What is a Water Hammer?
Understanding what a water hammer is will be the first step in solving the problem of banging pipes. The simple explanation of this phenomenon is the backpressure of water caused by a sudden stop, or change of direction, of the movement of the fluid. These shockwaves are characterized by a loud banging or knocking from the pipes.
Dangers of Water Hammers
If the noisy water pipes are not enough to drive a person crazy, the damage a water hammer can cause will. The best option when this issue arises is to immediately call a professional plumber who has dealt with the problem before. The damage caused by water hammers can be extensive, and the longer it’s ignored, the more damage they will do, and the repair bills will be substantially more. Dangers of water hammers include:
- Damage to water pumps – The shockwaves caused by the sudden stop or change of water flow can cause serious damage to the inner workings of the pump. If the pump is damaged and stops working, no water will be pumped into the water lines when needed. The damage means no water in the building until the pump is replaced.
- Water leaks – The joints and fittings within the plumbing system will start to spring leaks from the excessive amounts of pressure caused by water hammering issues. Water leaks in the piping can cause lowered amounts of water pressure, water damage, and excessive water usage and require damaged joints and fittings to be replaced.
- Broken or Burst Pipes – When the water hammers are repetitive and intense, ruptured pipes can occur. This can cause significant damage, especially if it's not noticed right away. The break in the plumbing system will cause a complete drop in water pressure, cause severe water damage, and waste water and money.
Solutions For Water Hammer Problems
The sooner a plumber is called for water hammers, the better. The first thing that a professional will do is locate and diagnose the cause of the banging pipes. Plumbers will be able to diagnose the problem with a few simple tests. Depending on the issue that causes the water hammer, solutions can include:
- Replace Valve – To fix water hammers, plumbers may need to replace valves used during the plumbing system's original installation. The common style installed will depend on gravity to open and close. The best solution will be to have a spring-driven check valve installed, which creates a smooth, soft closing of the valve.
- System Flush – If lucky, the only problem may be that the system has some dirt or debris inside pipes or possibly some air bubbles caused by the sudden back-shift of water flow. A qualified professional can completely flush the system, basically resetting the flow to the original amounts that the system was designed for.
- Installing Pressure Regulators – The plumbing professional may decide that the problem lies in the main water lines coming into the building. Installing a pressure regulator in that line will control the flow of water coming in, which will prevent water hammering by reducing the amount and pressure of water.
- Air Chambers – Plumbing vents are commonly installed on a plumbing system to help prevent water hammer problems. If the system in the building is old and does not have an air chamber installed, it would be a good time to do so. If one is present, the professional will check to ensure it is working properly and repair it if not.
About KC's 23 ½ Hour Plumbing & Air Conditioning
KC's 23 ½ Hour Plumbing & Air Conditioning has over four decades of experience serving Palm Springs, CA, and the surrounding areas. They offer flat rate pricing, financing, and a membership plan with many perks. Call them today for plumbing services in Palm Springs, CA.