How to Solve Water Hammer This Halloween
Everyone remembers being a kid laying in bed at night and hearing the creepy noises that the house makes. As an adult, people lay in bed listening to those noises with new fears. Instead of those noises being caused by ghosts and ghouls, those noises can be signs that something is wrong with the home, and the prospect of paying for repairs can be the spookiest of all.
One common noise for homeowners to hear and dread is a water hammer, which is the plumbing pipes making banging sounds behind the walls. Here is a quick guide to understanding what a water hammer is, why it is dangerous, and what experts can do to make it disappear.
What Is a Water Hammer?
In short, a water hammer is a shockwave that pulses through the plumbing system any time the velocity of water changes quickly. In the perfect plumbing system, valves open and close slowly enough, allowing water to gently accelerate and decelerate as it flows through piping. When valves open or close too fast, this change or stop in motion can cause the pipes to make audible banging noises that rattle and reverberate throughout the house.
Water hammer often occurs when appliances close their automatic valves too fast. Special devices called water hammer arrestors can help absorb the impact from water hammers, but sometimes they are defective or wear out and allow water hammers to happen around the home.
What Trouble Does a Water Hammer Cause?
Apart from being a nuisance, water hammer can cause real damage around the home. As water hammer repeatedly occurs, the straps holding the piping can loosen and allow pipes to start moving slightly. Eventually, the repeated stress of vibrations can cause lines to fail. When that happens, leaks or burst pipes can occur and cause high water bills and massive water damage to the home.
Water hammer is the worst in metal pipes because they more efficiently transfer the shockwave of water hammer, jarring pipes and causing wear at joints. Modern plastics like PVC absorb the shock more effectively, but repeated vibration can still cause PVC to break. The flexibility of PEX piping makes it the most durable in the case of water hammer.
Professional Fixes for Water Hammers
When a water hammer is found in the home, the first step professionals will take is to address existing water hammer arrestors. These can be easily replaced so that pipes will be protected, or ones can be installed if not present. Houses may also have air chambers to absorb the shockwaves from the water hammer, but they become ineffective if waterlogged, so they may have to be drained.
Additionally, the piping may need new straps to hold them in place, or existing pipes may need to be tightened if the water hammer results from loose straps. When homeowners hear banging pipes, they should immediately call a plumber to prevent lines damaged by water hammers from cracking and flooding the home.
About Pride Plumbing
Pride Plumbing has more than 55 years of expertise serving Mt. Gilead and the surrounding areas. They offer upfront pricing, 24/7 live help, and on-time service. Call them today for plumbing services in Mt. Gilead, NC.