It’s a jarring noise—a sudden bang or clank from the pipes in the walls of your house. It sounds like someone struck a hammer against the pipe material. In fact, that’s where the name of this phenomenon comes from: water hammer. Also known as hydraulic shock, but that’s not as fun a name, is it?
But this isn’t a fun occurrence, and you may have reason to be worried aside from the startling sensation of sudden noises from the walls. Water hammer can indicate problems with your home’s plumbing that may require calling our professionals to examine your pipes and find out what, if anything, we need to do.
Why Water Hammer Happens
What causes this banging sound? The noise comes from the impact of a shockwave created by an abrupt stoppage of water movement through the pipes. Each time you shut off a tap or an appliance closes off water flow into it, it causes the water in the pipes to stop flowing and reverse direction abruptly, sending a shockwave through the pipe. However, you don’t hear a noise most of the time because the design of modern plumbing contains air chambers to absorb the effect of the shockwave. If the air chambers are water-logged or the water pressure in the freshwater pipes is too high, it will create the noise of water hammer.
Water Hammer Can Be a Problem
You might think, “Well it can’t be that bad. If I can tolerate an occasional jump-scare, there’s nothing wrong with it.”
First, we don’t know why you would want jump-scares in your house at all! But aside from that, water hammer can mean trouble. The movement of the shockwave can damage pipes, causing them to rattle around and potentially tear loose. They can abrade against surfaces and suffer from damage.
Secondly, the shockwaves also cause damage to appliances. If the reason for the water hammer is high water pressure, you’ll have numerous problems in the plumbing from the stress of the pressure. Consider the noise of water hammer to be a warning: bring in professional plumbers to inspect the plumbing.
How to Cure Water Hammer
Once our plumbers look over the pipes, we’ll understand what solutions are necessary. If the problem is water-logged air chambers, then we can restore those air chambers to provide the cushion the plumbing should have. These air chambers come from vertical pipes, and they can have water trapped in them.
Another method we can use is to install a water hammer arrester, a.k.a. an in-line water surge arrester, if the water hammer is only occurring at a single appliance, like a dishwasher.
If you have high water pressure because of how the water enters your home through the municipal source, we can reduce the water pressure with an installation of a water pressure regulator. This will bring water pressure down below 80 psi, which is where you want it.
You can trust us for help with your plumbing in Frederick, MD—we’ll solve water hammer or any other trouble with your residential plumbing.
At Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we pledge to exceed expectations at every turn. Schedule service with our plumbers today.