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It is not uncommon for the water pressure to be higher at night since fewer people are running it on a municipal system. That increased pressure may overcome the valve in the toilet and make noise. You might want to go buy a water pressure gauge and check what the pressure is. If it gets over say 80 pounds, you should put in a pressure reduction valve and an expansion tank for the water heater. Some people like to limit it to around 60 pounds.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    I'm with Jim - I bet it's a water pressure problem, showing up at a toilet fill valve.

    Here's a quick test, until you get your pressure gauge - next time you hear the noise, open a faucet anywhere in the house - hot or cold - if the noise immediately stops, you most likely need an expansion tank (and possibly a pressure-reducing valve). The other thing that may be happening at night is thermal expansion from water in your water heater expanding, in addition to the higher night-time pressures mentioned above.

    Do a search on "expansion tank" and you'll see many posts from others with this symptom.

  5. #5

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    I'll weigh in here with my opinion also... never had the need for an expansion tank but I'm sure it will help. I'd definitely install a pressure regulator. Alot of old time plumbers in my area have done a "cheap" expansion tank or water hammer preventer by installing a tee rather than an ell on the cold side of the water heater. Above that they would put a short length of pipe vertically which is capped off and holds air as a shock absorber. I'd bet that you've got water pressure which is at the threshold for opening that toilet valve. I recently installed a regulator for a customer who had TWO water heaters with T&P vavles opening up and running constantly. They had 100 PSI before and 75 PSI after the installation. It was a quick and easy job and problem was solved.

  6. #6

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    The thread-starter didn't mention that the T&P valve popped on the HW tank.

    It's possible that he only hears the noise at night because it is much quieter.

    I'd replace the toilet stuff first, since it's relatively simple and pursue the more complicated and expensive solutions if that doesn't solve the problem.

  7. #7

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    Yep... replace the fill valve first and see if that works... good chance that it will.

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    While you are at the store, buy the pressure gauge, too.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9

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    Oddly enough I've been using a homemade rig for several years until recently when I happened to see one on the shelf at Lowe's and bought it. I was very surprised at the low price....about 1/2 of what I had expected...and I can just screw it right onto any hose pipe bib... I'll keep the other to use on pipes I can simply screw onto normal pipe treads threads.

  10. #10
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Odds are that it might be flappers.....

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