how to stop water hammer

How to Stop Water Hammer in 7 Different Ways

When you use your kitchen tap for a refreshing glass of water, you expect a mild 'whoosh' sound from those pipes. But what if the noise you hear is more like a jackhammer? If you've ever spent time in an old house, you'll know all about the water hammer phenomenon, and cringe about the damage it might be doing to your pipes.

What causes water hammer?

Your pipes can start sounding like an angry garage band for a number of reasons, but you'll most typically get water hammer when a tap or appliance is being turned off.

The most common explanation is quite simple: as that flow of water is suddenly halted, all that energy becomes a dramatic clash of pipes that can gain momentum and turn into a techno song, but you're definitely not in the mood to dance. Instead, you're thinking 'What sort of damage is this doing?!'

But enough with the explanations, because let's face it: you're here because you want to know how to stop water hammer before it hammers your plumbing to bits! And seeking a water hammer fix is a very wise move, because your instinct about water hammer risking damage, loose joints and water leaks are correct.

Hot to stop water hammer - 7 handy tips

So rather than dismiss water hammer as your home's unique personality, let's look into some practical water hammer solutions:

1. Is it air pockets?

Is what you're hearing really typical water hammer? Another common problem is the phenomenon of air pockets in your pipes - and there is a simple water hammer fix for this. Walk out to your meter and find the nearest tap, and turn it on. Now, keep finding the next nearest tap and turn that on too, until every tap in your house is on. Now, turn them all off in reverse order.

2. Half close your valves

This may not be among the permanent water hammer solutions, but it certainly will minimise the damage for now. Especially if it's your dishwasher or washing machine that is causing the water hammer, turn the intake valves on these appliances on only halfway. Another water hammer fix for these appliances is to install wider hoses on the intake connections.

3. Use water hammer arresters

This small and nifty device works by soaking up the pressure in your pipes by compressing the air - and you'll get plenty of change from a $100 note!

4. Secure the pipe

If all that bang, bang, banging always comes from one offending pipe, and it's accessible and loose, why not try securing it to something solid?

5. Try a pressure-limiting valve

What causes water hammer? Quite often, it's because the water pressure at your place is so high. If that's the case, ask your friendly local plumber about a pressure-limiting valve, which is installed at the meter.

6. Avoid mixer taps

Very often, plumbers asked about water hammer in old homes will notice that modern mixer taps that shut off the flow almost instantly are installed. Replacing them with taps that turn off the water more slowly can be the water hammer fix.

7. Call your plumber!

What causes water hammer? The truth is, as the cause of your water hammer problem might be unique and complex, the answer to that question may require the presence at your place of an experienced plumber.

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