Everything You Need to Know About Water Hammer

Many people dismiss water hammer as a common occurrence and do nothing about it. In actuality, water hammer is more than a loud, annoying banging noise; it’s an indicator of a serious plumbing problem. Here your local plumbers and AC repair contractors at McLay Services Inc. share an in-depth look at water hammer and why you shouldn’t ignore it.

What Is Water Hammer?

Plumbing systems in the average home have a significant amount of water pressure, which is necessary to drive water to various points in the house. Most homeowners quickly turn faucets and water-using appliances off and on off without even thinking about it, then go about the rest of their day not giving those water fixtures a second thought.

However, in some cases you might hear a loud banging sound after a water fixture is turned off somewhere in the house. This is called water hammer. It happens when high water pressure that’s abruptly cut off has nowhere to go. The remaining length of the pipe usually takes the full brunt of this unreleased pressure, resulting in a hammering motion that causes the loud banging noise.

How to Address Water Hammer

If you have water hammer in your plumbing system, you shouldn’t ignore it. Strong vibrations in the pipes can cause the same damage as hitting it with an actual hammer. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to keep up with plumbing and HVAC technology trends to find a solution. One or more of the following fixes may be all that you need:

Correcting Plumbing Installation Errors — A common error among inexperienced plumbers is installing 90-degree turns in the plumbing at critical points. A car needing to make that kind of turn needs to change gears and slow down; water moving at high pressure doesn’t have that option. In such cases, parts of the plumbing may have to be replaced.

Reduce Water Pressure — Sometimes the water pressure may be too high. This is usually the case when you use any fixture in the house and the same thing happens.

Install a Water Hammer Arrester — If water hammer only happens when a particular fixture or appliance turns off, then it needs a water hammer arrester (also known as an in-line water surge arrester). It can be inserted into existing plumbing, which basically adds an air pocket that releases water pressure during a surge.

Call McLay for Your Plumbing Needs

When you have water hammer problems or need a new surge protector for an AC unit, call McLay at (909) 392-2202. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in La Verne, CA, and nearby areas.

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