The Noises From Behind the Wall Aren't Ghosts, But a Water Hammer

Water Hammer Haunting the House This Halloween?

Halloween is the time of chills and scares. People often like to be startled by people in costumes or jumpscares in movies, but rarely like to be startled in their own home when they turn off the sink or the washing machine shuts off.  

When a homeowner hears bangs and rattles that are unexpected, it can be discomfiting. While it’s not an indication of supernatural activity, it does indicate something that can be a problem for a plumbing system, a water hammer.  

Defining Water Hammer

Water hammer or hydraulic shock is the banging sound that comes from the vibration of pipes due to water hitting against a quickly closed valve. When water flows through the line to a faucet, there is force behind that water. If the valve closes too quickly, that energy is trapped and can only be expended through the pipes and the walls, thus, a vibration occurs. 

Water hammers occur most often with appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. It can be a benign occurrence of noisy pipes, but it can also be damaging not only to the water pipes, but to the building structure that contains them.

The Dangers of Water Hammer

waterThough noisy water pipes are certainly annoying, hydraulic shock is a bit more than a minor annoyance, especially if the banging pipes are happening more and more often. The problem arises from the force behind the water hammer that causes things that are meant to stay in place to move. 

Pipes and wall supports are meant to be solid structures. Movement within them can cause damage and loosening of connections. If a household is experiencing particularly loud water hammer, the following problems can result from that repeated banging:

  • Pipe connections become loose
  • Pipe corrosion
  • Pipe breakage
  • Water leaks
  • Structural damage due to water
  • Electrical shock hazards from leaks
  • Mold and mildew

Fixing Water Hammer: What the Pros Do

plumberIf a homeowner has a concern about the pipes that go bump in the walls, they should enlist the help of a qualified professional. There are several steps that can be taken, but the work should be done by a plumber or plumbing technician. Here are a few of the changes that can be made to reduce the occurrence of water hammers:

  • Securing Pipes: If the pipes are properly secured, hydraulic shock will be less likely to cause loosening or damage.
  • Checking/Replacing Valves: If one particular faucet or appliance seems to be primarily responsible for the water hammer in the house, then a professional may check that valve for issues and replace it if necessary.
  • Air Chambers: These are capped extensions of water pipes near a valve that allow water to flow back into them, expending some of the energy and reducing the vibration on the pipes.
  • Water Hammer Arrestor: Like the air chambers, the water hammer arrestor also has an air-filled chamber into which water can flow. It improves upon the air chamber by adding a flexible membrane that helps slow the water down.

About West Plumbing LLC

The award-winning West Plumbing LLC has served the community of Chandler, AZ, and the greater Phoenix area since 2014. They offer flat rate pricing, financing, and always on-time service. Call them today for plumbing services in Chandler, AZ, and the surrounding areas.