Ticking/tapping noise PEX baseboard lines

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Old 03-10-14, 11:14 AM
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Ticking/tapping noise PEX baseboard lines

Recent 2nd story addition. # bedrooms and a bathroom. Heated off existing boiler, separate zone with PEX running to Slant fin radiators.

Heats great, but there are a few spots where the PEX in the wall makes quite a racket. It's a ticking or a tapping exactly like the sound that starts 24 seconds in on this youtube video

Pipe Noise - YouTube

Addition was a mix of pro work, and DIY, with the lians share going to the pros. This work was done by a plumber, and I didn't see the piping in this area before the deck went on. My guess is one or some of the following:

tight connectors
joists drilled too tight
routed sloppy so it taps against framing

Am I on the right track here? The noise is annoying, but my concern is weather it's something I should be worred about, more than it just being annoying.

The noise is on a run that goes perpendicular to teh joists along teh front of the house, in the area nearing where it likely makes a 90 degree bend to run along the gable end of the house to a baseboard.

If it matters, the boiler is a Burnham v73 (no cracks yet knock on wood), with the aquastat high temp set to 180.

Thanks for any help in advance.
 
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Old 03-10-14, 02:17 PM
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sounds like expanding pipe rubbing against some lumber...
 
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Old 04-08-14, 03:39 PM
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I accessed a bit of it in the one area that doesn't have a finished floor. Found the holes drilled through new 2x10 2nd floor joists are plenty big enough, but nothing inserted to keep the PEX from contacting the wood. Also the pex just lays on top of the 2x6 joists. So it rubs a 2x10 and a 2x6 every 16".

The worst spots are the bends, as there's a little pressure placed on the pex against the wood due to the curve. I ran the heat, and in the spot I was, I could hold the PEX just slightly off the wood and no noise. Amazing, how it really doesn't have to be tight against the wood to make noise. I guess it's the two materials are noisy against one another.

long story short, i would like to address the worst offenders myself, but I'm not sure what I should use at this point. Any suggestions?

One person online said carpet scraps work well in areas where it's running parrallel with the joists in spots it's contacting. I could try that. Another said a plastic soda bottle cut up, another said plastic sheeting like 3 mil poly. I would be up for buying adaptersthe correct parts also, but I suspect trying to put actual grommets in now would be difficult if not impossible with the PEX already in.

Open to any/all suggestions
 
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Old 04-08-14, 03:52 PM
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I think the bottom line is do whatever 1. works, 2. is easiest 3. is cheapest
 
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Old 04-08-14, 04:21 PM
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PEX has a much higher coefficient of thermal expansion than either copper or steel pipe. It makes sense that PEX in contact with wood structural members could be noisier during thermal heat-up and cool-down.
 
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Old 04-08-14, 04:58 PM
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If you install an ODR and set the heat curve as low as possible and still remain cumfortable the pump will have longer run times and with lower water temperatures there will be less noise from pipe and a 1% fuel savings for every 3 degrees reduction of water temperature . Try lowering the aquastat setting first to see if this reduces the noise. You should only need 180f on the coldest day of the year, known as design temperature.
 
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Old 04-08-14, 06:12 PM
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You should only need 180f on the coldest day of the year, known as design temperature.
That's if the radiation capacity is less than the boiler output. Otherwise, a lower water temp will deliver more heat.
 
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Old 04-09-14, 06:51 PM
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Thanks guys. I was reading about the ODR. Not sure I fully get it though. With my type of boiler, it cant heat less than 140 i thought. With expansion rates at 1" per 10 degrees in a 100 ft length, I would think i would still get noise.

I was looking through some of the installation guides, and one section mentioned using 1 mill poly. I may start there. May also take a trip to the plumbing supply store and see what they say. I might even be able to use some of the mickey mouse clips on each side of te joist to keep the tube centered.

Blows though, it would have been so easy for the damn plumber to do it right initially
 
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Old 04-10-14, 07:54 AM
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In my understanding in heating a zone, the water temperature tries to reach an equilibrium ,where the btus entering the zone equals the btu leaving the room, there for since there is fuel savings in not putting in more btus than required and a higher comfort level is attained, any system that will accomplish this is an improvement. If a buffer tank is used the boiler can operate in a safe range, while helping to prevent short cycling of the burner and delivers the temperature of water to system set by ODR . A mixing valve or injection pump are often used but they do not prevent short cycling of the burner. Just my opinion .
 
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Old 04-11-14, 03:30 PM
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Thank you, that is a great explanation. However I removed some subfloor and got a closer look. It's kind of a mess. No supports or clips of any kind. Has been expanding into a nail which has damaged the pex, it rests on my ceiling above my bed.

let this serve as an exampleof how not to run PEX

 
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Old 04-14-14, 02:51 PM
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Split foam pipe insulation can be a great saver.
You can insulate the entire pipe, recommended.
Or you can insulate where it goes thru the joists and anywhere you need to restrain it.

Just leave enough insulation on the pipe to either secure it very well, or so that as the pex expanding and contracts it does not pull itself out of the joist hole.

PEX sucks for high temp applications for this very reason.
 
