What Is Water Hammer?
If you have heard mention of water hammer, you may be wondering what that exactly is. Water hammer is hydraulic shock, which is a pressure surge or wave that results from the water that is in motion being forced to stop or change direction suddenly. This momentum change causes rattling pipes.
These kinds of problems cause the need for extensive repairs as the damage worsens. If you are experiencing water hammer in your home, you should call a professional plumber to get to the root of the problem.
How Do I Recognize Water Hammer?
When water is shut-off suddenly, or when an appliance that uses water turns off the water intake suddenly, the pipes may make a loud banging noise. Water hammer is technically called hydraulic shock, which results from water suddenly changing directions or stopping. The shock wave that causes the water pipes to move and strike against wooden frames or against each other causes the banging noise.
The force of water hammer can cause pipes to burst or it can loosen plumbing joints. While it isn’t heard as loudly, water hammer can also occur with plastic water pipes. So, if you have plastic pipes and hear unusual noises, you should pay close attention and make sure a plumber is called.
There are four common ways to stop water hammer and prevent further problems. Here are the ways that your plumber may be able to take care of the problem:
- Secure the loose pipes – Even if the pipes are slightly loose there can be a mild shock wave that can make a loud banging noise. Any loose pipes can be tightened using hangers to secure the pipes to joists or studs. Sometimes foam pipe insulation is wrapped around the pipes to serve as shock absorbers and to stop the banging.
- Water shock arrestor installation – Water shock arrestors absorb shock from the water hammer and work in situations where the air chamber isn’t a practical solution. They are sealed units containing an air bladder and a spring to absorb the water movement and to reduce the effects caused by the water hammer. These can be added to washing machine valves or faucets in utility sinks.
- Install a water pressure regulator – If the overall pressure from the main water pipe is too strong, it can cause water hammer. This can be corrected by installing a water pressure regulator. Normal water pressure is between 30 and 65 psi.
A professional plumber will assess the situation and determine which of those four approaches will work best for your specific plumbing issue. Our plumbers are highly experienced in addressing various plumbing problems, including water hammer, and we will come up with the most efficient and cost-effective solution for your specific plumbing problems.
If you are hearing rattling noises coming from your water pipes, you should take the matter seriously and make sure it is addressed promptly and properly. Delaying the repairs can lead to worse problems and end up making you need more expensive plumbing repairs.
Water hammer could cause a pipe to break or come loose, causing flooding that leads to other damages. If you notice any kind of unusual noises in your plumbing system, call for professional plumbing help today.