Every house makes some kind of noise, right? At night you can hear the floors creak and the attic moan, but when are those noises cause for alarm? If you haven’t heard it yet, here’s to hoping you don’t ever encounter this common homeowners annoyance; water hammer. Water hammer, also known as hydraulic shock, occurs when running water is abruptly shut off, creating pocket of forced water. The water rushing through the piping has nowhere to go but stay its course, so it slams against the shut off valve at full speed. The thudding noise that follows is referred to as water hammer, it is both alarming, and could cause unforeseen damage to your home!
The force of water rushing through your pipes and slamming against the shut off valve, can cause other issues in your home, such as unhinging pipes, leaks, and potentially cause for flood. Water hammer is a likely cause of the knocking of pipes in your home, whether that is into other pipes, the structure of your home (wood, brick, or concrete). Most commonly, copper piping is affected, but water hammer can be found in newer homes with alternative piping as well. Some appliances can also be the cause of water hammer, things like your dishwasher or washing machine can go from using water at full force to shutting off in a split second, causing the pipes to jerk from the sudden change in water pressure.
If you’ve heard some creaking pipes and loud banging, you likely need to have a plumber out to inspect your home. Traditionally speaking, older homes are equipped with long sections of tubing called air chambers. These are vertical pipes are kept close to your faucets and inlet valves. They are installed to absorb the shock of water when it’s suddenly shut off. Overtime, these can fill up with water, which doesn’t give the air anywhere to go. If this occurs, the air chamber is no longer effective and will need to be recharged. This happens by turning off your water supply and draining your pipes, allowing air to refill these chambers.
Water hammer leads to a whole slew of other piping issues, like pressure leaks and pipes that have become unhinged due to banging. If you’ve experienced any strange and new noises in your home, it is likely due to a hiccup in your plumbing. Call Tony’s to come out and inspect your home and potentially save money in the long run today!
At Tony's Plumbing & Heating, we offer outstanding residential and commercial plumbing and heating services in the East Twin Cities metro. With our blog, we hope to bring you useful tips and tricks for ever day life!