Sometimes, when you shut off a faucet in your home, you might hear a loud banging noise coming from the pipes. Though the sound can be alarming, the issue causing the banging sound is relatively common. The cause of this banging is known as water hammer. Read on to find out what you should do about it and when to call a plumber.
Important Facts About Water Hammer
What is water hammer?
Also known as hydraulic shock, water hammer occurs when a faucet or appliance shuts off the flow of water suddenly. When the pipe closes quickly, the mass of water before the closure is still moving, building up pressure, resulting in a shock wave. The water has no place to go, so it bangs against the pipe walls with a loud hammering sound. Water hammer is sometimes so forceful it can damage pipes or loosen joints.
What causes water hammer?
If you have an old plumbing system, a plumber may need to install one or more air chambers to prevent water hammer. However, more than likely, you already have air chambers in your home, and the water hammer could be caused by those chambers having too much water in them. Air chambers are segments of air-filled vertical pipes in modern plumbing systems that prevent water from forming waves in the supply pipes.
How can I clear the air chambers?
To clear the water out the air chambers, turn off the main water shut-off valve and then open all the faucets and valves throughout the house. This should allow the air chambers to drain. However, the chambers might repeatedly get too much water in them if the water pressure in your house is too high. The problem might also persist if there's an issue with a specific appliance in your home triggering the water hammer. There’s also a chance the air chambers have a blockage of chemical residue or other grime that’s causing them to malfunction. In this case, a plumber can clean them out.
How can a plumber fix water hammer?
If you already have air chambers in your plumbing system, you could turn down the water pressure in the entire house, but then you wouldn’t have enough water flowing into taps, the shower, and the washing machine. Instead, a plumber can install a water hammer arrestor as a long-lasting solution. Similar to an air chamber, the arrestor features an air-filled chamber sealed with a piston. These arrestors can be installed into washing machine valves or other problematic locations to avoid the noise.
Contact a reputable plumber to deal with water hammer issues in your home. Since 1958, residents throughout Grant County, WI, have turned to H & N Plumbing Heating & Electrical. This family-owned and -operated company will address all types of plumbing issues, electrical repairs, and HVAC problems. Call (888) 822-3258 today to schedule an appointment, or visit their website to learn more about their services.