What Causes A Water Hammer? What Does Your Plumber Need To Do To Fix It? | Schertz, TX

What Causes A Water Hammer? What Does Your Plumber Need To Do To Fix It? | Schertz, TX

Do you hear any banging sound whenever you turn off the faucet at your Schertz, TX home? That phenomenon is called a water hammer and is particularly not friendly to your pipes. Therefore, you should leave no stone unturned in the efforts to ensure that your pipes aren’t prone to a water hammer.

This includes enlisting a plumber or hiring a plumbing service company to inspect the plumbing system regularly. But what is the reason behind these loud banging sounds? What causes a water hammer? Below are some of the main causes. Knowing them gives you an edge in protecting your piping system against the impacts of a water hammer.

Causes Of Water Hammer

Loose Pipes

Are your pipes secured properly? If they aren’t, then even the smallest shockwave might create loud banging sounds. Therefore, you should ensure that the pipes are properly secured when laying the plumbing system. This means you should only hire a licensed and professional plumber for all your plumbing works. The professional should securely fix the pipes to a sturdy surface every several meters.

They will also securely install and fix the pipes beneath the slab to protect them from the water hammer shock waves. However, you should also pay attention to the visible parts of the plumbing system. Check for any loose joints, straps, or bolts, and call a plumbing service provider if any of them are loose.

Solenoid Valves

Did the banging sound start after installing a dishwasher or a washing machine? Then the issue is most likely because of the solenoid valves installed on these systems. The water supply in most electrical plumbing appliances such as the dishwasher, washing machine, and garbage disposal unit is controlled by solenoid valves.

Because the solenoid valves are electrically operated, they stop the water flow immediately. Whenever this happens, the incoming water reflects into the pipe and creates a shock wave that results in a water hammer. The plumber in Schertz, TX, might install a flexible hose that attaches the water supply and the valve to absorb the shock in the piping.

Stop Valve

The stopcocks or stop valves also can result in a water hammer if they have a loose gland packing. Additionally, a water hammer might arise if the stop valves or their washer jumpers are worn out. Generally, the stop valves will be open when the shock wave generated by the water hammer travels through the piping.

The shock wave might “rattle” a loose jumper or a valve handle. Although the plumber can replace the loose jumper or tighten that gland packing, they might recommend that you replace the stop valve. This ensures that the issue is resolved permanently to avert any repeating water hammer caused by the stop valve.

Trapped Air

The other cause of a water hammer is trapped air. The problems associated with the entrapment of air, such as the loud banging sounds, can be reduced by preventing air from accumulating within the system. The plumbing professional accomplishes this by installing air-relief valves positioned at the higher points of your plumbing system.

If your yard is relatively flat, the plumber will fit the air relief valves in the pump discharge’s vicinity, the plumbing line’s downstream end, and close to the middle of the pipeline or water line. Further, you should slowly fill the empty water lines to ensure the entrapped air escapes.

Clogged Air Chambers

If you have never experienced or heard a water hammer, and then you experience it one day suddenly out of the blue, then that most likely means that you have blocked air chambers in your plumbing system. The blockage may be caused by the water or an accumulation of the hard water’s mineral sediments. The obstruction stops the air chamber from absorbing the water pressure within the plumbing system.

Hence, you might hear the occasional water hammer. The best way of averting this is to hire a professional plumber or a plumbing service in Schertz, TX, for a routine inspection and maintenance of your plumbing system. If clogged, the plumber will clean the air chamber to ensure that the shockwaves don’t impact your piping.

Fast-acting Valves

Fast-acting valves in electrical appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines commonly cause water hammers. To prevent water loss, the fast-acting valves abruptly or suddenly stop the flow of water that is moving inside the pipes. Unfortunately, this results in shockwaves, resulting in the shuddering of pipes, causing the banging sound.

If the pipes are worn out, the banging sound becomes louder and worsens. Hence, you should hire a plumbing professional in Schertz, TX, for inspection and maintenance to avert this. The plumbers will use their experience and skills to devise a solution that averts the water hammer caused by the fast-acting valves.

High Levels of Water Pressure

In most city and borough codes, the residential property should maintain a water pressure of about 60 PSI or lower. However, many occurrences within the plumbing might increase the pressure beyond this set level, resulting in severe damage to the pipes, leaks, and property damage. Hence, whenever you detect that you are getting water at a higher pressure than normal, contact a plumber or a plumbing service company for a plumbing inspection to regulate the water pressure and avert the water hammer.

