• Howard Gallagher

What Is Water Hammer?

You hear an unusual noise coming from your pipes. This banging noise happens when you turn off the water intakes. What you are hearing is a Water Hammer or a Hydraulic Shock. This is when pressure builds up in your pipes as water is quickly displaced. This can adversely impact your plumbing system. A Water Hammer can be prevented with proper plumbing maintenance.

Causes of Water Hammer

Water hammer is a pressure surge that occurs when a fluid is forced to stop or change direction at a fast pace. The resulting shockwave causes shaking pipes. High water pressure is a common cause of water hammers. A malfunctioning home appliance can also cause a water hammer. This is seen in dishwashers and washing machines. Another common cause is excess water in an air chamber. Air chambers are common in homes made before 1970. To reset your air chambers, turn off your main water shut-off valve, and then open all your faucets and valves. Don’t forget to open the lowest faucet you have, which could be on an outdoor hose bib or a basement sink. Allow any remaining water to drain. Turn all faucets back off and turn the water supply back on.

Negative Effects On Plumbing System

Water hammer can damage and wear away at pipe joints and valves over time. This will result in pipes banging into your walls. Pipe fittings can begin to loosen . High water pressure can harm people whether it is too hot water or too forceful water.

Water Hammer Prevention

The first step in water hammer prevention is checking the water pressure of your plumbing system. When you’re ready to check your pressure, turn off all appliances and faucets that use water. Place the pressure gauge on a valve or hose bib that’s close to your main water supply source . Homes built within the last 50 years typically have some form of protection against water hammers. Securing pipes, Air Chamber installation, and invest in water shock arrestors. Pipes can be secured with pipe straps and pipe insulation. An air chamber is the perfect defense against water hammers. They act as a shock absorber against sudden changes in water pressure. Water surge arrestors are great for preventing water pressure fluctuations in your home.

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