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Fixing Water Hammer the Right Way

If, after using a plumbing fixture, you hear a very loud banging or clanking noise, the water pipes are having a problem and have to be fixed right away. This noise is a plumbing problem known as water hammer, and it is not only very annoying, it can also damage your plumbing if taken for granted.

Water hammer happens when water is abruptly stopped by the closing of a plumbing valve, like a tap. The energy of the water moves to the pipes, causing them to bang around. Taking away air from pipes is very helpful in alleviating the problem, and here’s how to do it right.

1. Check the water pressure of the plumbing system of your house. Switch off every water source in the property, and then stick a pressure gauge to a spigot. Switch on the spigot and write down the water pressure reading on a notebook.

2. If the pressure reading is over 60 pounds per square inch (psi), remedy the problem right away by removing the gauge and installing a pressure reducing valve at the spot where the primary water pipe makes its way into your house.

3. Check the pipes in different parts of your property for leaks and noises, beginning with pipes nearest to the water inlet. The banging and clanking sounds may be caused by the collision of two pipes due to the force created by water being shut off. At times, the braces that secure pipes to the framing loosen, allowing two or more pipes to hit each other. If those braces are screwed to the house’s framing, use a screwdriver to tighten them. If pipes still keep hitting each other even if you have already secured the braces to the framing, tie pieces of foam between pipes using zip ties.

4. After having done the above, check for hammering noises again. If banging can still be heard, air pockets may be in the pipes. To remove air from pipes, switch on as many outlets and taps as you can to raise the demand on the water supply. The water should run for some time to push all the air out, and after at least five minutes, close the taps and outlets one by one. Avoid switching them off at once or a pressure surge might happen.

5. If none of the solutions mentioned help, a water hammer arrestor may need to be installed in your plumbing system by a skilled and well-equipped plumber. This device has either a spring mechanism able to absorb the force produced when water suddenly stops flowing or an air chamber. It works like the shock absorber of a car.