What Is Water Hammer and Is It a Problem?

What Is Water Hammer and Is It a Problem?

woman-listeningThe name water hammer sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? If you’ve ever experienced it, you’ll know there’s a reason for the drama. At the least, water hammer is an effectively descriptive name, because it sounds like a hammer striking against the pipes of your house. 

Unless you have actual gremlins living in your walls who are smashing at your plumbing with miniature hammers, water hammer isn’t literal. The noise you hear is something that’s occurring inside the pipes. But it’s still not something you want to happen, and not just because it will make you jump around your own house at the abrupt noise. Water hammer can be damaging to the plumbing and to water-using appliances in the house. 

The Source of Water Hammer

Water hammer is caused by a shockwave inside a pipe. Imagine you have turned on a faucet tap and water is rushing through a freshwater pipe to the outlet. You shut off the tap, and what happens? The water stops, of course. But when it stops abruptly like this, it sends off a shockwave through the pipe. If there is nothing to absorb the shockwave, it will cause the pipe to vibrate and make the sound of water hammer.

The reason you don’t normally hear water hammer whenever you turn off a tap or an appliance cuts off water flow is because plumbing is constructed to have air chambers in it that cushion the shockwave. If the air chambers become water-logged or there are worn stop valves in the pipes, it will start to create water hammer. High water pressure can also lead to water hammer. 

The Problems of Water Hammer

In general, you don’t want your plumbing in Sun City, AZ to shake around every time you turn off a tap. The vibrations from water hammer will cause pipes to start to come loose or to abrade against surrounding material. As pipes loosen, the sound and the effects of water hammer will only worsen. The shockwave of water hammer is also bad for water-using appliances connected to the plumbing. 

If high water pressure is causing water hammer, that is a problem all on its own—water hammer is only a symptom of numerous other troubles high water pressure can inflict on household plumbing.  

Solving Water Hammer

When water hammer starts up, call our plumbers to inspect the situation and find out what’s wrong. We can then determine the best way to remedy it. 

For example, if the problem is high water pressure, we can place a water pressure arrestor onto your water main. This lowers the pressure of the water entering the home and alleviates the problem throughout the plumbing. We’ll replace worn valves and restore water-logged air chambers where we find them. We can also add new air chambers by attaching a piece of vertical pipe onto the affected pipeline, adding an air buffer that will absorb the water hammer shockwave. Our plumbers will search for loose pipes that may have suffered damage and have them secured.

The Trusted Plumber serves Glendale, AZ and the surrounding areas. Call us for help with water hammer or any other plumbing repairs you need.

This post first appeared on https://www.thetrustedplumber.com

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