Why You Need to Prevent Water Hammers in Your Piping System

What Is a Water Hammer?

Water is an indispensable part of our daily lives. It is essential for cooking, cleaning, and bathing. All these daily tasks require intricate piping systems. Sometimes, the flow of water can run into issues. Water hammers, for example, can occur when the water flow suddenly stops or changes. When the water flow is disrupted too suddenly, its momentum causes it to bounce back and hit the closed valve creating a shock wave that travels through the pipes.

If you’ve experienced sudden shocks or banging sounds in your pipes, this phenomenon is called a water hammer. It can be annoying and frustrating, especially when it happens during the night. Some people may ignore it, not knowing that it is a sign of potential damage to pipes, pipe fittings, and other plumbing fixtures. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Pomona Valley, we specialize in assisting with water hammers and other plumbing issues. Today, we will outline everything you need to know to identify and rectify water hammers in your piping system.

The Common Causes of Water Hammers

Valve Opening/Closing Quickly

As previously outlined, the most common cause of a water hammer is sudden water stoppage in the pipes. This phenomenon happens when a valve is abruptly closed or turned off, causing the water to abruptly change direction and slam against the metal, causing waves of high pressure that create a loud banging sound. The best solution for such a scenario is to find a plumbing remedy to help close or open the valves slowly.

Pump Start/Stop

A residential water pump can also be the cause of a water hammer. When the pump starts or stops, there’s often a sudden change in water pressure in the pipes. This drastic shift can lead to a water hammer. To prevent this from happening, we can inspect and repair your pump to ensure it opens starts and stops gradually.

Pump Power Failure

When the power supply to the water pump fails, it can cause a water hammer due to the sudden change in water pressure. One professional solution is to install a device that closes the main water supply valve when there’s a power failure. Our technicians can assess the situation and proceed accordingly.

Piping Profile/Direction Change

Sediment buildup, corrosion, or uneven piping sizes can cause a water hammer. Furthermore, water hammers can occur if the pipes aren’t properly supported. You can prevent such issues by properly securing and fastening your plumbing system’s piping.

Column Separation

Water hammers can also occur due to column separation. When water flows through the pipes, it naturally creates columns of water which can cause a vacuum effect. This vacuum effect can cause a water hammer. One solution is to install an air chamber in the system to absorb the pressure waves.

Defective Washer

Another cause of a water hammer is a loose or defective washer inside a faucet. When water flows through the faucet, the washer vibrates, causing the pipe to vibrate as well – initiating a water hammer.

How To Prevent Water Hammers from Occurring

Slow The Liquid Velocity to Under 5 Ft/Sec

One way to prevent water hammers is by slowing down the liquid velocity in the pipes. This can be done by increasing the pipe diameter in certain areas or adjusting the pipe slope. By slowing down the flow of water, you'll reduce the force of the water against the pipes, lessening the impact of any sudden stops.

Use Slow-Closing Gate Valves

Another solution for water hammers is to install slow-closing valves. Gate valves are an excellent option because they don't slam shut like other valves. Instead, they close slowly, preventing the water from jolting and causing a water hammer. It is critical to ensure the valve is installed correctly; otherwise, it can create the opposite effect – causing water hammers.

Incorporate Stronger Pipes and Braces

Whatever the underlying cause, weak pipes are naturally prone to vibrating or shaking. To mitigate the intensity of a water hammer, you can install stronger pipes and braces. This renovation will stabilize the pipes and reduce movement or vibration due to water hammers. Unfortunately, this method can be costly and time-consuming, so it's important to weigh the pros and cons with a seasoned professional. Contact our friendly team anytime!

Install an Air Chamber

One way to prevent a water hammer is by installing air chambers inside the pipes. Air chambers are vertical pipes capped off to allow air to accumulate inside. The air cushion acts as a shock absorber as the water passes through, minimizing the banging sound. One downside to air chambers is the fact that they can become waterlogged over time, causing them to become less effective. When this happens, the air chambers need to be drained and refilled with air.

Install a Hammer Arrestor or Relief Valve

Installing water hammer arrestors is yet another popular solution. Water hammer arrestors are devices that absorb shock waves and keep water pressure stable. They are typically installed on the valves of appliances guilty of causing water hammers. These devices can be easily installed and are very effective at releasing pressure.

Utilize A Surge Tank or Standpipe

A surge tank or standpipe is a tank installed near the water supply source. It's designed to absorb any excess pressure that could cause water hammers. When the water comes into the tank, it's absorbed slowly, preventing any sudden stops. This method is ideal for larger buildings with more complex plumbing systems since it requires ample space.

Dealing with Water Hammer Issues? Trust A Pro!

In some cases, water hammers can be a symptom of a bigger plumbing problem. When pipes have loose or broken straps, it can cause the pipes to rattle and create a water hammer. Similarly, if the water pressure is too high, it can lead to a water hammer. To address these issues, it's best to consult a professional plumber who can inspect your plumbing system and provide lasting solutions.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Pomona Valley is proud to be your local solution for water hammer problems. Our technicians have the tools, experience, and techniques necessary to troubleshoot the issue and implement an affordable solution quickly.

Are you sick and tired of water hammer issues? Contact our team today!