Is a Water Hammer Haunting the House This Halloween?

What’s That Banging Sound From Behind the Wall?

Water hammers occur within the piping system and cause a loud knocking or rattling sound to echo through the walls. Banging pipes can be particularly startling at night.  While the problem is not unusual, it does need to be fixed sooner rather than later by a professional to prevent damage. 

Why is it Called a Water Hammer?

The technical term for a water hammer is a hydraulic shock. Because this phenomenon causes a wave of pressure to change direction suddenly, valves within the pipe slam shut. This noise generated by the shockwaves describes the “hammer” in the water hammer.  

The most common causes of water hammers are found within the plumbing system. Loose piping inside the floors and worn stop valves are often found in older houses. Newer houses, however, are not immune to the problem.

New kitchen appliances may be an issue. If the banging began right around when a new washing machine or dishwasher was installed, this could easily be the culprit. This is due to the solenoid valves that control the water supply.

Clogged air chambers blocked with residue also create noisy pipes. Minerals found in the water will eventually build along the lines and create a barrier. This barrier prevents the pressure from absorbing into the water system. The domestic shock wave from the water hammer can cause pipes to break. If noticeable vibrations come from inside the walls, it is important to call a qualified professional immediately.

Are Water Hammers Dangerous?

pipeThe pressure build-up from water hammers can damage gaskets. If this happens, pipes are likely to rupture. Even though the plumbing system is largely invisible, a burst pipe can cause major safety hazards to those nearby, like flooding, damage, and mold growth.

In addition, water hammers can also damage important parts inside the pipelines. Flow meters and pressure gauges can be ruined if this occurs. Not only is this dangerous for homeowners, but the water contamination from pipes will also cause environmental issues. 

Unlike a rodent infestation, the sound created by a water hammer is loud. As soon as noisy water pipes occur, it is crucial to call a trained technician. If a homeowner waits until the pipe bursts, it will be much more expensive to repair, and there will also be water damage to fix.

How Do Plumbers Fix Water Hammers?

professionalFixing water hammers without a qualified professional is not recommended. It’s a complex process that cannot be learned through an online video or DIY tutorial. Trained technicians are licensed to handle water pressure and are properly equipped with the right tools.

Plumbers will likely install water hammer arrestors to fix the problem permanently. While completely draining the pipes will eliminate the sound, it is only a temporary solution. Water hammer arrestors provide an air-filled space to absorb sudden water pressure.

A pipe strap is also used to fasten the supply lines to studs. Securing the pipes in place makes them less likely to bang against the wall. These straps are specifically made of a thin metal or plastic to reduce vibration. 

Not all pipe straps should be used with all piping material. Copper pipes have different requirements than steel straps and require a combination of different materials. A licensed professional understands how to fix a water hammer safely and efficiently for a long-lasting solution. 

About Rooter 66 Plumbing Inc.

Rooter 66 Plumbing Inc. is a family-owned and operated local business serving Rancho Cucamonga, CA, and the surrounding areas. They offer straightforward pricing, extended hours, and thorough communication. Call them today for plumbing services in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.