What is water hammer?

What is water hammer?

The pipes in your home can make all kinds of noises for various reasons, but water hammer has a much more distinct plumbing noise that occurs for a very specific reason.

Water hammer, also known as fluid hammer, will result after you turn the water off suddenly, which causes water traveling at high speeds through the pipes to come to an abrupt halt and create a shock through the system that causes a hammering noise.

Most plumbing systems contain chambers of air that act as cushions when the shock hits initially, which minimizes the effect and prevents the hammering sound effect. However, if the noise is still present, it's evidence that the air chambers have failed due to water's natural absorbing of air when under pressure.

In a residential plumbing system, water hammer can occur as a result of turning off a major water flow such as a washing machine, a dishwasher, a toilet or even a sink faucet. If you have never experienced water hammering, and it suddenly occurs regularly, the problem is likely due to water logging in your plumbing system's air chambers.

To solve this problem, you can turn off the water in the pipes behind the air chamber or chambers that are waterlogged. Next, you should turn on the faucet that caused the problem and allow the water to drain completely. After this chamber is emptied, it should be able to fill up with air and be able to act as a cushion again.

Homeowners who do not have air chambers built into their plumbing system can take alternative measures to reduce water hammering. It's highly important that you act as soon as possible when water hammering occurs, since this problem can eventually cause major damage to your plumbing system, including causing pipes to burst and fit improperly.

Since water hammering is generally caused by high water pressure, homeowners can try reducing the water pressure to solve the problem. You can do this by installing a pressure-reducing valve in your home's supply line, or by installing a globe valve at the start of the affected pipeline. Although these measures may solve the problem, they can also result in low water pressure.

Although solving the problem of water hammering can be accomplished through do-it-yourself methods, you may be better off calling a qualified, licensed plumber to help you solve the problem more efficiently. An ineffective solution can cause significant damage to your plumbing system, so calling a plumber can often be the more pragmatic and economically efficient route to take in response to water hammer.

Find a great plumber to solve your water hammer problem by consulting the local consumer reviews you can find on Angie's List. No matter where in the country you live, Angie's List has trusted reviews from homeowners like you.

If you live in Chicago and need the best Chicago plumber or your home is in Los Angeles and you're seeking the best LA plumber, Angie's List has the consumer information you need to make the right hiring decision the first time, which can save you time and money.


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