Water Hammer: What is it & What Can You Do About it?

Water hammer is a common plumbing issue that many homeowners will experience at some point. Here’s how to identify it and what to do about it.

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What is Water Hammer?

If you hear loud banging coming from your pipes when you run your shower, washing machine, or other appliances, that’s called “water hammer.” Water hammer occurs when an intense surge in pressure causes water to slam into the inside of your pipes, causing the pipes to vibrate and hit against each other and/or the wall. This causes a loud banging noise and you may also feel the wall vibrating in some cases. 

Is Water Hammer Bad?

In addition to causing a disruptive noise, water hammer can actually lead to a number of different kinds of damage. When left unchecked, water hammer can cause:

If you notice water hammer in your home, don’t ignore it. You can often get rid of water hammer with the following simple strategies. Try these techniques on your own first and if those don’t work, call a plumber.

How to Fix Water Hammer

Use Insulation to Cushion Pipes

Attaching foam insulation to the outside of pipes can get rid of water hammer in some cases because it provides a cushion so that when the pipes vibrate, the insulation absorbs the shock and keeps the pipes from banging into one another loudly. 

Install Mechanical Shock Absorbers

Mechanical shock absorbers are small devices that provide an air cushion to absorb the momentum of water hammer and stop it in its tracks. Mechanical shock absorbers are inexpensive, available at any local hardware store, and simple to install yourself.

If these quick at-home fixes don’t solve the problem, the issue is outside of the DIY scope and you will need to hire a professional plumber to address the problem. Your plumber will be able to determine the cause of your water hammer and repair the issue.

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