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Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Blog

“Should I be Concerned about Water Hammer?”

woman-covering-her-earsFirst, it’d probably be helpful for you to know what water hammer is, so we can appropriately answer this question. It sounds ominous, but it describes a sound—a sound that resembles knocking, coming from inside your pipes. You may have heard it before and had no idea what the cause of the noise was.

Water hammer isn’t an emergency, but it is something to be concerned about in the sense that you want to have it addressed by a professional ASAP. To find out why it’s occurring and the problems it presents, keep reading!

Why You Are Hearing Water Hammer

The source of water hammer is “shockwaves” so to speak, resulting from the sudden stopping of water moving fast throughout your plumbing pipes. When a tap shuts off anywhere along your plumbing system, it cuts off the flow of water, essentially creating this shockwave.

You don’t typically hear it because your plumbing system is designed to have air cushions in it that absorbs the force. When water hammer happens, it means something is preventing the air cushions from forming.

This can be the result of poor installation of the plumbing to begin with. If you’ve noticed water hammer from the time you first moved into your home or had new plumbing installed, this is likely the cause. But if the problem has only developed recently after years of having no problems, then what may have happened is that the air chambers became water-logged. This requires them to be restored.

Another potential cause is that a buildup of limescale has occurred due to hard water—water with increased magnesium, calcium, and iron levels. This limescale stops the air chambers from draining correctly, and the longer this goes on and limescale develops, the more likely it is you’ll face water hammer problems. This problem can be prevented with a whole-house water softener, which you should definitely talk to our team about as water softeners have a host of benefits!

The Water Hammer Problem

So, why is water hammer a problem? Sure, you don’t like to hear a thud when you shut off the shower or kitchen sink—but is a loud noise really that dangerous? No, a sound is of course not dangerous—but what it represents can definitely have a heavy negative influence on your pipes.

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 can even cause pipes to burst. If you hear rattling sounds along with the water hammer, it likely means you have pipes coming loose.

There is something fortunate about water hammer though—the sound serves as a warning. So if you think you hear your pipes knocking, simply give us a call and we’ll have the problem remedied for you ASAP!

For expert Evanston, IL plumbing service, installations, or maintenance contact Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Our knowledgeable plumbers serve the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Rely on Reliance!

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