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How To Stop Water Hammer

How To Stop Water Hammer

While taking a hot shower on a winter evening or filling a bottle of water, you don’t usually notice any sound made by the pipes, do you?

There may just be a subdued sound of the water stream, but other than that, it remains quiet most of the time. So, when you hear a loud bang after turning off a tap, it would naturally be scary.

This noise is referred to as a water hammer and is an indication that all is not well with your plumbing system. You will need to sort it out as soon as possible, and that’s why we’ll be discussing the different methods you can adopt to fix a water hammer in this guide.

With all said and done, let’s get going!

The Cause Behind Water Hammer

If your home has older pipes, you may sometimes hear a banging or hammering noise when turning off a water appliance or a tap. In this case, there are several possible causes. These include an abrupt change in the direction in which the water flows, a closed valve, or the clashing of water against the pipe walls.

If left unattended, the situation might worsen quickly, and you might hear several bangs or hammer-blows in quick succession with an increase in the water pressure.

9 Ways To Deal With Water Hammer

Repairing major damages to your home and its plumbing system can cost you thousands of dollars since you will need help from construction workers as well as plumbers. And you would never want that, right? So, in this section, we’ll discuss some DIY ways that you can adopt to stop a water hammer and thereby avoid such possibilities.

Person Turning On Tap

1. Closing The intake Valve Half-Way

The first instance of this problem may present itself when an appliance such as the washing machine automatically shuts off the water supply. If you’ve noticed such an issue with any of the water appliances, close the intake valve halfway rather than keeping it entirely open. Another great way is to replace the hose used for the intake connection with a wider one.

2. Using Pressure-Limiting Valves

If the water hammer is taking place due to higher water pressure, installing a valve that can limit the pressure would do the trick. The water pressure can also be regulated by adjusting the pressure-reducing valve. An easy method is to identify the taps that are causing the problem and installing the valve on them accordingly.

Alternatively, you can put the valve on the water meter to ensure that the problem is solved more effectively. A third way would be to install it at the entry point of the primary water supply line at your home.

Notably, some of the valves that you would get on the market come with handles for adjustment. But most others have to be adjusted using a screwdriver or wrench. While installing the valve, make sure you adjust the water pressure for the valve to a value below 50 pounds per square inch (PSI). This setting is sufficient for the majority of the homes.

3. Stabilising Loose Supply Lines

While a home is in its construction stage, plumbers fasten the pipelines for water supply to wooden studs or joists using U-shaped pipe straps. In case the straps are not tight enough, or a few of them are missing, it may lead to the pipes knocking around and creating noise.

To ensure that the banging stops, you should immediately tighten the pipe straps using a screwdriver. You may even install additional straps to enhance stability. Here, you should note that most straps are made by molding plastic or thin metal, but there are a few padded straps that reduce vibration more effectively.

You must also be careful not to use steel or galvanised straps on pipes made from copper. That’s because these materials, when used together, can cause plumbing leaks or electrolysis.

4. Releasing The Air Pockets In The Pipes

Let us tell you that another possible reason behind the banging sound within a pipe is the presence of air pockets. If you hear the noise the moment you turn the taps on, it’s a sure indication that air pockets are causing the problem.

To resolve this issue, start by turning on all the taps, beginning with the one nearest to the meter, and then turn them off in the reverse order. This would release the air pockets, which would restore the proper functioning of the plumbing system.

5. Installing A Water Hammer Arrestor

As the name suggests, this device has been specially designed to act upon a water hammer. Available in any reliable hardware store, water hammer arrestors feature air-filled cylinders fitted on screw-like connectors and are attached between a shut-off valve and a line for water supply.

Photo Of A Water Hammer

Remember that you must install two of them in the plumbing system, one each at the supply lines for cold water and hot water. However, those who are not unfamiliar with the basic plumbing connection should contact a reliable plumbing service to install this device.

6. Finding A Replacement For Modern Mixer Taps

If a plumbing system consisting of old pipes uses the mixer taps typical to the modern era, that’s indeed something to worry about. A very crucial point to keep in mind when handling plumbing systems is that new fixtures don’t work properly with old plumbing.

While traditional taps have to be wound steadily to shut, mixer taps close instantly if you slap the handle down, which may cause water hammers.

7. Cushioning Water-Supply Lines

Pipe insulation available on the market comes in the form of six-foot long foam tubes designed to fit on lines for water supply to prevent freezing. However, they can also be equally useful in cushioning loose pipes that are making banging sounds.

The tubes are generally pre-slit from one end to the other, and all you need to do is run down your fingers on the slit so that the tube is opened. After this, secure it over the line for water supply.

8. Troubleshooting The Air Chamber Of Your Plumbing System

Certain plumbing systems have a vertical pipe close to the water valve to ease a water hammer. This pipe acts as a cushion, absorbing the shock after the valve is closed and preventing the loud slamming of the water against the pipe walls. Nowadays, most homes have an air chamber installed in a wall, but it may stop working if it’s waterlogged.

This issue must be fixed by draining the plumbing system. This is done by shutting off the main valve, opening the faucet fixed at the highest point in the home, and draining water from the one at the lowest point.

Following this, the air chamber will be filled back with air, which would hopefully solve the hammer. If you haven’t yet installed an air chamber, you should consider installing it with the help of a professional plumbing service.

9. Reduce Excessive Water Pressure

In case you don’t have a valve for reducing the water pressure, you can ask the municipality controlling the community water system to check the water pressure at home. The pressure in the water lines of the municipal water system is often maintained at around 200 PSI.

However, residential lines cannot safely accommodate the pressure. Note that the municipality would usually conduct the check-up for free and can also reduce the pressure if deemed necessary.

Bringing Your Water Hammer To A Stop!

We hope that now you’ll have a better understanding of how to go about fixing a water hammer at home. Just keep calm and check the various spots we’ve mentioned in the guide to ascertain the existence of a water hammer at your home.

However, if the problem still persists after you’ve tried the solutions we’ve talked about, it’s time to contact a plumbing service.

But before we wind up, here’s a small tip for you to follow to ensure a sound plumbing system. Although many homeowners tend to overlook this factor, we’d strongly recommend getting the plumbing system checked on a regular basis is absolutely essential.

That’s it for today. Till next time, take care!