What Is Water Hammer and Why Should You Care About It?

What Is Water Hammer and Why Should You Care About It

Water hammer is a noisy pipe issue you can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore. If you’ve heard rattling, clanging, or rumbling after turning off a plumbing fixture, then you’ve experienced this annoying phenomenon. More than just a simple nuisance, it can lead to major leakage.


Any McLay plumbing expert would say that it could happen whenever there’s a sudden change in the velocity of the water in the piping system. Imagine water flowing at 100 mph, and then hitting a “wall” when the valve closes. The abrupt fluctuation in the momentum of water would occur as a shock wave.

If you’ve only dealt with it recently, any water pressure regulator adjustment or powerful water pump upgrade could lead to an increased rate of water flow. It could also occur when the straps supporting the mounted pipes loosen. In turn, expect greater pipe movement.

In some cases, water hammer also occurs at water flow rates of low-velocity . If you have a timer-operated watering irrigation system, you might still hear it even when nobody’s taking a shower or using the faucet.


Chronic water hammer would eventually take its toll on your pipework. High-velocity water flow rates in themselves can accelerate the deterioration of the pipe’s interior. When there’s a sudden change in direction, the pressure can become stronger than the normal operating pressure, causing the pipes to burst.


Fortunately, any reputable plumbing company would attest that there are many solutions to this annoying problem. When you hear your pipes cry for help, retrofitting air chambers can keep the water from generating waves traveling through pipework.

If you don’t want to install multiple air chambers, a pressure-reducing valve is a viable alternative. In areas where air chambers are impractical, use mechanical water arrestors instead to reduce water movement.

Turn to an Expert in McLay Plumbing in San Dimas to Quiet Water Hammer for Good

McLay plumbing specialists deal with water hammer on a regular basis. We can custom-tailor a solution that makes sense to your unique situation. Call McLay Services, Inc. at (909) 392-2202 or fill out this form to discuss your plumbing needs.