“Water hammer” may invoke a lot of images to those folks not familiar with the term. Before you let your imagination run wild, water hammer is actually quite literal. It occurs when water in plumbing pipes is shut off abruptly, and the water still moving through those pipes is forced to come to a sudden halt. When it does, it creates a tiny shock wave that sounds much like a hammer clanging on the pipe. Never heard water hammer in your home before? That’s because most modern plumbing has air chambers installed throughout the lines of piping. When working properly, these chambers soften the effects of shock waves from stopping water, and thus soften the hammer itself. However, air chambers can fail due to clogs from sediment and mineral buildup, and for other reasons. When this occurs, you’ll definitely notice the loud knocks of water hammer. Thankfully, Mister Quik has a few tips for preventing water hammer, and for unclogging air chambers if the hammer ever strikes your home.
Stopping water hammer
If you experience water hammer in your plumbing, often the easiest way to fix it is to isolate the air chamber nearest the hammer noise. Shut off the water at that specific chamber, and open its faucet. As excess water drains out, air will refill the chamber and pressures will return to normal. For air chambers below hammered faucets, you may need to drain your entire plumbing system so that air can build back up inside the chamber.
Cleaning air chamber clogs
Minerals and other debris can accumulate inside air chambers over time. Inspect a chamber by unscrewing its cap and looking for any buildup. Clean out the sediment and screw the cap back on.
What else can I do?
Older homes that still have their original plumbing may not have air chambers installed, and water hammer will be a more common occurrence. It should not be ignored, because water hammer can cause significant plumbing damage over time, including burst pipes, etc. Air chambers can be installed, and other solutions like securing pipes to a home’s framing, installing pressure reducing valves, and/or replacing plumbing lines do exist, but these projects may be better suited for a professional like Mister Quik. Still struggling with water hammer? Don’t let it give you a headache. Call the plumbing pros at Mister Quik and we’ll help you find a fix. We offer no-obligation, in-home service estimates, and our flat-rate pricing means you always approve the cost of our plumbing jobs before we even begin. Whether your home is historic or brand new, our plumbers are here to help. Contact us today to learn more!