Vibrating water pipes

I have some sort of strange problem. I know little about plumbing, so I have no idea what to do and I'd prefer to avoid calling a plumber. I will if I have to, but I'd like to try to troubleshoot it myself.
Beginning sometime this summer, once in a while the pipes in my house would vibrate for a bit. This was usually when I had the water running outside and would then start some laundry or something like that. The vibrating was usually short-lived and it didn't happen very often. For some reason, the problem has gotten rapidly worse this past week. Now the pipes start vibrating like mad anytime something is using water. Flush the toilet, turn on the shower, start some laundry...it's awful! The pipes are *seriously* vibrating. It sounds like someone is trying to tunnel into my house using a jack hammer.
Here's what I know about the house. It was built in 2001, so the plumbing is relatively new. It has a pressure arrestor of some sort that was set before we moved in. It has an ominous warning note not to mess with it, so I haven't.
Where should I begin looking?
Thanks!
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wrote:

I forgot to mention that if the pipes are vibrating, I can make it stop by turning off the main valve in my basement and then turning it right back on.
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Lew of Virginia had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-Vibrating-water-pipes-343821-.htm : I realize that this posting is nearly 11 months after the fact, but I hope to save other homeowners some time and trouble. I have 13 year old house. Only in the last couple of weeks, my pipes would vibrate when I turned off any faucet in the house or when any toilet finished filling. I researched a number of web sites that all pointed to the water hammer effect. I followed instructions to bleed the air with no luck until I tried a variation, which worked out very well.
First, turn off the main valve to the house. Then open every faucet in all sinks and tubs (including showers), and outside spigots. Let all the water drain out. Now, with all the faucets open, open the main valve. Walk around the house inspecting each faucet to ensure that no air is escaping (or has stopped escaping). With all the faucets open the flow will be lower than expected. When you see or hear that no air is escaping, turn off the faucets one at at time starting at the lowest point in the house and work your way to the upper levels. When I closed the last faucet, I was happily surprised not to hear my pipes vibrating.
Good luck. Lew
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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On Oct 5, 6:33 pm, kathyandlew_at_verizon_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Lew of Virginia) wrote:

Thanks for the update.
Your method is an oft-suggested process for eliminating water hammer.
In many homes there are capped stubs of pipe installed at various locations in the system to give the water room to move in the sytem without causing hammer.
These stubs are supposed to be filled with air to act as a cushion, but may become filled with water. Draining the system as you described allows them to refill with air and provide the cushion they're supposed to.
Whenever I do any plumbing in my house, I drain the whole system as you described as "preventative maintenance".
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I've experienced this problem a few times in my lifetime. The causes have been either a faulty pressure reducer or worn out washers in the faucets or valves. I've heard that a problem with your toilet fill valve can cause this also, but I have never experienced that. Since it seems to be happening regardless of what faucet is opened perhaps it is the pressure reducer. I don't know if they can be repaired. I had mine replaced and the problem went away.
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John Grabowski wrote:

It's most likely your pressure regulator.
16. How long will a Regulator last? Regulators have been described as "life-of-mortgage" products, because historically a malfunctioning pressure regulator is not replaced but simply cleaned or repaired via an inexpensive service kit. Designwise, it is similar to the kitchen faucet in that dirt or foreign matter on the seating area can cause problems and actually it is no more difficult to repair a regulator than it is to fix the kitchen faucet.
http://www.watts.com/pro/divisions/watersafety_flowcontrol/support/support_faq_wprv.asp#16
Boden
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.
When my regulator went out a few weeks ago, I called a few supply houses to get a replacement. To a man, they all said don't bother trying to rebuild it. For the $65 it costs for a new one, it's not worth spending the money or time to rebuild the old one. It took me less than a half hour to replace my old one, probably less time than it would have taken me to rebuild the old one. The rebuild kit would have to been just about free to make it worth my time - not to mention the possibility of it still not working afterwards.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Have you measured the incoming water pressure? It sounds like you may have a pressure regulator that's wearing out, or the pressure is otherwise increasing.
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I haven't measured the water pressure. I wouldn't even know how, honestly. Maybe for now I'll just turn down the valve coming into the house to the point below which the vibration starts. Then I suppose I'll have to call an expert in and have them check it and replace that regulator, if necessary.
Thanks!
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I haven't measured the water pressure. I wouldn't even know how, honestly. Maybe for now I'll just turn down the valve coming into the house to the point below which the vibration starts. Then I suppose I'll have to call an expert in and have them check it and replace that regulator, if necessary.
*******************************************************************8
Turning down that valve will likely cause all kinds of water problems due to lack of sufficient flow volume.
The problem could be as simple as air filled stub "dampers" that have lost their air. Draining the pipes, then turning the water back on would re-fill the stub with air. It's a simple test if that's the problem. Turn off the water heater, turn off the water, open all faucets for 5-10 minutes. Close all faucets, and turn the water back on. Turn on the water heater after running each faucet to clear air from the pipes.
The simplest way to check the pressure is with a pressure gage that attaches onto a hose faucet.
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I haven't measured the water pressure. I wouldn't even know how, honestly. Maybe for now I'll just turn down the valve coming into the house to the point below which the vibration starts. Then I suppose I'll have to call an expert in and have them check it and replace that regulator, if necessary.
Thanks! Lots of possibilities, including something as simple as a loose faucet washer.
Don Young
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For the moment, I partially closed the main valve in my basement. That seems to have stopped the vibrating and I haven't noticed any substantial change in water pressure.
I don't even know what stub dampers are! I'll have to find out, and as soon as I get back from my Thanksgiving trip, I'll drain and refill the pipes to see if that helps.
Thanks for all the help!
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I don't even know what stub dampers are! I'll have to find out, and as soon as I get back from my Thanksgiving trip, I'll drain and refill the pipes to see if that helps.
******************************************************8
It's just a capped stub of pipe above the faucet which holds an air pocket, producing a sort of spring to absorb pressure surges.
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wrote:

