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Is a Water Hammer Haunting Your House This Halloween?

Woman holding pillow over her head to block noise

Is There a Scary Banging Sound From Behind the Walls?

As kids, it’s easy to lie in bed at night and get scared by all the noise a house makes. People may think that kids grow out of that, but the noises are usually scarier as adults spend sleepless nights worrying about the source of the noise. These noises are frightening for adults because they are harbingers of big repair bills.  

A water hammer is a noise heard around the house that can give homeowners the creeps. Water hammers can mean serious problems. Here is a quick guide to water hammers to help homeowners understand the dangers and how they are fixed. Hopefully, some knowledge can allow homeowners to react and call professionals to fix it before damage occurs to instill peace of mind!

Learning About Water Hammers 

It can be hard to visualize water hammers because nobody ever thinks about what is happening inside a pipe carrying water. But, the inside of pipes are like railways, and the water is a continuous line of train cars. When something blocks the tracks faster than the train can stop, all the cars ram into the one in front of them. The resulting shockwave from the water slamming into a valve causes pipes to shake and rattle, making a noise like a pipe was hit with a hammer. 

Water hammers are usually caused by appliances that use water. However, even faucets can cause a water hammer in homes with older plumbing. It all depends on how fast the flow of water is stopped. The reason appliances are more often to blame is that they have valves that shut faster. 

Dangers of Water Hammers 

water The water hammer itself isn’t terribly dangerous. Noise is a standard feature of physics. The real danger is what happens to the pipes when they are hit by the pressure wave of water stopping so quickly. 

The energy that comes from the water hammer has to dissipate somewhere. Usually, it dissipates by causing pipes to rattle. Too much rattling over time can cause pipes to pull loose from the straps that keep them anchored to studs in the wall. Unanchored lines can move even more, so the process accelerates, and eventually, a burst pipe is a likely result. 

Water Hammer Repairs 

plumber When homeowners suspect a water hammer due to a banging sound, they should reach out to a qualified professional. Since water hammer is a common problem, most homes have devices to prevent the damage they can cause. These devices are usually some type of air cushion that allows pressure to dissipate on an air pocket instead of rattling pipes. When a water hammer becomes apparent in a home, the first thing a plumber will want to do is check these devices and replace them. 

After ensuring safety devices are in place, plumbers will inspect pipes for loose straps. When found, they will resecure piping to ensure that it doesn't rattle when in use. When lines are secured, and the water hammer is dampened, homeowners don’t need to worry about burst pipes from the water hammer. 

About Towers Plumbing

Towers Plumbing has over 75 years of experience serving Murray, UT residents, and the surrounding areas. They offer hassle-free service, 24-hour emergency repairs, and a service club with many perks. Call them today for plumbing services in Murray, UT.