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01 - water hammer

What is a ‘Water Hammer’?

When an appliance draws water or you turn off a faucet, you could hear loud banging sounds coming from the metal pipes in your home’s plumbing. Unfortunately, this noise, sometimes known as “water hammer,” is more than simply annoying; it may also harm your plumbing system. A water hammer, also known as a hydraulic shock in the technical community, is the outcome of an abrupt pause or direction change in the flow of water. Your pipes move, shake, and slam against each other when this occurs because a shock wave travels through them.

Since Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect, first observed them in the public water system in the first century B.C., water hammer in pipes has been a problem. Thankfully, we’ve since found solutions to handle them. Everything you need to know about hammering pipes, the various issues they can lead to, and how to stop them in your home is provided here.

A water hammer is what?

A fluid that is abruptly forced to stop or change direction will experience a pressure surge known as a “water hammer.” This abrupt shift in momentum generates a shockwave that causes pipes and water to vibrate. The sound of water “hammering” through valves and pipes gives the phenomenon its name. 

We would like to point out that water hammer can occasionally occur for easy causes like excessive water pressure. By examining your water pressure gauge and making any necessary adjustments, you can tell whether your water pressure is the issue. A qualified plumber from BJC Clifton Plumbers can help you test and control your water pressure if you’re unsure about it.

Is the water hammer harmful?

Over time, pipe joints and valves may suffer from water hammer damage. Pipes that are worn out may break, begin to leaking, or separate from their connections. A physical risk could be present if your surge is caused by excessive water pressure. People who are unprepared for a shower that is excessively hot or too powerful could suffer physical injury from high water pressure.

Fixing water hammer.

You may stop water pipes from pounding each time you use the faucet by fixing the water hammer in a number of methods. The most popular and efficient options will be listed.

  • fixing slack pipes. Even modest water pounding could compel your pipes to slam and tremble if they are not secured. The simplest and most economical solution to the issue is to secure the loose pipes. To secure your pipes at the stud or joist, tighten loose pipe straps or hangers, wrap sections of pipe in pipe insulation to serve as shock absorbers, or add more straps or hangers. Extreme cases won’t be fixed by this technique, but light case harm will be lessened.
  • Install a chamber for air. When water is running through a pipe and then abruptly stops, it causes a water hammer. The water slams into the pipe valves that were just closed, sending a shockwave back through the pipe in the process. The valve wall won’t be slammed into if you install a different path for water to rebound after it closes. A small vertical pipe segment positioned next to possibly troublesome valves is known as an air chamber. When you close your valves, it provides a location for water and extra force to go. A skilled plumber can swiftly and easily retrofit plumbing with pipe air chambers.
  • Install water shock arrestors that are mechanical. When an air chamber cannot be installed, mechanical shock arrestors are the best option for solving severe hydraulic shock issues. They are a device that you attach around harmed plumbing junctions, made up of an air bladder and a spring. Mechanical water shock arrestors provide the function for which they are named. They neutralize the shockwave before it can propagate through your pipes by absorbing and stopping it when water slams against closed valve walls. 

Reduce Home Water Hammer Noise

Small plumbing issues left unattended only result in bigger issues down the road. Give BJC Clifton Plumbers a call if you want to know how to make your water pipes stop thumping. Both you and your home’s plumbing will benefit from treating the water hammer noise and any potential damage it may be creating. One of our technicians will be dispatched to identify the problem and resolve it as fast and effectively as feasible.