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What is Water Hammer and How to Make it Stop

Steve Carrell bemoaned of “loud noises!” playing the part Brick Tamland in Anchorman Ron Burgundy. It’s one of the most oft quoted lines from that movie – not just because it’s funny, but because we all hate loud noises.

Take water hammer, for example. It’s the sound you hear when you open a tap and the water pipe it connects to begins to shudder or bang repeatedly. Water hammer is the common term for hydraulic shock, something that can be far more than annoying as, if left unchecked, it can cause your pipes to shift and ultimately crack and leak.

How does water hammer occur? When flowing water is suddenly forced to stop or even change direction, due to the momentum change, pressure is generated. That wave in pressure moves back and forth through the pipe until it’s used up all its energy on weak spots inside the pipe line.

If there’s a “good news” angle to water hammer, it’s this: the loud banging noise, as obnoxious as it might be, at least allows you the opportunity to seek professional help before things get any worse. By contrast, water hammer also can be silent, thus creating the possibility that your pipes can be damaged without any warning.

There are numerous potential causes of water hammer, including high water pressure and having the wrong size pipe for one of your taps.

More to the point, should you hear what sounds like water hammer, turn off that tap and then turn on the one that’s highest above ground level in an effort to relieve the excess pressure. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a licensed and experienced plumber.

Throughout the Shire of Kalamunda, Kalamunda Plumbing Group began assisting home owners with their plumbing issues in 1954. Today, our third-generation family run business is still going strong, and with a world of experience to our credit. When you want the job done right the first time, don’t take chances. Contact Kalamunda Plumbing Group.