What is a Water Hammer?

Whenever you hear loud banging coming from your pipes after you close a tap you are experiencing what is called a water hammer. A water hammer occurs whenever rapidly moving water comes to a sudden stop in the pipes due to the tap being shut off. This will produce a loud banging noise in your plumbing system similar to what it would sound like if a hammer was hitting your pipes.

Water hammer can be a single loud bang, or even multiple banging noises starting with a loud bang that will be followed by several echoes. Whenever the noise occurs as you open a tap, it is most likely air in the pipes. However, if the noise occurs whenever a valve is closed, then it is most likely a water hammer. If a water hammer is occurring in your plumbing in Katy, TX, give Benjamin Franklin Plumbing a call and one of our professional plumbers will provide you with assistance in assessing the problem and fixing it.

Water hammer is not a normal condition of plumbing in Katy, TX. Whenever it abruptly begins to happen in a home’s pipes, this indicates that there is a problem with the plumbing system. The homeowner should have this problem addressed as soon as possible if left untreated; a water hammer can cause damage to a home’s plumbing in Katy, TX.

How Does Water Hammer Damage Pipes?

Water hammer is a serious problem that will cause erosion and damage to the pipes, valves, fittings and can cause pipe bursts. Modern plumbing systems are designed with chambers of air to ease the damage caused by water hammers. These air chambers can become waterlogged, reducing their ability to prevent the effects of water hammers. This is why water hammers sometimes will occur suddenly in pipes that had previously operated normally.

How to Treat Water Hammer

Managing water hammer will depend upon the cause of the problem. The following actions may help in the reduction of the damage effects of the hammer.

  1. If you are able to identify exactly where the water hammer is happening in your pipes, turn off your water supply.
  2. Open the valve where the water hammer is happening.
  3. Allow water to completely drain from the open valve, allowing all air to be restored into the chamber that protects against water hammer.
  4. In some plumbing systems, the air chamber will be located below the water source, in other words, the shut-off valve for the affected tap. If this is the case, the water source should also be drained by turning off the main shut-off valve, or at the water meter in order to prevent the chamber from refilling with water. In older piping that lacks air chambers, these solutions will not work and you will need professional help from a plumber to handle your plumbing in Katy, TX.

An additional possibility that causes water hammer is that the piping is clogged with rust and/or lime due to age and/or corrosion. Corroded pipes will eventually begin leaking, and once leaking begins the situation will only worsen over time. The solution for corroded pipes is the replacement of the pipes entirely.

High water pressure is also another potential cause of water hammer. High water pressure has the possibility of potentially damaging pipes, fixtures, faucets, and water-using appliances. A Ben Franklin plumber can install a pressure reduction valve between the water meter and the home’s main water line if need be. The water reduction valve will protect the home’s plumbing fixtures and appliances from excessive water pressure. The installation of a pressure reduction valve will involve cutting into your home’s main water supply line. Due to the potential for leaks, if this is not properly installed, it is a job that should be handled by a professional plumber such as Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Katy, TX.

The installation of new pipes by a professional and qualified plumber is an option for the elimination of water hammers. Other options include the installation of air chambers into the existing plumbing system at various locations. This method can often solve water hammer problems. If you do not know what you are doing, it is best to let a professional plumbing company, such as Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Katy, TX take care of the installation of air chambers throughout your home. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you.