My apartment neighbor has a shower with a noisy valve. The rushing
noise of the water is very loud in my apartment, and it wakes me up.
It sounds just like the noise my shower valve makes if I turn it on
I need to do something. My neighbor gets up much earlier than me, and
I can't sleep through it, even with ear plugs.
We got one plumber to take a look, and as soon as he heard it, he said
that any shower will make that amount of noise, and there's nothing he
could do. He suggested getting someone to put blown-in insulation in
Is there anything else we can try? Could the valve be restricted by
sediment? Would replacing the valve or any of the piping help? Are
there any noise standards for residential plumbing? Are there other
interior wall soundproofing techniques I could look into?
I had a 10 year old Kohler "Rite-Temp" shower valve which became much
more noisy as it aged. I eventually replaced it both because it was so
noisy and also because it no longer maintained the set-point for the
temperature I chose.
When I opened the damaged, older valve up after replacing it with a new
one, it was obvious why it was so noisy. A rubber diaphragm inside had
worn-out / ruptured, allowing the torn pieces to flap back and forth,
making the water flow very turbulent.
The new valve solved the problem.
Perhaps a valve replacement is all you need? Can your landlord be
contacted with a complaint?
Thanks. That's the kind of thing I suspect might be the problem. (By
the way, if it's the same as my apartment, it's an American Standard
single-handle valve, about 25 years old.)
It's condos. I'd be happy to pay for a new valve even though it's my
neighbor's pipes. But part of the problem is his early schedule. He
had to be several hours late to work to be there for the plumber's
first appointment of the day. It took several months for us to
arrange that meeting.
And now that this plumber said there's nothing that can be done, I
might have trouble convincing him to have us get a second opinion.
re: "And now that this plumber said there's nothing that can be done,
I might have trouble convincing him to have us get a second opinion."
If the valve is truly as noisy as you make it sound, and this guy has
ever lived anywhere else (or even stayed overnight) where the noise of
a shower didn't wake him up, then he should realize that any plumber
that says "any shower will make that amount of noise" is probably a
The only noise I hear from the opposite side of the walls from both of
my single-valve showers is the water hitting the floor of the tub.
There is no sound of "rushing water" even with the access panels open
and the pipes exposed.
Can't really be sure if your neighbor's issue is the same as mine, and
worse yet, it may cost hundreds of dollars to replace the valve, only to
find that the new valve is as noisy as the original. Sound deadening
insulation may, as was previously suggested, be a much safer and more
In any event, good luck!
How would I identify which model faucet or cartridge it is?
I'm pretty sure it's an American Standard, and it's the type of handle
that moves in two dimensions (lift to increase the volume, and rotate
to change the temperature). Does that mean it's the R120 type, or are
there others from 25 years ago that move that way?
You might have to remove the escutcheon plate to see if the name is
stamped on the body. I recently had to do that in order to get parts
for a laundry tub faucet.
The "fancy plate" covered up the fact that it was a Gerber.
I wonder what marketing genius thought it was good idea to hide the
I don't take many showers but afaicr my showers make no more noise
than the running water. I don't have one piece valves, just a hot
faucet and a cold faucent.
With your neibhbor's consent, I would turn the water on to its maximum
noise-making and place my finger tips on the sprayer head to see if
that is vibrating. Then on the valve, at various places, including
almost as close to the wall as possible (too close and maybe the wall
will dampen the vibrations if any.) and see if you can feel the
Does he have an access panel for his shower pipes, in a closet maybe?
Take the cover off and put your finger tips on each pipe. (We had
that in the first two houses I lived in, but this one has the
bathrooms back to back with easy access to neither. OTOH, so far
nothing has broken.)
I can also imagine that a pipe is vibrating but I'm not there to hear
the noise. You want some more tangible evidence than just looking and
listening, because if you get someone to do this work, with the money
and mess it involves, if you're wrong, you'll look stupid to say the
least. Well I guess you know that and that's why you're asking.
What happens if it's all hot or all cold, at various water volumes?
That might be a test of vibrating pipes, or give other evidence of
What happens when he varies the volume of water, or the temperature.
Maybe you can get him to avoid some volume range that makes the most
noise. If that means he uses more water, pay him 10 or 20 bucks a
year for teh difference. Try to calculate the difference. With his
permission, paint a red or black bar on the portion of the range he
should avoid. If you smile and are really appreciative and nice, you
can get a lot of people to things for you.
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