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Old 09-22-2008, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Florida
2,034 posts, read 3,529,434 times
Reputation: 953
Default Plumbing question-air in pipes?

My house was built in 2001 and since day one it has had this problem:

When I turn on the outside faucet, which is connected to a hose and closed nozzle, there is a constant groaning sound heard throughout the pipes in the house. It sounds like air in the pipes. It does it for any outside faucet.

The instant I turn on any faucet-inside or out-and water flows the noise goes away.

If the outside faucet is turned off the noise goes away. No noise with any of the inside faucets.

What is causing this? Why only the outside faucets?
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Old 09-22-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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I've come across hose bibs (outside faucets) with deteriorated rubber washers that have made the sound you describe.

For a few dollars you can pickup and new hose bib and give it a try.

If it is air in the pipes or water hammer... you might also try turning off the water main, opening all the faucets to let the water drain and then close the faucets and turn the water on. Doing this will let air get back into water hammer air-chambers if your home has them.

Note... don't be startled when you first open each faucet by the blast of air coming out... it's only temporary.
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:52 PM
 
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Default Very strange problem.....

The fact it occurs in only static non flow conditions is weird. Eliminates most normal causes like shape of valves, pressure drop considerations, your typical noise making conditions under flow, etc. etc.

Air should not play a factor, neither should air trap.

The fact the problem comes and goes just by opening / closing the outside valve is even weirder. But it only occurs if the system is static, soon as flow occurs anywhere it goes away. Is that true, if the flow is from an inside faucet with the outside faucet open but not flowing to the outside, does that cause it to stop??

If so it is pointing to the cause somehow being related to static head of pressure in the system. The system is fully pressurized by the outside supply from the street. The system will have the highest static pressure when there is no flow anywhere in the system.

Try this:
Open the outside valve, do you get the normal groaning with no flow anywhere in the system?

Ensure the hose is completely full, close the nozzle to the hose after spraying a bit. Does it groan agan. Immediately shut the outside faucet, does the groaning stop?

Repeat the above, open the outside faucet, spray some water to ensure hose is full. Stop spraying let the system go static with no flow anywere, does it groan again. Close outside valve, does groaning stop. With the outside valve closed, open the hose nozzle and drain out a bit of water, gallon or so. Tightly close the hose nozzle. Open the outside faucet, do you get the groaning sound?

The above should prove the hose is the problem child. Adding it too the system can start / stop the problem. Difficult to have an explanation.
Try moving the hose to different configurations. Pull it out straight and long over its length , can you make the sounds change? Grasping at straws. We need more clues.
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Old 09-23-2008, 04:41 AM
 
Location: Florida
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Wow! Thanks for the responses.

It is a well system if that makes any difference. I've lived with wells before and never had this issue.

I have to go to work now, I'll answer your questions tomorrow.

Thanks.
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:59 AM
 
3,021 posts, read 15,680,574 times
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Default Think resonance.......

Rethinking this it still doesn't make much sense.

One thing that can be going on is something known as resonance. Just about all things mechanical in nature have this, a natural frequency where they are in tune or want to resonate. Usually it is bad, usually applies to things that moving in some manner, rotating, vibrating.

Like ships at sea will have it in tanks, piping, equipment, etc. Will make strange noises, usual cause is the way, methods, etc they are mounted or their natural characteristics. The key being usually you think of the problem in something actively moving or being affected by vibration, heating, cooling, etc. Can be parasitic in nature. Can occur in duct work, will sometimes make weird sounds, might groan, can make a ticking type sound. Can occur in aircraft, anything that has active forces working, can be weight changes, stresses, etc.

But this problem appears to be totally static in nature and doesn't have the elements that normally you look for. House is not moving, should not be any vibration, just opening the outside valve should not change any weight, stresses or the general characteristics of the system. Almost points to a sort of "Coupling Effect", the hose is acting as some sort of antenna, picking up some vibrations or whatever from the ground. Even sounds weird.

But it might be worth a try to test for the effects.

Get the groaning sound to occur. Try to determined exactly what component is generating the sound, like in the length of pipe going to the outside faucet. Grab it with your hand like half way between its longest unsupported length. Does the sound stop? Try it at various points in the system, does supporting various components, grabbing, damping them, cause things to change? Like if you grab and hold the outside faucet, this pipe or that pipe, grabbing the hose at various points??? Does anything have a cause and effect that you can make come / go at will, if you grab, hold or move whatever ???

It you can do that and generate the right response, normally the fix is to add additional support clamps to the pipes, or just clamp them down tighter.

None of it makes much sense in a static system. You almost want to say the hose is generating some type of siphon effect and taking the pressure at some point toward a vacuum or lower pressure but that again only should be occuring in an active system. Even trapped air should not generate any type of sounds in a static system. Could try seeing if you do have air trap / anti water hammer legs installed on the water piping and draining the system, refilling it if all else fails. Doesn't make any technical sense but when you have a weird Ghost in the Machine, who knows.

I got a tree down in a woods type area behind my house. Never figured out exactly which one it is. Will make a sound like a baby crying, sometimes sounds like an animal, peeps talking, even a train. Can really weird you out for a while.
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Oswego, IL
5,551 posts, read 6,281,152 times
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My house does that when outside faucet is on and water flow stopped by hose nozzle. In my case it's the anti siphon device on the outside faucet. It vents to atmosphere every time an inside faucet is turned off. Sounds like faucet is passing gas. Turning outside faucet off fixes it.
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Old 09-23-2008, 02:12 PM
 
3,021 posts, read 15,680,574 times
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Default Yep, that could be part of it....

Quote:
Originally Posted by studedude View Post
My house does that when outside faucet is on and water flow stopped by hose nozzle. In my case it's the anti siphon device on the outside faucet. It vents to atmosphere every time an inside faucet is turned off. Sounds like faucet is passing gas. Turning outside faucet off fixes it.
I was tended toward the thinking somehow it is related to some sort of siphon effect. But the OP seemed to saying the sound was continuous in a static condition for long periods. Not a blip type burp.

If you have one of them anti-freeze faucets which are about a mile long, they can do strange things at times. Some sort of a "chattering vent" might do it, but how long should that last? Maybe the problem was not stated totally correct?
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Old 09-24-2008, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Florida
2,034 posts, read 3,529,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studedude View Post
My house does that when outside faucet is on and water flow stopped by hose nozzle. In my case it's the anti siphon device on the outside faucet. It vents to atmosphere every time an inside faucet is turned off. Sounds like faucet is passing gas. Turning outside faucet off fixes it.
You were right!

It was the backflow preventer. I removed it and no more noise!

Thanks!
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Oswego, IL
5,551 posts, read 6,281,152 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMD3819 View Post
You were right!

It was the backflow preventer. I removed it and no more noise!

Thanks!
Even a broken clock is right two times a day. I can get lucky.
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