Water hammer is a plumbing problem that is typically characterized by a banging or thumping sound produced when pressure builds up inside water pipes. Experts call this pressure buildup hydraulic shock and it typically occurs when water changes direction suddenly. In most cases, this problem stems from a sudden closure of a valve. If you do not take steps to remedy this situation, it could get out of hand and cause problems such as pipe collapse. That said, here are tips on what to do about noisy pipes:
Recharging Air Chambers
To begin with, shut off your mains water supply and open the faucet at the highest point in your home. After this, find and open the faucet at the lowest point. In most properties, this faucet should be somewhere in the basement or on the first floor. The aim is to drain all the water inside your home’s pipes. At the same time, air replaces water drained from the pipes. With the water completely drained, shut off the lowest faucet and reopen the main valve. This will cause water to fill the pipes and replace air. However, air chambers in your water pipes will retain air, which is good news because this will eliminate the water hammer problem.
Water Pressure Adjustments
High water pressure is a leading cause of noisy pipes. With this in mind, locate your water pressure regulator and adjust it. If you cannot find one, it is advisable to hire a professional to install one. The problem with high water pressure is it can damage appliances that use water like washing machines and dishwashers. It is worth noting that can use a water pressure gauge to test level of water pressure in your home. It should range anywhere from 30 to 55 psi. Any reading above or below this range is abnormal, and requires immediate adjustment.
This Old House explains how to fix a water hammer!
Install a Water Hammer Arrestor
Another effective way of dealing with this problem is by installing a water hammer arrestor. This sealed unit contains a waterproof air bladder and a spring to absorb hydraulic shock generated by the water moving through your plumbing system. Unlike air chambers, hammer arrestors do not require so-called “recharging.” Just make sure you carry out regular maintenance at least once a year and it should last for decades.
Virtually any fluid moving inside a pipe such as water or gas can cause hammering. Some of the possible solutions to this problem include installing a water hammer arrestor, adjusting your water pressure regulator, and “recharging” the air chambers in your water pipes. If the problem is too serious, it is important that you contact a professional plumber.
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