You turn off a faucet somewhere in your home, and then you hear a sudden and surprising knocking sound from your plumbing. Perhaps you hear it at other times as well in your house—a sound that’s almost like a ghostly bump, or someone striking the pipes of your plumbing with a hammer. The sound can make you jump, and it should—it’s a phenomenon called water hammer, and it can mean trouble for your plumbing unless you schedule service with a Rialto, CA plumber to find our why it’s occurring and how to fix it.
Why You Hear This Noise
The name water hammer sounds a bit scary, but it is a good description of the noise you hear. But nobody is smashing the outside of the pipes. Rather, the force is coming from inside the pipes.
The source of water hammer is the shockwaves from the sudden stopping of water moving fast through the pipes. When a tap shuts off anywhere in the plumbing, it cuts off the flow of water. When the water stops fast like this, it creates a shockwave. The reason you normally don’t hear any sound from this shockwave is because plumbing is designed to have air cushions in it to absorb the force. When water hammer begins to happen, it means something has affected the air cushions.
The problem with the air cushions may be due to poor installation or the plumbing. If water hammer is something you’ve heard since you first moved into your home, this is the likely cause. If the shockwave sound has developed recently, then the air chambers may be water-logged, requiring them to be restored. The pipes may also have a build-up of limescale that’s stopping the air chambers from draining correctly. The older pipes get, the more limescale build up develops, making water hammer an issue common to aging pipes.
The Problems With Water Hammer
We imagine you don’t like hearing a THUD! whenever you shut off the shower or the kitchen sink. But there are more problems with water hammer than the sound. The effect of the shockwaves can damage the pipes and knock them loose, and also damage taps, faucets, and appliances. Enough force from water hammer may even cause pipes to burst. If you hear rattling sounds along with the water hammer, it probably means pipes are coming loose.
Fortunately, water hammer serves as its own warning that it’s happening. Call a professional plumber to investigate and find out why you have water hammer. Plumbers can take a number of steps to fix the trouble: restoring air cushions, adjusting water pressure with a pressure relief valve, replacing older pipes, or installing a water softener to prevent the build-up of scale.
You can put your full trust in our expert plumbers to have your water hammer problems identified and fixed. We’ve served the Greater Riverside Area for more than 60 years, and you can reach us 24/7 for assistance.
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