What Causes Water Hammer?

what causes water hammerHave you ever been jolted by strange noises coming from your pipes? Sometimes you hear hammering or banging, sometimes there’s a high-pitched pinging sound, and perhaps most unsettling of all, the pipes just vibrate or shake for no apparent reason. Yes, every household has experienced water hammer at one time or another, and it’s really annoying when it strikes.

Water hammer happens every single time the water flow in your pipes is abruptly cut off. A pressure spike is created by the sudden stop, and that spike produces shock waves that bounce through your pipes. If you’re wondering where all that noise is coming from, here are the possible sources:

1. Loose pipes

Water hammer may be caused by loose pipes in your system. More often than not, these pipes contribute to all that banging and shaking when the brackets, ring hangers, metal plumber’s tape and other mounting straps that secure them to your home’s framing become loose. If you have an older home, your pipes probably do not have the same quality and quantity of mounting straps as a newer home. To prevent or at least minimize the water hammer, check the pipes that you can access and make sure they’re secure.

2. Worn-out faucet washers

Water hammer may also be caused by a worn-out faucet washer, particularly if the noise only comes on after a specific faucet is shut off. You can tighten the washer screws, but if that does not work, you may have to go a little further by replacing the stem assembly.

3. Faulty toilet fill valve

When you flush your toilet and you hear that familiar banging sound, there’s a great chance it is caused by a toilet fill valve that closes too quickly, or does not close all the way.

4. Electric solenoid valve issues

When you purchase new appliances and fixtures and you notice those annoying sounds almost immediately after installing them, it is highly likely that they have quick-closing electric solenoid valves. Washing machines and dishwashers that have quick-closing electric solenoid valves are prone to the rattling and banging associated with water hammer.

5. Water heater problems

Water hammer may also originate from water heaters and its associated valves. To reduce the noises, the faulty or incorrectly rated valves may have to be replaced. Servicing the water heater on a regular basis may also help.

Home owners may be annoyed by all that noise, but many of them actually just ignore the problem and eventually get used to all the racket water hammer makes. That, however, can prove to be a big mistake. All that banging, rattling and hammering could take a toll on your pipes, and may eventually cause leaks. Worse, you could be facing the possibility of burst pipes, a major plumbing problem that you are certainly going to need professional help with.

In case you hear water hammer doing a number on your pipes, do not hesitate to call us. We at Beez Neez have a team of plumbers who are skilled and experienced enough to make your water hammer issues go away, and we’ll be sending them your way as soon as you make that call.