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Performance Plumbing Blog

What’s Water Hammer and Why Does It Matter?

plumber-fixing-pipe-under-sinkHave you ever been alone at home, enjoying some peace and quiet when all of the sudden you hear a metallic clang from seemingly inside the walls? The good news is, it’s probably not ghostly activity or even intruders you’re hearing. It’s most likely something called water hammer, which happens inside your plumber system.

We’re sure “water hammer” may sound a little intimidating, but it’s actually a pretty common occurrence. It’s not a devastating problem to have, but it can create trouble in the pipes if not dealt with soon. Read on as we dive into what water hammer is, what it does, and how to get rid of it.

What Causes Water Hammer?

What you’re actually hearing when water hammer happens is a bit of a shockwave that’s caused by the sudden stop and reversal of the flow of water within your plumbing system. This shockwave creates a vibration in the system, and therefore makes a noise similar to a hammer striking the pipe.

Every time you turn off a faucet or a valve, the water makes an abrupt stop, so that can’t be avoided. But there’s a reason you don’t want to hear water hammer happen every time. That reason is that your plumbing system is designed with water cushions designed to absorb the shock so there isn’t water hammer. However, a few things can cause water hammer to happen anyway, such as:

  • Air chambers are water-logged, eliminating the water cushions.
  • You have high water pressure from the municipal system.
  • You have loose pipes.

Why You Don’t Want Water Hammer

Aside from the fact that listening to water hammer is unpleasant, it creates other issues too. If your pipes aren’t loose already, the shockwaves of water hammer can cause them to become loose, causing subsequent problems. The impact of the shockwaves inside the pipes can also cause damage to your plumbing pipes and fixtures.

Soon enough, you could find yourself facing older plumbing that’s broken apart at connection points, or even burst plumbing. If water hammer is warning your household of high water pressure, there are also other water pressure issues your system can suffer from.

How Do You Stop Water Hammer?

So, what can be done? Well, the answer to this depends on why it started to begin with. A professional plumber, like a member of our team, will help you determine why the problem is impacting your pipes, and then come up with an appropriate action to take Some examples of what might be done include:

  • Refilling the Air Chambers: If a loss of cushion is the issue, then a plumber can restore these in the right areas.
  • Securing or Replacing Loose Pipes: Water hammer can indicate repair areas that you’ll need to pay attention to in the plumbing, especially if you have an aging plumbing system. Our plumbers will secure the loose pipes and repair or replace the damaged ones.
  • Water Pressure Regulator: If high water pressure is what’s causing problems, we’ll resolve this by installing a pressure regulator onto the main water line. This stops water hammer and also reduces many other plumbing problems.

For professional service on your plumbing in Ballwin, MO, contact Performance Plumbing.

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