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Stop Water Hammer Before it’s Too Late

5 June

Are you afraid of the loud banging you hear from your walls and water pipe when you have high water pressure? Or when it bangs after you suddenly turn off your modern mixer taps after using it for some time in your washing machines? A water hammer is the result of a pressure surge or a hydraulic shock typically occurring in your piping system or home’s plumbing system, particularly your old noisy pipes, after suddenly shutting a valve, and the momentum of the water creates a pressure wave. A series of loud bangs also occurs when you increase the water pressure in your water pipe. Above 80 psi is considered very high pressure and can also damage appliances. Repeated water hammer may also impact the pumps, existing valves, and instruments, lead to the failure of gasketed joints and expansion joints, and affect the integrity of pipe walls and welded joints.

So, if you live in an old house with old plumbing systems as a shock absorber, you may think that it’s strange why there are banging noises inside your walls after you stop showering or using a washer. But it is not. It is usual for old pipes in older homes to get worn out at some point. In this case, they absorb shock less from changes in the water pressure as you (or other appliances) rapidly open and shut off the water supply flowing through the pipes.

For example, washers automatically control water flow from entirely on to off within seconds. So, this sudden stoppage causes a water hammer or a hydraulic shock that makes your pipes bang against other fixtures. Over time, this can lead to disastrous burst pipes and water leaks!

The video below explains the science behind the water hammer effect in more detail.

So now you know how the water hammer works, you must be wondering how to fix water hammer or prevent water hammers in your homes. You can consider installing water hammer arresters near your check valves or shutoff valves, or read below to know more and consider your options. It’s time to stop water hammer and for some water hammer solutions before it’s too late!

Check For Loose Mounting Straps In Your Pipes

If you have been hearing water hammers for quite some time, it can damage the pipes enough to loosen from their straps or supports. It is recommended to do the following steps to know for sure:

  1. Go to where your pipelines are installed (e.g. basement)
  2. Find the valve that gives water supply to your toilet or other fixtures
  3. Observe as you turn on and off the valve, and
  4. Look for any atypical movements in the pipes
  5. Secure the loosened pipes with a clamp and see if they still produce a hammering sound afterwards

If the noises persist, you might have a significant water hammer problem, so read on.

Drain your water system to replenish air chambers

Water hammers in pipes can be kept to a minimum by installing a new air chamber or a you install water hammer arrestor.

An air chamber is made of copper pipe that absorbs water pressure by compressing it within the chamber. The chamber loses air as flowing water comes and goes, making it less shock-absorbent over time, causing that unwanted hammering noise.

So, to refill your air chambers with new air, follow these steps.

Locate the main valve of your water line and shut off the water line. Next, turn all faucets you could find around the house on. It’s also advisable to start with the highest water outlet in your home till you reach the lowest point.

Drain the water supply from all open faucets and wait for 30 minutes. Ensure water is also flushed from the toilet before turning the water supply line onto your house.

Observe for 10 minutes to see if the pressure is strong again to supply a steady stream of water throughout the pipeline. If successful, it should stop those banging noises.

Reduce Water Pressure

If the second tip doesn’t work at all, try to reduce the water flow to your house by adjusting the water pressure regulator. This will lower water pressure and help the water pipes or air chambers absorb the shock wave to its capacity.

However, if you don’t have a regulator and a water pressure gauge to help absorb the shock wave, consider installing one so you can adjust water pressure whenever necessary at the right level. Ensure that your water pressure range doesn’t go beyond 30-55 psi to avoid further damage to your pipes.

Call A Plumbing Expert For Assistance And Excellent Plumbing Services

If everything gets more technical than you expected, or if all else fails, contact a plumber near you immediately. Call us for a great service on your piping system. We’ll stop water hammer issues in your homes for sure! Besides, other water hammer solutions like installing air chambers, water hammer arresters near the check pressure limiting valve, or even regulators can be a pain for a non-handyman.

Whether you’re trying to resolve the issue on your own or hiring a plumber, regular maintenance in your plumbing system is key to preventing water hammers from happening again, and other plumbing problems can be addressed immediately.

For more plumbing tips or to stop water hammer issues and for other plumbing issues, call us in Upper Coomera, Pacific Pines, Helensvale or anywhere across the Gold Coast! Our friendly plumbers can help today!