It's a Ghost! It's a Zombie! No, It's Water Hammer

Water Hammer: a Short Guide to What It is and How It Gets Fixed

A banging sound starts from behind the wall in the middle of the night. It briefly stops, then starts right back up again. This continues until the sun rises, leaving homeowners wondering: "What was that?"

Chances are, it's water hammer when a homeowner hears banging, clanging, or pounding noises behind the wall. One should not ignore this phenomenon. Water hammer does not get better on its own. It needs immediate attention. Otherwise, a homeowner could face long-term damage to the plumbing system and even burst pipes.

What Exactly Is Water Hammer?

Imagine a pipe. Water flows through one end, and a valve stops the water's flow at the other. When someone turns on the faucet, the valve opens, allowing water to stream through the faucet. When they turn the water off, the valve closes, preventing water from passing through the pipe.

Water hammer is when the flow of water hammers against the closed valve. This can cause loud sounds that bump in the night (or day). Some causes of water hammer include:

  • Loosely-fitted pipes
  • New plumbing appliances and fixtures, such as faucets and sinks
  • Worn valves
  • Clogged air chambers
  • Water rippling from the water tank

Sometimes, valves do their jobs too well. When a valve suddenly cuts off water flow, the water may not stop in time, creating an unpleasant banging noise.

Is Water Hammer Dangerous?

Noisy water pipes aren't dangerous. However, the shockwaves created by the flow of water can wreak havoc on a plumbing system. If left unaddressed, this could cause:

  • Eroded pipes. Water pushing against a closed valve can erode the inside of a pipe. This can cause it to weaken, increasing the likelihood of leaks.
  • Burst pipes. Burst pipes are every homeowner's nightmare. Burst pipes can lead to water damage, mold growth, and flooding––all of which can cause extensive destruction. Pipes can burst with little to no warning, too.
  • Broken valves. A valve can only take so much water pressure before it breaks. This can lead to many concerns, such as water damage.

Indoor plumbing systems are remarkable pieces of technology. On average, the home's plumbing system can last decades without problems. However, water hammer can significantly lower its lifespan, leading to stress, inconvenience, and property damage.

How Can a Professional Plumbing Fix Water Hammer?

First, a qualified professional will determine the reason for water hammer. The issue could lie with a faulty valve. It could also lie with malfunctioning kitchen appliances. Once they understand the source of the problem, they can address it.

To fix water hammer, a plumber may turn off the water main and drain the plumbing system of water. They might do this if an air bubble in the plumbing system is causing the issue. They might also install a water hammer arrester. Water hammer arresters absorb the shockwaves that the inconsistent water flow causes. They may also install an air chamber that reduces the pressure build-up water hammer causes.

About Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc

Homeowners don't have to watch YouTube videos about fixing water hammer. Instead, they can call on Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc. These professionals offer same-day service to those living in Riverside County and the surrounding area. They also have almost 25 years of experience helping homeowners with their plumbing needs. Interested parties can call today for plumbing service.