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Old 04-22-14, 12:15 PM
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Thank You for the tip on the pipe insulation. Had I known a few months ago what I know now, I would have demanded copper for the whole thing. Would have gladly paid extra for it. Ive watched this stuff expand, and it's like a snake coming out of a hole.

I've finally secured a meeting with my builder and the plumber tomorrow to evaluate and discuss how they will fix it. Took me mailing certified letters, and a clear threat of pursuing legal action to get them to stop ignoring me though.

Oh yeah, that joist bay is on my exterior wall. The builder didn't bother to insulate the rim joist area on either end of my house. Pathetic in and of itself, but even more pathetic since my uninsulated heating pipes run through there.

I'm demanding they replace the noisiest section. I've gotten a good look at it and it's atrocious. The holes he drilled don't line up and that PEX is scraping along the whole run. Will require tearing up ceilings etc, but I cannot accept what is there. If they won't do it, I'll have someone else do it. Even if it comes out of my end, it's worth it to me.

Will have to do one off corrections in multiple other spots. Really a shame for brand new construction.

I looked back through some old construction pics, and the bad section is where my roof comes all the way down (cape style). Plumber was installing it as they were laying the roof decking. He waited until the last minute, and was racing to stay ahead of them. He's a hack, and it shows in most of what he's done. This is the third tplumbing issue I have to have corrected.

Guessing when all is said and done, I'll end up with a franken mix of copper and PEX. On the plus side, I will be intimately familiar with hydronic plumbing in my new addition.
 
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Old 05-02-14, 12:41 PM
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In case anyone was wondering how this turned out....32 6" holes in my ceiling, and the system is nearly silent.

Used a mix of plastic PEX clips (should have been there initially) 4 mill poly, and pipe insulation to prevent the rubbing on wood. Turned a really sloppy installation into an OK installation.

I have one spot still ticking consistently, so I'll likely need one more hole cut before it's silent. Crazy amount of work for something that could have been easily prevented from the start when everything was accessible.

plumber claims he pulled the line, but his helper was suppoed to then add all the clips, and apparantly didn't. Could be true, could be a "blame it on the other guy" thing. I know the helper was let go recently for a series of issues, so who knows. He's cut the holes and added some of the clips, but I've added as many, maybe more than he has. It's clear he's not very good. I've also redone some of his work. I've resigned to the fact that he's really doing the best he can, and it's not very good (scary)

The piece scraped by nails is being swapped out on Monday, then all the holes get patched.

My ceiling is plaster over rock lathe. Many spots have metal mesh. I can't tell you how many holesaws he has gone through. I think about 6 or so. It just eats them up.

The one positive in this, I picked up a mini electric SKIL screwdriver with a right angle attachment that is pretty awesome. Since I'm reaching in through 6" holes, and reaching up and over 2x6 joists to get to the backside, or the next 2x10 and add a clip, I couldn't have done the job without it. It's a pretty amazing little tool.
 
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Old 05-02-14, 01:10 PM
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Ticking/tapping noise PEX

The pipe shown in the photo looks like the Pex used for DHW which is not oxygen barrier . Since the plumber is not experienced with heating he may have used the wrong type of PEX . Hope I am wrong as the wrong pipe will destroy the boiler .
 

Last edited by saves; 05-02-14 at 01:13 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-02-14, 02:02 PM
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It's the correct pipe. I had the same fear, so it was one of the first things I checked. It's 3/4" Zurn performa barrier pipe. Their oxygen barrier is is on the outside, and is part of the problem. It almost gives it tacky finish, which is extremely succeptable to noise when it contacts wood. I've spoken to the Zurn Rep in my area baout the issues

I've had a chance to get up close and personal and watch it, and touch it while it's ticking etc.., and with this stuff, any contact with wood is likely to make noise. You can feel the difference between the outside of this pipe, and the PEX without the barrier. It doesn't have to be pressing that hard against the wood either, just a little pressure and it makes the noise.

I've gotten good at grabbing the pipe and moving it and being able to tell from the sounds it makes when I grab it if it will tick when the hear runs. When you wiggle it with your hand, and it squeeks, it will then tick when the hear runs.

Interestingly, where it touches the old framing members, it's less likely to make noise. I'm guessing because that wood is so old and dry, there is less friction there, so maybe as my new framing dried out more some of what I was experiencing would have lessened, but it was so bad.

After messing around with it, all said and done I think I would use PEX again for heat. I think with a careful install it would have been fine. In the next year or so I plan to remodel my kitchen/dining room, and I'll lose two baseboard runs. I am hoping to add a zone with a mixing valve and use PEX for radiant heat beneath the floor for that area. Even if that isn't possible, and I have to go with toe kicks or something, I'll still use PEX, I'll just install it very carefully....MYSELF. And it will be in the unfinished portion of my basement should I need to access it down the line.
 
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Old 05-02-14, 03:30 PM
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Ticking/tapping noise PEX

Glade I was wrong, were I live most of the new heating boilers , in floor heat is done by plumbers and since they can run pipe , it seems they think that is all the knowledge that is needed to do a properly operating system . Lots of problems such as gas venting too close to air intake, in floor pipe installed to close too footings, burners short cycling , over sized boilers , condensing boiler that will never condense and of course noisy pex pipe.
 
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