Dealing With Water Hammer

dealing with water hammerWater hammer is perhaps one of the most unsettling things that you can encounter as far as your plumbing is concerned. While it’s not as damaging as, say, a leaking pipe, water hammer can jolt you with the strange noises coming from your home plumbing. More often than not, you hear hammering or banging when water hammer strikes. There are times when the sound that comes from the plumbing is a high-pitched pinging sound. In some cases, you can hear and feel the pipes shake and vibrate, which can be quite disturbing especially when you haven’t heard the phrase “water hammer” before.

Why does water hammer happen?

When the water flow in the pipes is cut off abruptly, it causes a pressure spike, which, in turn creates shock waves that reverberate through your plumbing. Water happens more frequently in homes with higher than usual water pressure.

While water hammer is relatively harmless compared to leaky pipes, they can still cause damage in the long run, as the shocks that it generates can give your pipe joints stress that can weaken them over time. You can choose to ignore and get used to water hammer in your home, but the better option would be to deal with it and prevent them from happening.

If you live in an older home, the plumbing may already have air chambers fitted into them. These air chambers are essentially shock absorbers, so when water flow is stopped abruptly, any hydraulic shock the sudden stop generates is absorbed by these chambers. However, air chambers fill with water over time, and when that happens, its capability of absorbing hydraulic shocks is compromised. The air chambers therefore have to be drained and recharged to restore their shock absorbing capability.

Water hammer arrestor

For newer homes that don’t have air chambers fitted into their plumbing, they can still stop water hammer from happening with a device known as a “water hammer arrestor”. The water hammer arrestor is a mechanical device charged with air or gas that works effectively at absorbing water pressure. They are usually fitted between the tap and the incoming water supply, and are proving to be quite popular among many home owners these days.

A water hammer arrestor can be quite useful for washing machines and dishwashers, which have valves that shut off water supply at tremendous speed. There are water hammer arrestors that are specifically designed for these appliances, and they are quite easy to install, often requiring no more than a simple screw-on connection.

Some water hammer arrestors, however, may require the help of a professional plumber, because installing them could involve making cuts to the water pipes. In this case, you can always call one of our highly skilled and experienced plumbers at Beez Neez Plumbing. Fixing water hammers is just one of the plumbing problems they are qualified to deal with.