High pitched screaming pipes

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by FoxyMoron, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. FoxyMoron

    FoxyMoron New Member

    Excuse my terminology in explaining my problem as I am not even an amateur plumber.

    Our pipes scream every so often. This morning it has happened five times. When I say scream, it is not a knocking, it is a long high pitched hum, which can sometimes last a minute or longer. I imagine the pipes are vibrating. I noticed this morning it happened when our hot water was due to come on (we have an old tank system, probably installed c.1983). But sometimes the sound starts when nothing is on, taps, heating, HW, washing machine etc.

    I used to run the bathroom sink and kitchen cold water taps and the noise would stop. Now, that doesn't seem to help.

    The pressure on our boiler is high, around 2.0. I have bled the radiators to get it down, but it rises again slowly. I'm not sure how to relieve the pressure by other means.

    I have had a look at the water tank and the water feed (valve?) looks corroded, build up of minerals on it.

    I am at my wit's end. It woke me up this morning. We live in a one floor tenement flat in Edinburgh, and I'm sure it is affecting the flats below is and next door (noise nuisance I mean). The noise is hard to locate. You can hear it all around the flat, not just near the water tank or stop cock, but it is louder near the main water inlet pipe near the stop cock.

    I have adjusted our stop cock so that it isn't open very much in the hope the pressure will be relieved but again, this doesn't seem to have helped.

    Does this sound like a big job? Obviously I'm not going to attempt to fix it myself. Is it something I can fix easily, or have I exhausted possibilities?

    I don't think we have air chambers on the pipes as it is an old system. For some reason it has been happening more often, perhaps as we've had the CH on?

    Any advice would be appreciated. My husband refuses to call out a plumber!
  2. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Screwfix Select

    Ask your neighbours if they're getting the same noise. It may not be just in your flat.

    I've had a situation where a leaking mains water pipe feeding a row of five terraced houses was causing noises in all of them, particularly at night when the mains pressure was higher.

    The local water authority repaired it free of charge.
    FoxyMoron likes this.
  3. kiaora

    kiaora Screwfix Select

    i have come across the problem. it can sometimes be fixed by renewing the ball valve in the toilet.
    next time it happens, try flush the toilet, and see if it makes any difference, it it does, renew or rewasher the valve
    it could also be the ballvalve in the tanks in the roof, (if there are any)

    also, if the pressure in the boiler is rising, its the heat exchanger or the filling valves letting by

    good luck
    FoxyMoron likes this.
  4. Jiml86

    Jiml86 Active Member

    I had this issue last year, as Peter said check your ballcocks. The one in my water tank in the attic was causing the issue replaced it (15 minute job) and it stopped.
    FoxyMoron likes this.
  5. FoxyMoron

    FoxyMoron New Member

    Thanks for all your replies.

    We had a plumber here a few days ago to investigate the noisy pipes. Obviously the noise didn't happen while he was here despite turning the taps, dishwasher on. He said it's was hard to work out the problem without hearing the noise. There was some high pitched whistle from the pipes (not the loud humming vibration I'm stressed about) and he said it might be the ballcock. He looked at the tank and I said that the ballcock looked corroded and was constantly dripping. I asked him if he could replace it while he was there. He was reluctant and said he didn't have a ballcock with him.

    We then asked him to look at the 17 yr old boiler (not serviced in 8years) as it loses pressure to zero every few days and I think is a bit noisy. plumber said the pilot light was a bit yellow and he didn't want to take the front off. He then recommended we buy a new combi boiler, as this would sort out all the noise and boiler problems altogether, and give us space where the old tank and cylinder is. Advises we get the Ideal Vogue Max with installation be about 2.5-3k.

    While I agree we probably do need a new boiler, I wasn't happy that he didn't attempt to do anything about the noise issue. Am I being unreasonable?

    Do plumbers actually fix anything nowadays or do they just want to make money fitting and servicing new boilers?

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