That sound of banging pipes is known as Water Hammer. Water hammer occurs when the flow of water is suddenly shut off by a faucet, washing machine, toilet, dishwasher or another water-using appliance. Let’s look inside the pipes to see what’s going on. When a valve or faucet is open, water begins to flow. When the valve is quickly closed, the stream of water slams into the valve at up to eight times the normal water pressure, creating a shockwave inside the pipe. That’s what creates the banging or hammering sound.
Water hammer can be hard on pipes, weakening the connections and causing leaks. Water hammer can also be hard on your water heater, washing machine, and other appliances.
How is water hammer avoided? Plumbing lines have air chambers that act as shock absorbers when the water is quickly shut off. Air chambers soften the blow preventing water hammer, be aware though that air chambers can fail. This happens when the excess pressure in the pipes fills the air chambers with water, then when the water is shut off, it has no place to go. The result is that annoying water hammer effect. If you have water hammer, there’s something simple you can try. Turn off the main water valve for your home and open all of the faucets throughout your house to drain the lines. Once water stops flowing from the faucets, close the faucets and turn the water back on. This puts air back in the lines and may solve the problem.
If this doesn’t fix the problem, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you out.