Typically, the water pipes in your plumbing system should operate very quietly. However, if you’re noticing excessively noisy plumbing pipes within your home, the issue you might be facing is known as water hammer.
Water hammer creates a loud hammering, clanging or banging noise when water faucets and valves are abruptly shut off. A quick closing of water flow in dishwashers, clothes washing machines, toilets, and even bathroom and sink faucets, can cause water hammer. This phenomenon occurs because the quick and abrupt stopping of water flow in your plumbing pipes can create shock waves that travel back through the pipe system. These shock waves cause your pipes to vibrate and create the hammering sound. More severe levels of water hammer can be so loud and strong that they shake the entire home. Water hammer can even damage pipes, in some scenarios.
There are three main factors that combine to cause water hammer’s noisy plumbing pipes:
- Length of pipes: Water pipes that are longer and larger in diameter, and which carry a high flow rate of water, can contribute more to water hammer than shorter, smaller-diameter pipes.
- Time: The speed at which the water flow stops influences whether water hammer occurs. Water hammer happens when water flow is shut off abruptly. If your faucets or appliances reduce water flow gradually, coming to a gentle stop, water hammer is less likely to happen.
- Water velocity: The faster that water travels through your pipes, the more significant will be the effects of water hammer.
You can reduce the problems of water hammer and noisy plumbing pipes by installing a water-hammer arrestor within the pipe network. These devices contain an air-filled chamber that absorbs the shock waves from abrupt water shut-off, and which prevent the shock from being sent back through your pipe system. A pressure tank, such as those used in rural homes for pulling water out of wells, also is an effective solution to water-hammer problems.
Roth Heating & Cooling has provided more than 36 years of reliable HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) sales, maintenance, and repair for customers in Portland and the surrounding Oregon communities. Contact us today for information on noising plumbing pipes, water-hammer symptoms, and what you can do to solve this noisy nuisance.