Is there a strange noise coming from your pipes (pinging, hitting, hammering, knocking, shaking, vibrating)? There's a good chance it's what plumbers call a water hammer and it's usually not expensive to fix.
The water comes from the water network (which usually travels under the road) that is connected to your water intake. From the entrance of water, the water travels through the pipes to the house and delivery to all fixtures.
The household water system is usually under a large amount of water pressure, when you open a water valve, for example, when you open the tap, it allows the water pressure to be released and the water to flow according to the pressure it releases.
However, when you turn off the water valve, the water pressure stops immediately and has no other place to go beyond the way it was produced.
The energy of the water pressure will travel backward, which will cause the energy bounces and, in turn, will cause the pipes to vibrate and rattle.
Most pipes are fixed or supported against an immovable object to prevent the pipes from vibrating. If your pipes make sounds, it means that they are not properly secured, this puts pressure on the joints of the pipes and will weaken over time.
Old houses do not usually have the same quality or quantity of fixings to keep pipes stable. A water hammer arrestor may be installed to help resolve this issue.
When the water is turned off, the pressure will build up and flow to the water hammer discharger which will then dissipate through a rubber diaphragm and not through the pipe.
What is the water hammer?
A water hammer is defined as a very loud noise of knocking, tapping or hammering in the water pipes that occurs when the water flow suddenly turned off as an example (the change between sprinkler zones is something that comes to mind ).
It is caused by a pressure wave that travels faster than the speed of sound through water pipes when a sudden stop in water velocity is started, or a change in the direction of water flow begins.
The reason may be the very high water pressure in a house as an example. For those situations, you can install a water hammer arrestor.
Cause of the water hammer
The main cause of the water hammer is the excessive pressure that accumulates in the pipes of the house. When the water closes, a large amount of water precipitates towards the end of the pipe.
The subsequent surge of pressure causes the noise that sounds as if someone were hitting the pipe. The effects depend to a great extent on the length of the pipe through which the water flows, since a longer pipe means that the tap stops the passage of more water.
Long runs of pipe without curves in them also increase the probability of water hammer.
Water hammer can also be caused if high water pressure is entering the house. The high water pressure can cause great damage to the pipes and even the meter associated with the system.
Other causes of noisy pipes
Although water hammer is usually the cause of noisy pipes, another cause could be that pipes are not secured. These could be pipes that are running next to each other and that clang together or strike against a stud or wall near them.
Eliminating water hammer
Water hammer is a condition that occurs in buildings where the water pipes emit a thumping sound when a tap is turned off or a loud screech is made when a tap is running. It can also happen when a washing machine is being filled.
So, is it possible to eliminate the water hammer in your home? Definitely, using one or more of the methods described below:
Copper water pipes should be secured at intervals of not less than 1.2 meters; By re-securing the pipes at more regular intervals, the pipes can not move or vibrate. By doing this, the water hammer can be substantially reduced, if not completely eliminated.
Replacing or repairing damaged or worn out washers or old faucets will at least reduce, if not rectify, water hammer problems.
Replacing toilet parts
The service or replacement of defective toilet parts will eliminate or reduce certain types of water hammers.
Changing damaged valves
Heater maintenance and replacement of defective valves or improperly rated valves will rectify or reduce water hammer.
Installing hammer arrestors
These are devices that function as a shock absorber and when placed near the source, will reduce water hammer considerably.
Installing pressure reducing valves
Valves can be installed where the water supply enters the property to reduce water pressure. By reducing the pressure, the flow velocity remains approximately the same or slightly lower, but the pressure is markedly lower.
This reduction in pressure will have a marked effect on the water hammer if it is not completely removed, at least it will be greatly reduced.
Installing plastic water pipes
When plastic pipes are installed on a property, the most common type of water hammer which is clanging and banging is not present.
What can a plumber do to help?
Water arrestors (also called air chambers) can be installed to reduce water hammer noise. These air chambers are installed essentially to create a "breath of air" that will absorb the pressure of the water when the tap is turned off.
A master can be installed on the lower main line of the house. If there are long lengths of pipe or fixtures much higher than the master, it may be necessary to install additional air chambers in isolated areas.