What Is Water Hammer and How Do You Fix It?

water hammer

You turn off your faucet only to be greeted with a loud BANG! Meanwhile, your faucet vibrates from the impact. Sound familiar? If so, you’re dealing with water hammer.

Water hammer is the non-technical term for hydraulic shock. It occurs when water sends a shock wave that exerts a large amount of pressure. This results in a loud banging, knocking, or thumping sound in your water pipes.

Water hammer isn’t just an annoyance – it can also be damaging to your plumbing, which is why it’s a good idea to address it if your plumbing is being afflicted by excess pressure.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about water hammer and the easy steps you can take to protect your plumbing.

What Causes Water Hammer?

Water hammer occurs when a faucet or other fixture quickly halts the flow of water. This can cause a shockwave that makes the water supply pipes bang against each other or against the framing of your home or business.

Water hammer typically affects faucets, but it can also affect any fixture or appliance that uses water such as your washing machine, dishwasher, or toilet.

How to Fix Water Hammer

When it comes to fixing water hammer, there are a few solutions.

Air Chambers

The traditional solution involves the air chambers. The supply systems in most older homes have pipe fittings called air chambers. The air chambers are located on each cold and hot water line or in close to the faucet or water inlet valve.

Typically, air chambers are hidden within the walls of a home, except in unfinished places like a utility room.

The air chambers act as a shock absorber for water flowing at a high speed under high pressure. Because air compresses, the air chamber can absorb the shock of the force of the water as it comes to a halt. Rather than hitting the pipes, the shockwave created by the water hits the compressible air.

The problem with air chambers is that they can accumulate water over time. This eliminates the air that serves as a shock absorber. Luckily, these can be easily recharged by turning off the water supply and draining the pipes.

Hammer Arrestors

Hammer arrestors are a more long-term solution for eliminating water hammer. A hammer arrestor works similarly to an old-style air chamber but instead includes air or gas-filled chambers. This chamber is sealed by a diaphragm or piston that moves to absorb the shock caused by the water.

There are lots of types of hammer arrestors. While some are installed with soldered pipe connections, others are installed with threaded or push-in fittings that require no soldering.

Prevent or Fix Water Hammer With the Professionals at Climate Design

Water hammer isn’t just annoying, it can damage your plumbing system if the shockwaves are strong. At Climate Design, we offer solutions that can eliminate water hammer in your home or prevent it in the first place.

Contact us today to learn more about our plumbing services or conveniently schedule a service appointment online.

Call (888) 572-7245 to Schedule Your Appointment