Understanding Water Hammers And How They Can Be Fixed

If you hear a banging and clanging noise in your home whenever you turn off the water to a bathroom or kitchen faucet, then you have a common issue in your home called a water hammer. This issue is quite common and while it may seem merely annoying, it can cause some more serious issues if it is ignored. Keep reading to learn about these problems and also what your professional plumber may due to fix the issue.

What Problems Can A Water Hammer Cause?

To understand the types of problems that a water hammer can cause, you need to understand what the problem is in the first place. A water hammer is when fast moving water changes direction quickly in a water system. When it comes to your plumbing, this direction change occurs when you shut off water at a faucet and the fluid hits the closed valve. The valve forces water backward. This causes an intense buildup and shift of pressure and momentum. Since water cannot compress or absorb this pressure, it is forced against the pipes. This wave of pressure causes the banging or clanging noises as the momentum reverberates across the pipes.

Since the plumbing pipes in your home are retaining a great deal of the reverberation and stress, then it may not come as a surprise that the pipes can become damaged in the process. Small pin-sized holes and full breaks are things you may see if this continues to happen. In many cases, leaks will develop around joints where there are natural weaknesses in the pipes. Freezing pipes that burst may be an issue too. 

Pipes that rattle and move can dislodge from beam connectors as well. Inconsistent water flow issues as well as problems with pipes breaking free from appliances is something you may see. 

How Can The Issue Be Resolved?

The water hammer issue can be resolved in a number of ways. Your plumber may identify the solenoid valves in your home to start. These valves are ones that are electromechanically controlled and are most likely to create water hammer issues. Specifically, they close quickly and redirect water flow more abruptly than gate or ball valves. They are typically attached to appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, so the appliances may be run through a cycle to see if this causes the issue. If it does, then the solenoids can be replaced with ones that close more smoothly. The ones currently in your appliances may be broken or they simply may shut too quickly.

If the water hammer issue is something a bit more widespread, then there are some devices that can be installed. One of these is called a hydraulic accumulator. An accumulator is a small installation that acts as a reservoir to collect water and to distribute pressure better when a valve is closed. Small accumulator devices can be installed in various places throughout the plumbing system, depending on where the water hammers are located. 

Check valves can also be installed that stop pressure from increasing as much and also stop reverberations from traveling a long distance for the valve. 

Devices that reduce water pressure are something that can be considered as well, and these can be placed on the main pipe coming into your home. However, you should know that this will directly affect the flow of water throughout your house and are only advisable if water pressure is too high. Your plumber can test the flow and inform you if it is higher than average. If you are close to a pumping station, then this may be the case.

If you want to know more about water hammers, what causes them, and how they can be fixed, contact your local plumbing professional, like one from Towers Murray Plumbing