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Question DetailsAsked on 1/27/2017

Whenever hot water is turned on slowly there is a loud foghorn like sound... How can I fix this?

This only happens in 2 out of 3 bathroom sinks. And only when hot water is turned on by itself to a low level. If you turn it on strong or full blast it doesn't produce this foghorn like sound. It is very loud. I also notice my neighbour having the same problem. We share a common wall in a townhouse complex.

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2 Answers



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


Commonly caused by one of two things - a restriction in the piping, a partly closed in-line valve in the piping, or a worn valve washer/seat in the faucet itself. Also (though evidently not your case) happens with crudded-up or weak-springed toilet fill valves, and weak-springed (older) toilet mixing valves.

If you can make this happen with any consistency or for a prolonged time, should be easy (by ear to pipes and walls and facuet and such, or using cardboard tube as a stethoscope) to tie down if it is being generated in the piping somewhere (commonly at elbows) or at the faucet itself.

In tracking it down, generally the piping for a given bathroom is all off the same pipe, so if water flow of an equivalent amount at all demand points in that room cause it, then blockage or partly-closed valve in the line feeding that roomm would be suspect. if only occurs at one use point, almost certainly due to that specific faucet. Because you say it happens only at low flow and only in hot water, almost certainly due to deteriorated facuet seating or seat washer in the facueet itself.

If the sound is generated at the faucet, then having the faucet "rebuilt" - the seals and washers replaced, and if this has been going on for a significant time probably also reface (grind with a special tool) the metal "seats" in the faucet where the faucet washer that seals to shut off the water matches up, because it will get grooved or pitted from that foghorn noise, which is the sound of severe cavitation as the water goes through a small opening under pressure. Can also occur oer time where the seat or washer has deteriorated tot he point it does not shut off entirely, causing not only the howling sound but a continuous drip or small stream of water from the offending faucet valve.

Since you neighbor has the same problem - could well be your townhouse is just old enough (commonly 20-30 years range though some like Peerless/Delta single-handle faucets can sometimes go 40 or more without rebuilding or replacing them) that it is time to rebuild or replace them.

If in piping, then replacing that section of piping, maybe with a less dramatic bend at the trouble point also (though commonly is due to buildup of minerals in the piping) is the solution.

One thought before that - too high a water pressure in the building promotes failure of faucet seats, causing this noise or dripping of faucets. Use a $5-10 hose-threaded water pressure gage (should read up to 100 psi or so) on any pipe-threaded faucet - an outside hose bib (be sure to rewinterize if needed), washing machine hose faucet, wash tub faucet, etc) to check house pressure - because the higher the water pressure, the more this occurs.

There are a lot of different thoughts about "the right" water pressure for a house, but pretty much everyone agrees that 30-something to 40 psi is a reasonable low end for functionality, and 80 spi maximum to avoid pipe breaks or over-pressuring boilers and water heaters and appliances. I personally recommend not over 80 psi ever and not over 60 psi if possibly avoidable, and preferably around 40 or a bit lower in older piping to minimize the severity of leaks when they occur, because 60-80 can "blow-out" a deteriorated pipe when it fails, but around 40 or less usually will just start as a smaller leak or spray and not a catastrophic blowout or splitting of the deteriorated line, giving you more chance to control the damage before it gets out of hand. Below 30-35 psi is likely to cause issues with inability to effectively use two high-demand uses at a time, significant "cold shock" in shower when someone else turns on a hot water use, and low shower spray pressure. Could be your pressure regulator (if you have one) has "drifted" or is no longer working - or you may need one on your household system but does not have one now.

Sometimes household pressure creeps up because as more building occurs in a formearly more rural or wide-open area the utility has to install new pumps to produce the amount and pressure of waterneeded by the increased demand, so the line pressure in your area might have increased as more pumps or higher pressure setting was used. In our area, as it built in over 10-15 years, we experienced almost a 24 psi increase from about 38 to 62 psi, for instance, and had a couple of valves and faucets that leaked or howled a bit until I put in a pressure regulator to bring it down to about 45-50 psi. Sometimes this can be a time-of-day thing, as more utility pumps kick in during morning and evening peak demand periods to provide the additional water needed, particularly if you are near the pump station so you receive the full effect of the increased pressure.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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