What is Water Hammer?
Technically referred to as hydraulic shock, water hammer is one of the most common noisy plumbing issues; but noise is not the worst part about it. Water hammer is actually damaging to your plumbing system, and should be addressed in a timely manner to prevent costly plumbing repairs, appliance repairs, and pipe replacement. The sounds and reverberations experienced at the time water hammer occurs is a result of water traveling through your plumbing pipes at thousands of feet per second while exerting hundreds of pounds of pressure per inch. But what causes water hammer to begin with?
CausesWhen water is traveling at high speeds and extreme pressure through your plumbing pipes, an abrupt halting of the water flow (shutting off the faucet or valve quickly) will cause the resulting noise and reverberations. The loud bang you hear is actually the pipes colliding with one another and against other framing components of the home. This is where the damage can happen. Homes are usually fitted with a plumbing piece called an air chamber to absorb the shock produced when water is traveling at high speeds under high pressure. Air chambers are generally fitted on the hot and cold water lines near the faucet or water intake valve. They are usually not visible, and sometimes hidden inside walls. Older homes may not have air chambers but should, and newer homes are usually equipped with them already.
If your air chamber is filled with water, you can solve this problem by draining your plumbing pipes, thus restoring the air back into the chambers and recharging your plumbing system. For a long-term solution, you could have your trusted master plumber install an engineered or mechanical water hammer arrestor. These devices are charged with air or gas, and do not fail under pressure. The best solution for preventing water hammer problems is to have your plumbing installed properly, the first time. If you are concerned about the condition of your home’s plumbing, talk to your local Indianapolis plumber for inspection, diagnostic, and repair services.