What exactly is a water hammer?

Every household comes with its own share of noises. There’s the click of the thermostat, the spinning of the washing machine, the hum of the heating system. These sounds can become almost comforting. Well, there’s also some sounds that are a little less comforting. Like the sudden, shockingly large BANG from your plumbing system. This is called a water hammer. Let’s talk about that one.

What Is a Water Hammer?
Water hammer occurs when a pipe flexes to absorb the force of stopping water, usually due to a sudden change in pressure. The sound you’re hearing comes from the shockwave created by the force of the vibrating wave sent off by the water, which may cause the pipe to warp or else rattle and bang against its holders or the wall.

There are all sorts of potential causes for water hammers – some immediately troubling, some a little less so. You may have a clog or sediment build-up somewhere in your pipes, for instance. You could simply have an insufficient amount of air “cushioning” your system. Or it may just be that your pipes are too old or are fitted together incorrectly.

Fixing a Water Hammer
No matter what the issues is, you want to have a professional come out sooner rather than later. Sometimes all it takes is adding some shock absorbers around affected pipes. Or maybe a inserting a pressure relief valve could do the trick.

The issue is – there are a number of ways to fix a water hammer. Some are simple, while others may include a little more work. No matter what, the longer you wait the bigger the problem can become.

The Potential Costs of an Untreated Water Hammer
In addition to keeping you awake and annoyed with all the banging and thudding, a water hammer, if left untreated, could lead to serious trouble for your home.

You see, the prolonged, repetitive force of a water hammer can lead to your pipes bursting, collapsing, imploding or potentially breaking free of their fittings. In short, it’s not good news for your home. Give Dauenhauer a call. We’ll put your water hammer to bed.

Have questions about mysterious banging pipes? No problem. Simply call your Lexington Dauenhauer, any hour.