We've all heard it before - that loud, repetitive clattering noise in the walls when you open the faucet. Known as water hammering, this issue is usually caused by high water pressure or loose mounting straps.
How Water Hammering Happens
When high-pressured water moves fast through a narrow pipe, and suddenly, instead of an escape point, reaches a closed valve, it has nowhere to go. The water comes to an abrupt halt, causing a thudding noise that often reverberates through the entire house. It may not seem like a serious issue (unless you count the annoyance factor!) but it can actually cause quite a bit of damage to your pipe connections and joints. We have seen faucets pop out as the result of high water pressure.
1. Fill the Air Chambers
Air chambers, which are installed in most homes, usually run vertically inside the walls, particularly in critical areas, such as where water-using appliances are installed. Air chambers help to cushion the water, preventing it from slamming against the pipe, therefore, the quickest way to eliminate water happening, is to replenish the air in the air chambers. Here's how:
1. As with any other plumbing project, be sure to shut off your water mains.
2. Turn on the highest faucet in your home, as this will cause air to replace the water inside the pipes.
3. Also turn on the lowest faucet, which is usually in the basement, or on the first floor.
4. Once all the water is drained from the pipes, you can turn off the low faucet and reopen the water mains. Air will be pushed out of the horizontal water lines and the open verticals, and there will be sputtering. However, the air in the chambers will alleviate water hammering.
2. Adjust Water Pressure
If your water pressure is too high, you will hear that annoying water hammering sound whenever you open the faucets. However, wastage is not the only problem; it can also damage your water-using appliances.
Did you know? If your water pressure exceeds 100 psi, most of your appliance warranties are voided.
Use a water-pressure regulator. Most homes have one mounted right where the water main supply line enters the home. If you don't have one, it would be wise to call Anta Plumbing to install one for you, unless you are an expert DIYer specializing in plumbing.
Whether or not you have a water pressure regulator, it is important to have the pressure tested. You can do it with a hose bib or a water pressure gauge. Ideally, the pressure should range between 30-55 psi. You can adjust your pressure using a wrench or screwdriver.
3. Tighten Loose Mounting Straps
One of the most common reasons for water hammering, is loose mounting straps, which could be made from vinyl-coated nail-in hooks, or metal plumber's tape. If straps are loose, it gives the pipe room to vibrate freely against the framing when the faucets are opened and closed. Also ensure that all pipes are tightly connected.
Expert Tip: Don't use galvanized straps or plumber's tape on copper pipes, as the metals will react and result in leaks.
If you're unable to resolve a water hammering issue, please don't hesitate to contact Anta Plumbing. We are specialist Toronto plumbers with plenty experience in dealing with water hammering issues.
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