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ACOUSTICAL SEALANT CHOICES
AIR BYPASS LEAKS
AIR LEAK SEALING PROCEDURE
AIR TEST FOR MOLD: ACCURACY
ALLERGEN TESTS for buildings
ALLERGENS in BUILDINGS, RECOGNIZING
ANIMAL ALLERGENS / PET DANDER
ANIMAL ENTRY POINTS in buildings
APPLIANCE EFFICIENCY RATINGS
BLOWER DOORS & AIR INFILTRATION
BLOWER FAN CONTINUOUS OPERATION
BLOWER FAN OPERATION & TESTING
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
BUILDING NOISE DIAGNOSIS & CURE
CARPET PADDING ASBESTOS, MOLD, ODORS
CARPETING, SELECTION & INSTALLATION
CATHEDRAL CEILING VENTILATION
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
COMBUSTION AIR for TIGHT buildings
DIRECTORY of MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS
ENGINEERED WOOD Flooring
FIREPLACES & HEARTHS
FLOOR TYPES & DEFECTS
FRAMING DETAILS for BETTER INSULATION
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
HEAT LOSS in BUILDINGS
HOUSE DOCTOR, how-to be
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
Insulation Air & Heat Leaks
INSULATION LOCATION - WHERE TO PUT IT
INSULATION R-Values & Properties
KITCHEN VENTILATION DESIGN
LOG HOME GUIDE
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MOLD
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
PLASTER, LOOSE FALL HAZARDS
PLASTER TYPE IDENTIFICATION
PLUMBING DRAIN NOISE DIAGNOSIS
PLUMBING NOISE CHECKLIST
ROOF NOISE TRANSMISSION
ROOF VENTILATION SPECIFICATIONS
SLAB CRACK EVALUATION
SOUND CONTROL in buildings
SPLITS & CRACKS in STRUCTURAL WOOD BEAMS
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
SUMP PUMPS GUIDE
THERMAL EXPANSION of HOT WATER
THERMAL EXPANSION of MATERIALS
TRUSS UPLIFT, ROOF
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WALL FINISHES INTERIOR
WIND WASHING INSULATION At EAVES
WINDOWS & DOORS
WOOD FLOOR DAMAGE
Building plumbing system noise control & sound isolation: this article explains methods and materials used to control plumbing piping & plumbing fixture sound transmission in buildings: how to assure quiet plumbing fixtures, plumbing drains, supply piping, heating piping in buildings.
We explain the difference in noise levels from plastic versus cast iron drain piping, we illustrate the sequence of steps in sound insulation useful for isolating noises a plumbing pipe chase from occupied building spaces, we describe noise sources traced to water supply piping & heating system pipes, and we list other plumbing-related sources of building noise. In a series of photo-illustrations we discuss plumbing drain pipe chase insulation & fire safety.
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This article series discusses noise and sound control in buildings, and includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons. The page top photo shows our client commenting on a mix of plastic (more noisy) and cast iron (more quiet) drain piping in a building basement where renovations and conversion to occupied space were planned.
Plumbing drain & pipe chase noise control photo 1 - pipe chase construction: at left you can see a horizontal plumbing chase running beneath a floor above.
In typical indoor construction the builder might simply install drywall over the chase framing structure to enclose the supply and drain piping.
The result will be significant noise transmission into the room below, particularly when plastic drain piping has been used, such as the black ABS drain shown in our photo - courtesy Galow Homes . [Click to enlarge].
Plumbing chase noise control photo 2 - insulate wall or ceiling penetrations: at left you will see the orange foam insulation that was sprayed to seal the plumbing drain piping where it penetrates an interior wall.
The foam product selected here was chosen for its fire resistance to comply with local building codes.
As we explain in more detail at PLUMBING DRAIN NOISE REPAIR, we divide plumbing drain and fixture noises into two groups:
Normal plumbing drain sounds
Plumbing chase noise control photo 3 - complete plumbing pipe chase insulation: as you can see in our photo at left, we completed insulating the pipe chase with spray foam insulation during building wall and ceiling insulation installation.
While thermal insulation was not required between this room and the occupied space above - for heating or cooling purposes, the cost of including the spray foam insulation in this area was low when contracted as part of a building-wide insulation job. Insulating here provided excellent sound insulation and also improved the thermal performance and temperature consistency in both this room and in the floor above.
As we stated at PLUMBING DRAIN NOISE DIAGNOSIS, Hearing the sound of running water in a building drain is not likely to indicate a problem with the drain system itself. In older buildings where cast iron and steel drain pipes were used, not much sound normally is heard: even the sound of running water, say when a shower is running or when a toilet was flushed.
But in a more modern structure that uses plastic or copper drain piping these materials can transmit the sound of running water to the building interior. Builders can reduce sound transmission from plumbing lines by enclosing them in insulated chaseways.
We have also found cases in pipes in a building transmit sounds from one area of the building to another. We've also found that electromagnetic fields generated in a building, say by a bank of electric meters located in one area, can be transmitted to other building areas through metal piping.
Plumbing Noise & Sound Transmission Sources & Control
One of the most common noise complaints in single-family construction is the sound of water gushing through PVC waste pipes.
The best solution, short of using cast iron, is to box in the pipes and fill the cavity with fiberglass insulation. Then enclose the cavity with one or two layers of drywall.
Plumbing chase noise control photo 4: Our photo (left) shows a different building in which the plastic drain waste piping was routed through a basement that was being finished and to be used as offices. This drain was a subject of recurrent noise complaints in the building.
The leak stains at the ceiling needed to be investigated and the source corrected before this piping run was enclosed in a heavily insulated drywall pipe chase to minimize sound transmission from the upstairs plumbing fixtures into the lower level offices.
Noises from water supply piping & hot water heating piping
Continuing from from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction:
Water supply and heating pipes can also radiate noise through the framing if there is rigid contact between pipes and framing or finish materials. This can be a particular problem when heating pipes expand and contract. To avoid these problems, make sure pipe runs are not tight against framing.
While special non hardening acoustical sealants are often specified in commercial work, any high-quality sealant that remains flexible can be effective in blocking sound transmission. Butyl, silicone, and urethane caulk can all be used.
To prevent sound leaks, use sealant around electrical boxes, plumbing penetrations, and any other penetrations in the wall or ceiling surface.
see Acoustical Sealant for Sound Control for additional details.
Other sources of noises associated with water or heating piping in buildings
Continue reading this noise transmission & noise control article series about methods for sound control in buildings by using the links provided just below.
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