Vibration in hot water pipe leading to washing machine

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Old 03-13-11, 09:53 PM
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Vibration in hot water pipe leading to washing machine

Before I had a whole-house humidifier installed in my home I never had any problems with my plumbing. Now I occasionally get a severe noisy vibration (water hammer) when the washing machine fills with hot water. The vibrations last for several minutes and are very violent and noisy. After several minutes the vibrations stop and the water flows normally.

I pulled the hose off of the washer and discharged water into a bucket to see if the washing machine was making the noise. It's not the washing machine. If I don't open the valve all the way I don't get the vibration but I know that the valve is meant to be fully opened or closed. Leaving it half open is not a solution.

Several days will pass without trouble and then the problem happens again. It only happens at that one point in my plumbing system--the closest one to the hot water heater. The nearby kitchen and bathroom sinks don't cause vibrations. I called my HVAC contractor and the guy never heard of something like this before happening after a humidifier install. :mad I might have to "convince" the contractor that he needs to take care of this without charge. This is where I could use some help.

Somehow air is getting trapped in my hot water line and the whole house humidifier (or some part of the installation) is to blame. The installer installed a valve at a horizontal "T" joint near the hot water outlet above the water heater. There is no leakage of water anywhere in the system. How could air be getting in to that section of the plumbing line? Could the new shutoff valve be defective? Could it be some part in the humidifier?

Any advice is deeply appreciated.
 
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Old 03-13-11, 11:42 PM
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Problems such as you are describing are often caused by a loose disc (or more rarely a loose seat) in the valve. What kind of valve do you have on the washing machine supply? If it is a globe valve you can sometimes tighten the screw holding the disc (washer) but if it is a gate valve you are probably going to need to replace the valve.
 
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Old 03-14-11, 04:09 PM
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Since wash machines have a quick closing valve thats a common problem, a hammer arrester should solve it.

 
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Old 03-14-11, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Furd View Post
Problems such as you are describing are often caused by a loose disc (or more rarely a loose seat) in the valve. What kind of valve do you have on the washing machine supply? If it is a globe valve you can sometimes tighten the screw holding the disc (washer) but if it is a gate valve you are probably going to need to replace the valve.
I wonder if the new shutoff valve that supplies water to my humidifier has a problem. Since that's the only thing that's changed in my plumbing system it's got to be the culprit. It's a simple supply valve like the kind you'd use for refrigerator ice makers. However, the supply for the washer does not pass through this valve.
 
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Old 03-15-11, 12:59 AM
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If you only have the vibration while the washing machine is filling it is neither a "water hammer" nor is it related to the humidifier supply valve. If the vibration starts when the washing machine fill valves suddenly closes then it IS a water hammer and the arrestor that Shacko shows will help.

It's a simple supply valve like the kind you'd use for refrigerator ice makers.
Please tell me it isn't a clamped on line piercing saddle valve. If it is then it really should be replaced with a proper tee and real valve. Even if it is a saddle valve it is not the cause of the vibration.
 
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Old 03-15-11, 07:29 AM
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Try shutting the humidifier off for a few days and see if it stops. Sometimes the components of a low flow appliance can set up a resonance that amplifies in the water piping. I've seen similar problems with drip irrigation systems.
If yours is a flow through system it could relate to the humidifier being on and water running through it to the drain. MAY be a defective humidifier.
 

Last edited by ssk1100; 03-15-11 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 03-16-11, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Furd View Post
Please tell me it isn't a clamped on line piercing saddle valve. If it is then it really should be replaced with a proper tee and real valve. Even if it is a saddle valve it is not the cause of the vibration.
No, it's not a saddle valve. It's a proper tee valve.

I had the HVAC guy over again yesterday and, of course, couldn't reproduce the problem. Next time it happens there are a couple of things to check, including the advice everyone posted here. Thanks to everyone for spending some of your valuable time to help me with this.
 
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Old 03-16-11, 08:46 PM
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Better yet, when you hear the noise, turn off the unit.
 
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