Is Water Hammer Affecting Your Plumbing?
As the name implies, water hammer is a knocking or hammering noise emanating from your plumbing, specifically the water supply lines. The phenomenon occurs when water flowing through the pipes is abruptly shut off at the valve.
The interrupted flow discharges a miniature shockwave of energy backwards through the pipes, causing them to rattle or “hammer” against the structural frame of the house where supply pipes are typically routed, often attached to studs with metal brackets. The faster the valve shuts, the more conspicuous the problem. That’s why water hammer is more often heard when electric solenoid-operated valves such as those on a washing machine or dishwasher close almost instantly. Hand-operated screw-type faucets close more slowly and tend to generate less hammering.
Water hammer is more than a noisy annoyance. It can be destructive to household plumbing, also, as the continuous banging impact works soldered joints loose and causes leakage. Here are some ways to deal with the issue:
- First, have a qualified plumber check your household water pressure. It should be in the range of 40 to 50 psi and never more than 60. Higher water pressure tends to exacerbate water hammer issues. High pressure may be due to a maladjusted or defective water regulator valve located at the water meter. This can be repaired of replaced by a plumber.
- The standard fix for persistent hammering is installation of a water hammer arrestor in the affected pipe. It’s a job for a professional plumber who will cut a section of the water supply line and install the arrestor, which incorporates a short section of air-filled pipe and a piston. The piston acts as a form of shock absorber to dampen the backwards energy of water in the line when a valve is shut, smoothing the flow and eliminating the rattling and banging.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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