How Do I Stop Water Hammer in My House?
Have you ever heard a loud banging sound in your pipes? If it occurs shortly after shutting a faucet or the main water valve, this is most likely a plumbing issue known as water hammer.
Apart from its unpleasant sound, water hammer can break your pipes if you allow it to continue. Read on to discover how to prevent and fix this problem promptly.
- Install a Pressure Control
Water hammer occurs when there’s excessive pressure in the main pipe that takes water into your building. Ordinarily, your water pressure should not be more than 60 psi.
If your water pressure rises to 100 psi, it can damage your pipes and appliances that use water in your home. So how do you keep the pressure within a safe range?
Install a durable water pressure regulator and where possible change the main inlet valve. Remember that you will get the most effective pressure regulation when you install the valve at the point where the main inlet valve is located.
Before you decide to install a new pressure regulator, test the water pressure. You need to verify that it is higher than 60 psi. If it is, install the pressure regulator at the main supply valve and set the regulator to a pressure that is about 50 psi.
- Install Shock Arrestors
Water shock arrestors are sealed devices that have an air bladder and a spring. They slow down water movement to reduce the effects of excessive water pressure.
Mechanical shock arrestors work well in homes, commercial properties, and high-pressure applications. They may be installed into washing machine valves and utility sink faucets.
A major advantage of mechanical water arrestors is that they require minimal maintenance and they only need to be changed when their bladder or spring wears out at the end of their lifespan.
- Fix an Air Chamber
This is a simpler method of solving your air hammer problem. An air chamber is a pipe segment with a vertical section. You may install it near the valves that cause a water hammer.
An air chamber creates a small segment of air in the empty pipe which acts as a cushion for the water to bounce off when it needs a sudden change of direction.
Air chambers can be produced onsite by an experienced plumber while installing the plumbing system. This will be done with ordinary fittings and pipes. On the other hand, you may pick up an air chamber for your piping system from a home improvement store.
These commercial air chambers look like small stubs of pipe with a cap. They have a T-shape and a plumber can easily connect the short section of horizontal pipe to the main inlet pipe. The vertical capped pipe is usually about 6 inches in length.
While water is flowing through the pipe, the vertical section serves as a dead-end that traps air and helps to reduce water flow pressure. If a water valve or faucet is shut off suddenly, the air in the chamber compresses and absorbs the excess water pressure. As a result, the water flows under reduced pressure and does not cause the pipes to bang and it prevents loud noise or vibration.
It is common to see air chambers installed beside a washing machine or close to a washtub. These are areas where water hammer occurs frequently.
It is advisable to get your plumber to install air chambers at different spots on the plumbing system of a home. Some local authorities even require you to install them at strategic locations.
- Maintain Your Air Chambers
One major problem air chambers have is their need for regular maintenance. Some air chambers get filled up and they need to be drained. If an air chamber gets filled up with water it will no longer function as a pressure reducing device.
Periodic draining of the water entire plumbing system will help to restore the air in the vertical section of the device. Simply close the main water inlet valve, open the uppermost and lowest water faucets in the building and then let all the water drain out.
Once in a while, some air chambers fill up with mineral deposits or debris. When this happens, open the upper cap and scour the pipe to remove the deposits.
With these simple tips, you can ensure that you prevent or remove any water hammer from your home’s plumbing system. As with all maintenance issues, preventing water hammer is more cost-effective than fixing the problem after it occurs.