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 Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: AMS (CA)

I live in a 40 yr old condo and for the past 8+ months we have been hearing a tapping/popping noise in the wall when my upstairs neighbor runs her hot water or dishwasher. On occasion we also hear the noise when we run our dishwasher. The noise has increased in frequency and volume over the past months and my upstairs neighbor states she has been hearing this noise longer than the past 8 months. I spoke with our HOA staff and they stated that other residents have had similar problems with upstairs neighbors who have a Moen faucet and a metal cartridge. They suggested I check with my neighbor about the type of faucet and if she has a Moen to request she replace the metal cartridge with a nylon cartridge. Per the staff, metal cartridges allow air bubbles/pockets into the pipes which then leads to the tapping noise we hear. They also suggested I check the water supply valve to ensure all values are completely open. I asked if the noise could be caused by the water heater or boilers and per staff they did not think this was the case.

I spoke with my neighbor today and it turns out she does have a Moen faucet which she has had for approx 3 yrs. She's not willing to look into changing the cartridge until we gather more information. Does anyone know if this is a problem with Moen faucets and metal cartridges? If not, does anyone have any other suggestions or ideas? Please help!

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: joe plumber (NE)

It is caused from the hot water pipe expanding and rubbing on the the sides of the hole it is passing through.The hole was not drilled large enough to allow for expansion.Not a faucet problem.I wonder where the staff got the idea about the Moen Cartridges?That's the best one I've heard yet.LOL



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: RRW (IL)

Sometimes running hot water causes the piping to expand resulting in noises as it slides through its mountings within the wall. How hard this would be to fix depends on how hard it is to get to the pipes.

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: hj (AZ)

It is a "dumb" idea. There is no functional difference between the metal and plastic stems, and NEITHER of them "inject" air into the piping. More than likely what you are hearing is the pipe expanding as the hot water flows through it. IF the units have a circulation system, which most BIG systems do, it could be going bad. IF you do have one, it would normally keep the pipes hot, but when it fails the water cools off and then expansion occurs when the hot water starts to flow.

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: Shoemaker2 (MA)

I think HJ has hit it on the nail, I would like to hear the outcome.

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

The others here hit on the thermal expansion,You could test this by filling up the kitchen sink with very hot water and listening,if you hear the ticking as the pipe heats up and then the slower ticking as the pipe cools thermal expansion may very well be the cause.As for the moen valves they may be referring to water hammer noise which you would be able to create by opening the faucet all the way to the hot only side and then quickly slapping the handle off. a hammer arrestor on the hot supply under the kitchen sink would work to quite both the faucet and the dw if this where the case.

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: Tiger Jon (MO)

I have the same problem in our 5 year-old 2 story in our master bathroom. The first time I heard it when it started getting cold our first winter, it worried the hell out of me until I was told it was a supply or drain line not having room to expand because the dumbsh!t that installed the problem line didn't drill the hole out large enough. Then it just bugged the hell out of me. Now, I really don't think twice about it. Really, the only way it could be fixed is to remove the piece of baton board on the outside of our home because going from the inside would require the shower to be taken out and that would be a mess for something not worth the trouble. Bottom line, shoddy work, but hopefully this housing bust will purge all of the low-lifes from the system.



Edited 2 times.

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: joe plumber (NE)

Water hammer can occur on both the hot and cold sides.Not on just the hot side.

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: AMS (CA)

Thank you for all of the helpful suggestions. If it is a matter of the hot water expanding the pipes, is there an easy fix?

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: Tiger Jon (MO)

My guess would be to locate the problem area in the wall/floor/ceiling and cut a large enough hole to get in and figure out how to whittle away the opening the pipe is tapping against. I agree that the noise can be a real pain in the ass, but I've learned to live with it because it's a lot easier than ripping things apart......plus, it shouldn't hurt anything, except maybe your sanity.

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: hj (AZ)

IT depends. IF there is a bad circulation system, then repairing it would cause the hot pipe to always be hot so there would be no expansion/contraction caused by heating and cooling the pipes. Since this seems to be a recent problem, rather than since the building was constructed, that would be the first thing I would have the owner check.

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 Re: Tapping noise in the wall when the hot water is run
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

no it would need to be isolated and repaired!

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