If you live in an older home, or a home where renovations were made by an amateur plumber, you may occasionally hear a loud banging sound after the water intake from a faucet, washing machine or dishwasher is shut off.
This condition is known as water hammer or, more technically, hydraulic shock.
It typically happens when the water in a plumbing pipe abruptly stops moving, triggering shockwaves that cause the pipes to bang against each other and nearby floor joists. If left unchecked, water hammer can damage the affected pipes and ultimately cause leaks to occur in your plumbing system. The good news is, there are a few ways that water hammer can be effectively managed and mitigated to stop the banging noise and prevent damage to plumbing pipes.
In some cases, loose pipes can simply be secured with pipe hangers and foam pipe insulation to prevent them from banging against floor joists. This is often an easy fix to make in unfinished basements where exposed pipes are readily accessible.
In situations where the water hammer is more pronounced or pipes are hidden behind walls, you may want to consider installing water shock arrestors instead. These simple devices consist of a sealed chamber with a piston that provides a cushion of air to absorb the shockwaves that cause water hammer. You can often find them on the supply lines that lead to washing machines and dishwashers.
If the water hammer problem is especially severe and widespread, it could be because the water pressure from the main water pipe in your home is too high. In these cases, a water pressure regulator can be installed where the main water line comes into the home, just past the main shut off valve. Water pressure regulators use an adjustable spring-loaded diaphragm to control the water pressure entering your home, thereby reducing the effect of water hammer.
At Center Grove Real Estate Inspections, we can conduct a thorough residential inspection to identify potential plumbing issues before you commit to buying a new home. To learn more, feel free to give us a call or contact us online today!