What is water hammer? How do I fix it?

If you have experienced loud banging noises from your plumbing pipework when taps and valves are switched off, it’s likely you have a problem with ‘water hammer’. There are many good reasons for attending to this issue and getting it fixed as soon as you can. For instance, if the problem isn’t addressed you could face big long-term problems with your pipes and plumbing systems.

Pipes shouldn’t make loud noises

Some people wrongly assume it’s normal for their pipes to make loud noises. Your pipes should not be making noises, so it’s best to get a professional on the case as soon as you can if you have started to hear them. In the vast majority of cases, loud banging pipes are caused by water hammer.

More about water hammer

Water hammer is the sound you might hear from your pipes when moving water within them comes to a grinding halt. This can cause your whole system to start shaking. When water gets to the exit point of your pipes but its path is blocked, it slams into the area. Water hammer can begin as an irritation but become much more serious if it is left untreated. Over time, it can seriously weaken your system and cause holes and cracks to appear.

How air chambers can help

Many modern systems have air chambers that can prevent water hammer. They are located by the valves and perform the role of cushions. When taps are switched off air softens the impact of the water to reduce noise. You may still experience water hammer if your air chambers have begun to fail. Water can replace the air in the chambers over time so the cushion is removed and water can again crash into blockages. However, the air in the chambers can be replenished.

Should I carry out the work myself?

If you have little or no experience in this area, it’s always best to consult a professional who can carry out the job effectively and safely. The plumber will turn off the water supply coming into your home then drain the remaining water from the pipework system. The air replenishment process can then begin.  Sometimes, air is removed by limescale and other residues. In these situations, the part can be cleaned out.

Is high water pressure causing water hammer?

You may find that replenishing your chambers doesn’t solve the issue. Also, some people’s systems are so old that they do not have chambers. Water hammer can also be caused by high water pressure. Lowering your water pressure will reduce the speed that your water passes through your pipes. You may be able to reduce your water pressure through your boiler. If you cannot do this, you may wish to look at solutions like a water hammer arrestor, which gives water somewhere to go other than your closed valve.

Let Ability help with water hammer

Talk to Ability today if you need help with water hammer. You can reach us by completing the form on the site, by calling us on 0800 889015 or by sending a message to info@ability.uk.com.

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