Plumber fixing the water hammer

What Is Water Hammer and How Can You Deal With It?

When you hear bumps and soft clanks while you sleep at night, it might be the movement of water through your pipes. However, when you hear loud banging from your pipes, it’s probably water hammer. But what is water hammer and what’s causing it? Read on to find out.

What Exactly Is Water Hammer?

Most homeowners think that water just flows seamlessly through their pipes, but in reality, water actually tumbles and churns as it makes it way from your water tank, into your pipes, and out of your faucets. Usually, this process results in a consistent sound that you don’t really notice or are used to hearing. Sometimes, however, when you suddenly turn off the valve or when the water pressure suddenly rises, the water will suddenly halt, which causes this hammering noise.

How Does Water Hammer Occur?

Water hammer could occur due to clogged chambers, waterlogged air chambers, or excessive pressure on your plumbing. However, it could be caused by clogged pipes, which in turn could cause banging noises. Seek the help of a reliable plumber in Sugar House, Utah, when you have this kind of problem in your plumbing sentence. In general, water hammers occur in older houses that contain 90-degree angled pipes. The hammering sound is the pipe moving due to shockwaves. While the sound is annoying, what’s worse is that prolonged hammering can in some cases result in malfunctioning pipe fittings and burst pipes. Plumbing that is properly installed has air chambers or pockets that compress once shockwaves hit them, dampening the noise. However, when water is subject to pressure, it will absorb air and erode the air cushions eventually. This is when you’ll hear the dreaded hammering.

How to Fix Water Hammer DIY Style

Woman fixing the kitchen sinkIf you have some basic plumbing skills and are looking to fix the hammering on your own, do these first to see if you can fix the issue:

  • If you’re able to hear exactly where the hammering is coming from—your bathroom, for instance—shut off the water supply there and open your faucet to promote proper airflow.
  • If you suspect that the water hammer is deep in your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply and open all faucets inside and outside your home to enable air to flow freely into your pipes.
  • Turn on your water supply. It’s perfectly normal for your faucets to spit out air, so don’t be startled when you hear gurgling noises. Remember to shut off all faucets when you’re done.

When to Get Help from Your Trusty Plumber

In the event that your DIY tricks don’t work, there’s a chance that your pipes are already clogged with gunk and mineral buildup. If your plumber finds that you have a capped chamber, he will remove the cap then snake out the clog. If your plumbing system doesn’t have air chambers, your plumber will most likely install a pressure-reducing valve for reducing pressure on your pipes. If this isn’t feasible, your plumber will need to install air chambers in order to get rid of the water hammer once and for all.

Now that you know that it’s the cacophony of water hammer that’s keeping you up at night, you can try addressing it with the DIY fixes suggested above. If your DIY skills are simply not up to par with the problem at hand or if you tried them to no avail, leave the job to the pros.