Build a Decorative Backyard Landscaping Bridge Dear James: There is a narrow gully near my flower gardens. I always thought that a small bridge, flat or arched, over it would look beautiful. Can you tell me the basic steps to build a simple bridge myself? — Paula R. Dear Paula: Building a …Read more. Fix Asphalt Driveway Potholes Yourself Dear James: I have an asphalt driveway, and it has several potholes and large indentations. What is the best method to fix these spots myself? I do not have any method to heat the patch materials. — Mark R. Dear Mark: You have been doing your …Read more. Small-Sized Shovels and Garden Tools for Women Dear James: I am a recent widow. My husband promised the kids a deck, so I have to build it myself. I am petite, so his shovels, posthole digger, etc. are hard to handle. Are there smaller tools for women? — Karen W. Dear Karen: With the …Read more. How to Select a Good Remodeling Contractor Dear James: I am planning a major room addition to my home. I am new to the area, so I do not know which are the best remodeling contractors. How can I find out which ones are reputable? — Joe R. Dear Joe: Although there are some bad apples in …Read more.more articles
Stop Annoying House Sounds
Dear Pat: I have lived in a new house for about one year now. Whenever I use a lot of hot water or the furnace/air conditioner comes on, I hear squeaks and knocking sounds. What is it, and how can I stop it? — Gina P.
Dear Gina: Those sounds you described can be quite loud and a little scary for children. I can still recall spending the night with my grandparents when I was a child. Their plumbing and heating system made many strange, frightening noises, which kept me awake and anxious all night.
Most of the knocking sounds you are hearing are from the water pipes expanding and contracting as hot water runs though them. First they heat up and expand, and then they cool down again when you turn the hot water off. The sounds are usually louder when you turn the water on because they heat up much faster than they cool back down.
The copper supply pipes expand some, but not as much as the plastic (PVC) drain pipes. Plastic expands much more with temperature increases than does metal. Most new houses use PVC pipe today, so you can expect to always have a few sounds, but not at the annoying level.
For those of you who are planning to build a new house, consider installing cast iron drain pipes instead of plastic. It is more expensive, but it will virtually eliminate these sounds. Cast iron pipe also reduces the sound of the water running through them. This can be a great advantage, particularly for second-floor bathrooms.
Another source of the noise is caused by the pipes rubbing against floor and wall joists as they expand and contract.
There really is no simple fix for this problem. The best you can do is try to locate the spots where the sound seems to be the loudest and most annoying. Remove a section of the drywall to gain access to the suspect pipe. Support it better so it does not touch the lumber framing.
Making the holes in the lumber a little large will provide more clearance around the pipe and may stop the rubbing. Be careful not to enlarge the clearance holes too much because it weakens the joist or stud. Check with your local building inspections department for the maximum allowable hole sizes.
The sound when the furnace starts is somewhat similar to the pipes. The ducts will grow and shrink as they warm up. Support them properly so they don't rest against the lumber. Also, secure all the duct joints, because this is a location where one piece will slide against another — squeak!
A loud knock when the furnace starts and stops may be the sides of the large main ducts buckling in and out. This is sometimes called "oil canning." The increasing and decreasing air pressure inside the ducts causes this to happen, usually in the large flat ducts near the furnace.
Screw some long, heavier sheet metal supports along the duct faces that are oil canning. Sometimes, just putting small dimples in the face with a hammer will make it rigid enough to stop the noise.
Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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