So, What is a Water Hammer?
Have you ever turned off the faucet only to hear a scary and loud banging in your pipes? Water pipes should be quiet, so what in the world can it be? Well, it is most likely you have a water hammer. In that case, you will need to contact a local plumber to fix it.
Water hammer is also referred to as hydraulic shock. It’s caused by an increase in pressure when a faucet, valve, or an appliance that uses water turns off. You see when the water quickly changes direction, and it ultimately bangs against the pipe walls or the shut-off valve in your water system. When you have a water hammer, this change in direction makes a loud pounding noise.
It’s essential to address the banging pipes as soon as you hear them. It can cause excessive wear and tear on pipes and can even cause a leak if you wait. Read on to learn more about the four conditions that cause water hammer and how to deal with them.
The Causes of Water Hammer and How to Fix It
As stated above, it is crucial to deal with a water hammer as soon as you recognize the sound. (And believe me, once you have heard it, you will not soon forget it.)
Here are four possible conditions that can be causing water hammer:
1. Water-logged air chambers
2. Higher than normal water pressure
3. An overactive appliance
4. Old pipes
Water-logged Air Chambers
Air chambers are vertical pipes that regulate pressure, prevent water from forming waves in the supply pipes, and absorb the shock. The most common cause of water hammer is a water-logged air chamber. If you don’t have air chambers, have a professional install them where the plumber advises eliminating the waves that cause water hammers.
To fix the issue, your plumbing system needs draining. First, turn off your main water shut-off valve, and then open all your faucets and valves. Be sure to open the lowest tap, like your garden hose. Opening the faucets will drain water-logged chambers with pressure, allowing the air chambers to clear.
Now, don’t forget to turn off all faucets and turn the water supply back on. Then, the water hammer should be gone.
A plumber can even install a water hammer arrestor to keep the jolt of a sudden water pressure increase. That may also help the situation.
If that didn’t clear the water hammer, you have one of these other issues.
Higher Than Normal Water Pressure
Regulating high water pressure can also eliminate water hammer. If your plumbing’s resting pressure is too high, you may hear the banging regularly. Adjusting the pressure-reducing valve can help.
Turn all faucets and appliances that use water off to check for pressure. If the plumber finds your pressure reading is above 80 psi, the plumber will recommend a regulator installation.
An Over-Active Appliance
Locating the culprit appliance is the goal here. It may be your sprinkler system, washing machine, dishwasher, or other device using water. To find which one is responsible, turn them all off and use them one by one. When you hear the sound again, you have found the culprit.
In this case, a water hammer arrester can also be beneficial. Your plumber can tell you which one you will need, what size, and where.
In any case, an arrester for that problem appliance will hopefully resolve your pipe-banging
Water Hammer from Old Pipes
If you are in an older or historic home, your pipes may also be old. Those old pipes tend to move around when there is a change in pressure. If you can easily jostle the lines or see them move excessively when you turn on the water, that is the problem.
Here, it would help if you had pipe clips or clamps. They will help stabilize the pipes so they can better handle the pressure changes. Even better, plastic clips and plumber’s tape are safe and easy to use. You could probably do this one yourself if you locate the wiggly pipes.
Help from the Plumbing Professionals at Flow Pros
If you don’t have the time or want to find the issue, we don’t blame you. After all, that is why we are here. Our plumbers can fix all types of water hammer and more. For an on the spot job estimate, contact the helpful staff at Flow Pros Plumbing to get on the schedule right away.
Don’t delay when you hear the awful clanging of a water hammer. If left alone, it will only do more damage. Contact Flow Pros as soon as you hear it.