Humming/whining from taps

I've got a humming noise from my taps/pipes. It sometimes happens when the taps are running and sometimes starts when they are turned off. Originally I thought it was just the bath taps, as it only really happened with them in the morning, and mostly the cold tap. 2 separate taps.  However the kitchen mixer tap also does it now, only noticed on hot side so far.

The hot water is via a tank, system boiler. Cold to bath upstairs is direct feed as far as I can tell - small cold water tank in airing cupboard above the hot water tank, not sure what that is for but doesn't fill when cold bath tap is run. We don't have an internal stop tap, there's one in the pavement in front of house. Haven't noticed any change in water pressure.

I do have a video containing the sound but can't seem to share it.

Anyone any ideas on what it could be and how to fix? I'll probably need a plumber but as it doesn't happen all the time, might be difficult to replicate for them.
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  • molerat
    molerat Posts: 31,562
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    Is the small tank actually attached to the hot water tank ?
    Humming is usually down to a ballcock vibrating, often due to a worn washer or grit stuck in it.  After a while it can turn into a real howl.
  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Posts: 4,458
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    edited 11 November 2023 at 3:06PM
    Hi BigP.
    What type of property? Do you have a loft?
    "It sometimes happens when the taps are running and sometimes starts when they are turned off." This bit needs more detail, please. How long does the sound go on for after taps have been turned off?
    "We don't have an internal stop tap, there's one in the pavement in front of house." When are you going to sort out this egregious omission? It'll bite you one day...it will...it will...
    "Cold to bath upstairs is direct feed as far as I can tell - small cold water tank in airing cupboard above the hot water tank, not sure what that is for but doesn't fill when cold bath tap is run." Does this small CWS tank fill after a hot tap has been run? What floor level is this tank on? Could you post a photo of it, please?

  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,262
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    molerat said:
    Is the small tank actually attached to the hot water tank ?
    Humming is usually down to a ballcock vibrating, often due to a worn washer or grit stuck in it.  After a while it can turn into a real howl.
    With my old hot water tank, there would be a fog horn going off every time I ran a bath. Eventually got round to fitting a new ballcock after <mumble><mumble> years of annoying the neighbour with the noise. Then six months later, ripped the whole lot out in favour of a combi boiler.

    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • molerat
    molerat Posts: 31,562
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    edited 11 November 2023 at 3:17PM
    FreeBear said:
    molerat said:
    Is the small tank actually attached to the hot water tank ?
    Humming is usually down to a ballcock vibrating, often due to a worn washer or grit stuck in it.  After a while it can turn into a real howl.
    With my old hot water tank, there would be a fog horn going off every time I ran a bath. Eventually got round to fitting a new ballcock after <mumble><mumble> years of annoying the neighbour with the noise. Then six months later, ripped the whole lot out in favour of a combi boiler.

    I have replaced the washers in 3 ballcocks, not all mine I might add, and successfully sorted the problem.  Quick fix - turn off water, unscrew valve, clean out and change washer, re-assemble. Around 10 minutes each.

  • Albermarle
    Albermarle Posts: 21,169
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     small cold water tank in airing cupboard above the hot water tank, not sure what that is for but doesn't fill when cold bath tap is run. 

    Could this be the header tank for the central heating? and unconnected with the cold or hot water supply?

  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,262
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    molerat said:
    FreeBear said:
    molerat said:
    Is the small tank actually attached to the hot water tank ?
    Humming is usually down to a ballcock vibrating, often due to a worn washer or grit stuck in it.  After a while it can turn into a real howl.
    With my old hot water tank, there would be a fog horn going off every time I ran a bath. Eventually got round to fitting a new ballcock after <mumble><mumble> years of annoying the neighbour with the noise. Then six months later, ripped the whole lot out in favour of a combi boiler.

    I have replaced the washers in 3 ballcocks, not all mine I might add, and successfully sorted the problem.  Quick fix - turn off water, unscrew valve, clean out and change washer, re-assemble. Around 10 minutes each.
    The actual job of replacing either the ballcock or a washer doesn't take long. But if your loft isn't boarded and/or light is poor, that can often be deterrent enough to leave well alone.

    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • No, we don't have a loft. It's a mid terrace with an attic. Nothing on the top floor.
    When the tap is turned off it can make a whining noise for maybe 30 seconds. 
    There is a black tank above the hot water tank which my guess is for feeding the hot water tank but not sure. The taps for refilling the central heating water are in there as well (after bleeding radiators etc.). 

    Do you mean the ballcock to the black tank may be the issue? 

    Can't seem to add pics from phone, will try later on laptop.

  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,262
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    Bigphil1474 said: There is a black tank above the hot water tank which my guess is for feeding the hot water tank but not sure.

    Do you mean the ballcock to the black tank may be the issue?
    Sounds like you have a gravity fed hot water system (low water pressure from the hot taps ?). It will be the ballcock in the black tank that might be the issue, but if the noise is occurring when you use the cold taps, the problem is likely to be elsewhere.

    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • Bigphil1474
    Bigphil1474 Posts: 2,292
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    edited 12 November 2023 at 1:03PM


    Hot water tank top, which is directly under the shelf with the towels on. 

    The coppery pipe at the top of the black tank goes down and out with a spur into the hot water tank, which you can see at the top of the hot water tank. Presumably a feeder tap. The white pipe that becomes pink, goes straight down and off towards the bath along with the other pipe. Not sure if it connects to the bath or that's just how it goes where it needs to go (all boxed in outside of the airing cupboard). I can't get under the bath at the minute. 

    We did used to have a small black cold water tank in the attic but that was taken out when the new boiler was fitted as far as I can remember. 

    The cold tap was the first to start making the noise, a couple of months ago, the hot taps are a newer thing. When I'm in the kitchen the noise from the hot tap is definitely coming from upstairs - but not heard it from the kitchen cold tap.

    The hot water tap isn't particularly low pressure.
  • Eldi_Dos
    Eldi_Dos Posts: 1,534
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    The kitchen cold tap is most likely fed off the main which could explain why it has not been affected.
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