What Is Water Hammer

What is water hammer?  It seems like an unlikely name for a somewhat common plumbing problem.  It is due to a pressure withing your plumbing pipes trying to reach equilibrium.  It typically occurs when you turn off a faucet, shower, toilet or other water valve.   When you turn off running water, the pressure wave that is built up can cause a hammering and shuddering noise.  Some homeowners may experience clanging pipes.  This is both a noise nuisance but also shaking pipes can damaged them and cause leaks overtime.

Plumbing Repair

This is typically not a task that most DIYers will want to tackle.  It is probably better to call in a professional for this plumbing repair.  A licensed plumber will help to identify the source of the problem and install a water hammer device that will arrest the problem.  These types of plumbing problems can tend to get worse over time.  Don’t delay and have this problem taken care of as soon as you notice it.  The video below displays an example of the sound made by water hammer.

A Fix For Water Hammer

A plumber may install a part called a water hammer arrestor. This is designed to be installed as close to plumbing fixture with the hammer sound as possible.  These arresters come in several different styles and applications.  A licensed plumbing professional will have the knowledge of both the best part to install and also the best location to install it.  These parts can range in price from $15 to $30 each.  Depending upon your particular home, you may need more than one installed. This device works by absorbing the pressure and shock wave that builds after a water valve is turned off.  It contains both a piston along with a pressurized air chamber. Please see the picture below that displays a cut away example of this device to learn more.

water hammer

Water Hammer Arrester

Photo credit:  www.siouxchief.com


One response to “What Is Water Hammer”

  1. Christie says:

    Interesting article. I always wondered what water hammer was. Thanks for explaining!

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