Every home has its own sounds. Some are related to your family, pets, and daily activities. But others are actually coming from your home, itself. The floor could be creaking, that one step squeaks when you step in just the right spot, and the door hinge makes a squeal. But when you notice some new banging sounds coming from your plumbing pipes, you start to worry. It can sound like something is about to explode. But what it is, is a water hammer.
What Is a Water Hammer?
The technical term for water hammer is hydraulic shock. And it occurs when pressurized water bangs against the walls of a pipe or valve when it shuts. Picture the water coming to an abrupt stop when you turn off the water faucet or when a valve in your sprinkler system closes. This banging of pressurized water is not uncommon. But when it happens in your home, it should not be overlooked. The added stress that water hammer places on pipes, fittings, and valves can result in costly water leaks in time.
The Causes Of Water Hammer
There are several situations in your home that could be creating the water hammer you are hearing. And it is vital to determine which is to blame so that it can be corrected to avoid damage to your water lines.
- Water In Air Chambers- Air chambers are vertical pipes that are a part of your home’s plumbing system. These pipes are in place to help regulate the water pressure and keep it flowing smoothly. But if too much water gets into a chamber, it does not work correctly. The solution is to turn off the main water supply line to your home and open all the faucets to drain the water lines. This will allow the excess water in the air chamber to drain out and stop the water hammer.
- Appliance Pressure Issues- If you only notice the water hammer when a specific appliance is in operation, then you know the culprit. A washing machine, dishwasher, or sprinkler system could be altering the house water pressure enough to create the water hammer. The solution is the installation of a water hammer arrestor on the appliance or system in question.
- High Water Pressure- Home’s (912) 236-3333with high water pressure are more likely to experience water hammer. If you suspect high pressure, purchase a pressure gauge kit at your local big box store. The process is as simple as placing the gauge on a hose bib outside when all the water inside the house is turned off. Gently open the valve on the hose bib all the way. Note the reading on the gauge for your home’s water pressure. Anything over 80psi is considered too high. Installing a pressure regulator will stop the banging pipes and all years of life to your water lines and fixtures. Excessive pressure will wear out your entire plumbing system prematurely.
- Loose Pipes-If the water lines are not adequately secured to the walls of your home, even a slight pressure change or amount of water movement will cause them to bang against the walls. It will eventually result in broken pipes and a flood of water in your home. But it is also the easiest to fix. Locate the noisy loose pipes and secure them to the wall with pipe straps.
If you are unable to determine what is creating the water hammer in your home, call (912) 236-3333. The team of licensed plumbers at Thompson and Thompson is here to help you locate and correct the issue.