Asked on Feb 21, 2013

Water pipes "shaking"?

Andrew SWoodbridge Environmental


Lately, often when I turn on the shower, the pipes seem to shake and the water pulsates out of the shower head, almost as if it were on massage mode. You can hear the pipes doing this. The issue usually corrects itself after several seconds, but sometimes you have to turn on the faucet in another area of the house to stop it as this seems to relieve the pressure.
Any ideas what could be going on? Are my pipes about to explode?
I should note that we have very high water pressure. And I have also noticed the bathroom sinks having issues sometimes with slow draining which i can usually fix by plunging them - I suspect my daughters' hair is in some giant hairball down there.
2 answers
  • Two issues. The slow draining is the hair, however you would be better served if you snaked the drains or removed the trap and cleaned it. Plunging only pushes the clog further down stream and eventually will end up plugging a pipe that a plunger will not fix. $$$ As far as the noise in the faucets and pipes. High water pressure can damage valves and faucets quickly. What your experiencing is vibration caused by the high pressure rushing past the shut off valve as it acts like a reed found in a instrument. It begins to vibrate as the water rushes by the partly open valve. This oscillation effect can crack the interior parts of the faucet making it more expensive to fix. It is causing the water valve in the wall to open and close at a high rate which explains the pulsing action of the water coming out of the shower head. You need to turn down the water pressure. That is done at the water meter location. A cone shape device normally brass in color has a large bolt sticking out of the top of the cone, Simply turn it counter clockwise about a half of a turn and see if that makes a difference. After a few tries of half turns you should see this issue go away without much difference in the flow coming out of the faucets. If this is not corrected, this vibration not only can damage the faucets but can crack fittings or break solder joints if left unchecked. The repair is simple and the results will be fast. Left alone and you can risk a flood with a broken pipe or faucet valve in the wall.

  • Andrew S
    on Feb 21, 2013

    Thanks Woodbridge. Extremely helpful

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