Weird water hammer issue - I would appreciate advice/thoughts

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Saxon

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I appreciate being able to post this here! Thank you for making this available! I've looked over other posts here and didn't find anything similar to what I am experiencing. Forgive me if I overlooked an answer already posted elsewhere.

I'm not a plumber, but not completely in the dark - almost, but not completely. I'll try to be accurate and to the point. About a month ago one evening, I noticed my water was off. The whole street was off - I assume for an emergency repair. When it came back on, the usual spitting/sputtering/nasty water I've always experienced after the water came back on didn't occur. I was surprised. Not long after, I wish I remembered how long, but don't, I noticed water hammer while my washing machine was filling. I installed a water hammer arrestor on the cold water side (I don't use the hot side), but it didn't help. I then noticed that the hammer (vibration) specifically occurred only when my washing machine or dishwasher were filling AND THEN one of the three toilets were flushed (there are 2 toilets upstairs, one downstairs. The dishwasher and washing machine are downstairs, btw). How it usually happens - the washing machine or dishwasher is filling, then a toilet gets flushed and the vibration starts - usually at the end of the toilet refilling. I added arrestors to all the toilets, but it didn't help. During one hammering event that occurred while the washing machine was filling and a toilet was refilling, i quickly opened the cold water on the bathroom sink, and the hammering went away. I've opened the cold water and stopped the hammering that way on a few occasions. Tonight, the washing machine was running downstairs, and I started using one of the upstairs bathroom sinks, and the hammer started. It was louder than normal. I turned the sink off and it stopped.

I bought a pressure gauge recently, and it was about 60 psi. I have done the drain the house procedure twice. The last time I let the system sit for 40 minutes after all the water drained. It didn't help either.

So, to kind of recap, in most cases I've experienced, if my washing machine or dishwasher are filling, and another source of water is used (so far, it's when anything in the bathrooms are turned on), the hammer starts, and it subsides if a 3rd source is opened. One more thing that I just remembered to mention - when nothing is running, and either of the upstairs toilets are used, when they get to the end if their filling, there is a relatively mild, quick, rapid-fire hammer/vibration. Sometimes the downstairs toilet does that, and other times I hear a soft "wooosh" sound after i hear the fill valve close on that particular toilet.

I have hearing loss, and I can never tell exactly where the hammer is coming from, which is frustrating.

I apologize if what I have posted here is too long winded or confusing, and I really appreciate the opportunity to see if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions. I thank any help in advance.

Saxon
 

John Gayewski

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Are all of your valves completely open? Leaving a gate valve partially closed can make odd noises.
 

Saxon

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Do you know if something changed?
No, I don't. I talked to a plumber on the phone earlier, and he's on his way out. Over the phone he seems to think something weird is going on inside the pressure regulator. It's 24 years old, so I guess it could be time to replace it? I guess we'll find out when he gets here. Thank you for your responses.
 

John Gayewski

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No, I don't. I talked to a plumber on the phone earlier, and he's on his way out. Over the phone he seems to think something weird is going on inside the pressure regulator. It's 24 years old, so I guess it could be time to replace it? I guess we'll find out when he gets here. Thank you for your responses.
Well yes if you have a regulator then it's very likley that. Often times when the municipality shuts the water off it causes issues with aged components.

Did you mention a regulator in your description? If so I must have skimmed over it.
 

John Gayewski

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No, I don't. I talked to a plumber on the phone earlier, and he's on his way out. Over the phone he seems to think something weird is going on inside the pressure regulator. It's 24 years old, so I guess it could be time to replace it? I guess we'll find out when he gets here. Thank you for your responses.
Often times just a cleaning will fix the regulator. Or it could need a rebuild kit. But if your having it professionally done he'll likley just want ri replace it. That's the solution that will be least likley to result in a call back.
 

Saxon

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Often times just a cleaning will fix the regulator. Or it could need a rebuild kit. But if your having it professionally done he'll likley just want ri replace it. That's the solution that will be least likley to result in a call back.
No, I apologize for not mentioning the regulator in the original post. I made the assumption that since my water pressure was in the normal range that the regulator was functioning properly. I will try to get back here and post what the outcome is. Thanks for your help!
 

Saxon

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Often times just a cleaning will fix the regulator. Or it could need a rebuild kit. But if your having it professionally done he'll likley just want ri replace it. That's the solution that will be least likley to result in a call back.
The plumber came out - great guy, btw - only charged me $50 for coming out. He said that it was likely the toilet fill valves, and could possibly be all 3. He saw where I had installed the arrestors and said that I could go to home depot and do it myself for way cheaper than him doing it - if he did the work it would be around $250/per toilet. I got three valves for $20 in a package. I flushed before and after each one I installed, and each one was causing the vibration, and each one stopped doing it after the new one was installed. I went around trying to recreate scenarios where the vibration was extreme, but thank God, never could. I never imagined those things could cause so much havoc. The ones I replaced were of varying ages. The oldest was maybe 10 years old, and the newest 2 or 3. Strange to a non-plumber like me, anyway, that all 3 started causing that noise at the same time.

Thanks for your help!
 

Reach4

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Thanks for the success update. Consider getting a garden hose thread pressure gauge. Maybe the new valves do a better job of tolerating high pressure. Click Inbox, above.
 

jadnashua

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Depending on the toilet fill valves you have, many of them have serviceable parts that are less expensive than replacing the whole valve, but (rarely) you'll need the whole thing. Both Korky and Fluidmaster, probably the two biggest brands in the USA, have repair seals that can be installed without tools.
 

Saxon

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Back again!

The city had the water main off again a couple days ago. When the water came back on, as with the previous time I mentioned above, there wasn't any sputtering air coming out of the faucets when they turned the water back on. And guess what came back? Yep, the water hammer. I wondered if somehow my new valves I installed had gotten ruined when they water was turned back on. I prayed about it and slept on it, and the thought dropped into my head this AM to simply turn the water supply valve off to each toilet, doing one at a time, flushing it, and then slowly turn the valves back on. I did that, and now the water hammer is gone, thank God! I'll have to file that away in my brain for the next time they have to turn the main off. I hope if someone else in the world has this issue, they'll see this thread and it helps them. I'm not a plumber, but my guess is that air gets in the fill valves when the water comes back on, causing the issue. God bless you all and thanks.
 
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