You may have a condition known as "Water hammer" Check this out:
http://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-fix-pipes5.htm
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wrote:

I just went through this a few weeks ago. Vibrating and thumping started slowly (an every now and then thing) to happening almost every time we used any water.
I bought a $12 pressure gauge at a hardware store, screwed it onto the utility sink and found that the pressure in my house was over 75 PSI. Normal house pressure should be ~ 45 - 55 PSI. I also measured an exterior spigot, which is before the pressure reducer and it also read 75 PSI.
It was pretty simple to deduce that my pressure regulator was shot. $65 and a sweated fitting later and I was all set. Depending on where your PR is located, you might not even need to sweat anything. The PR have threaded unions, and you might be able to unscrew the old one and screw the new one back on.
Mine is right up against a joist and can't be spun, requiring at least one cut pipe.
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Mine is super easy to get to and I think it is threaded. I'll take a closer look tonight, but maybe this is something I can just replace on my own. However, I don't know how to set it for the right pressure. It will be learning experience.
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wrote:

They typically come pre-set to 50 PSI. My new one reads about 45 PSI with my $12 gauge, but I see no reason to adjust it. For all I know, it's the gauge, not the regulator.
Showers and sinks all work fine, I get no water hammer from any fixtures, so I'm leaving mine alone.
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replying to snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com, Harold Stinkweed wrote: OK, I know this has been a few years since it's been published, but it was one of the first results that came up when I searched. I'm hoping that this might help someone else. It's a very specific and odd solution.
What seemed to have worked for me: Check to make sure that you don't have an outdoor water hose valve open (with the sprayer keeping the water from flowing).
My story: I noticed a rumbling/vibrating noise had appeared suddenly after winter. The noise was apparent for a few seconds after water was turned on in all areas of the house (Bathroom, Kitchen, Laundry). After a few seconds of letting the water flow, it would stop. Sometimes it would occur immediately after the water was turned off as well. This was especially noticeable when the washing machine would shut off. I tried shutting off the main water supply and removing air from the system as Lew of Virginia had described, but that didn't work. Finally I realized that I had accidently left the valve to the back yard water hose open (no water was flowing, the nozzle was shut off). I turned the valve off and checked to see if the vibration was still present; it was not. Maybe there was air in the hose, or maybe the hose was flexible enough to cause the vibration.
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replying to snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com, Wade Chattanooga,TN wrote:

Today my pipes started vibrating very bad when any of the three toilets were flushed. It sounded like a air compressor was running in the basement.At first I thought something had gone wrong with the PRV but what I figured out is I had left the outside hose faucet on with a 50 foot hose attached. The sprayer on the end of the hose was closed so the hose was full of pressurized water. Once I turned the outside hose faucet off the vibrating problem went away. The only thing I can figure out is the 50 foot hose acted as a pressurized reservoir, when the toilet was flushed there was a pressure drop in the piping and water was feeding in from the PRV and the hose causing the PRV to oscillate. Any other ideas as to why this would happen?
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On 07/18/2015 09:44 PM, "Wade Chattanooga" wrote:

Maybe you need to adjust the bias on your SDR?
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