Water hammer – it's as loud as the term sounds and can be just as damaging!
What Is That Noise Anyway?
The water in your pipes is under immense pressure. When your faucet is on, and the pressure is lessened, and then you shut the faucet off suddenly, you create a hydraulic shock that can end in broken pipes and other disastrous, inconvenient and expensive issues for you and your home!
How can you safeguard your home against water hammer? Securing them to the joists with appropriate pipe straps is one way. Not only will this lessen their movement, it will also protect your walls from the jolting pipes.
Air Chambers-A Potential Solution
Most newer homes have a solution for water hammer built in already called air chambers. This short, vertical pipe is installed behind the valve, slightly higher. This pipe fills with air and acts like a cushion when air hammer does occur. Do not be fooled though, this is not a 100% sure fire fix! In fact, water hammer still occurs at valves that have air chambers installed.
When this happens, the cause is usually that water has bubbled up into the air chamber over time, nullifying its protective effects. While this can be a relatively simple fix, it only works if you know what to do, and it you do it when the situation arises! Just shut off the home’s main water valve, and then open faucets at the highest and lowest points of the structure. As the remaining water drains from your plumbing system, the air chambers will automatically refill with air. When done, turn on the main water valve and check to make sure that the water hammer effect has stopped.
Check Your Water Pressure
Even with air chambers, you could continue to experience this problem if your home’s water pressure is too high. This can be easily checked with a water pressure gauge that you can pick up from your local hardware store. If you water pressure is too high, contacting the water utility company and asking for them to send someone out to lower it is one best practice that typically works. If this is not an option, you can call us and we can come out and install a water pressure regulator.
So when water hammer starts to happen, don't fret! As you cans see above, finding the cause can potentially be simple, and even when a difficult situation does arise, you have the professionals at Mr. Rooter to call to come save the day! We call that a win-win in the plumbing industry!