Ball /Float Valves

The other cause of a water hammer is the ripples within open tanks where the float or ball valve controls the water level. The ripples caused by the in-flowing water make the valve float to bob up and down, repeatedly closing and opening the valve. The repeated closing and opening of the valve then set up shock waves that reverberate along the water lines resulting in a water hammer. The plumber might advise installing a metal reinforcement plate on the side of a plastic tank near the flat valve to reduce the flexing of the tank.

As mentioned above water hammer effect might arise in any plumbing or piping system where valves control flow. A water hammer results from a surge in pressure or the high-pressure shock wave that propagates through the piping system where the fluid is forced to stop or change its direction suddenly.

This shockwave is usually called a hydraulic surge or a hydraulic shock. Because of the enormity of the shockwave, you might hear a marked knocking or banging sound within the plumbing or piping system or at your home whenever you shut off the faucets or the valves. There are several types of water hammers based on how the phenomena arise.

Types of Water Hammer

Whenever a piping system is abruptly shut downstream, a mass of water still flowing before the closing results in a shock wave and a high pressure. In residential plumbing, this usually manifests as a loud banging sound akin to that produced by hammering. At high pressure, a water hammer can result in pipe bursts. At times, the standpipes or air traps are usually added to a water system as a damper to absorb the potential harmful forces generated by the flowing water.

Water hammer can also be caused by pump failure and a slam check valve. The slamming of the check valve may be caused by an abrupt deceleration based on the specifications of the valves and the water mass between the tank and the valve. If shut off quickly, the check valve might also slam. To overcome this, you should hire a plumber or a plumbing service company for a routine inspection and installation of non-slam check valves.

These valves aren’t dependent on the fluid flow or gravity for their closure. If you use a vertical system, the plumbing professional might suggest you use a new piping design that features air chambers to prevent the water shockwaves caused by an excessive water flow. The plumber can help you with the following leading causes of water hammer in steam systems:

Hydraulic Shock

One small portion of water hammer problems, especially in a steam system, is because of a hydraulic shock. This is best explained by using a home faucet. Whenever you open your Schertz, TX home faucet, a strong stream of water moves via the pipes from where the water line enters your home to the tap outlet. You might hear a loud bang within the plumbing system when you abruptly close the faucet. The shockwave sounds more like a hammer hitting a steel piece of metal.

The shockwave pressure is then reflected from the closed faucet valve to the other end until the energy is completely dissipated within the piping or plumbing system. The exact process can also arise in the discharge piping of a condensate pump system, mainly whenever the pumps are employed in an off/on action with a large condensate pumping capacity.

Usually, the pumping system features check valves placed at the pump’s outlet. A hydraulic shock can arise by stopping and starting the pump as the condensate flow stops immediately and the flow into one direction is blocked by the check valves. The reliable plumber can install disk-type check valves rather than the conventional swing valves to prevent water hammers caused by hydraulic shock.

Thermal Shock

The other primary source of a water hammer is a thermal shock where the steam collapses and water swiftly reaches the vacuum space generated from all directions. A pound of steam having a pressure of 0 PSI can fill 1600 times the volume a pound of water can under normal atmospheric conditions. The ratio decreases proportionately as the pressure of the condensate lines rises.

So, what can a plumber or a plumbing service provider do to avert thermal shock water hammers? The solution, in this case, is to connect the condensate system branch line to or at the top of the primary condensate header. This should be done to all main condensate branch lines with no exception. With their experience and training, the plumbers can devise a viable solution to resolve this issue.

Flow Shock

The flow shock often arises because of improper discharge ahead of the control valve or steam line isolation valves. For instance, if the steam line isolation valve is open without a warm-up, whenever the larger valve opens, the steam will rush down into the cold pipe, creating a high amount of condensate with a high velocity. The condensates continue forming a mass, traveling along with the piping and creating a big condensate wave.

The condensate waves then travel at high speed until a sudden change of direction occurs. The directional change may be caused by a valve or an elbow in the pipeline—the sudden stop results in a water hammer. Fortunately, an experienced plumber in Schertz, TX, can help. The plumber can install a warm-up valve or a steam line drop leg pocket featuring a steam trap station before the isolation valve. This will avert the water hammer whenever the system is turned on and extend the valve’s service life.

Differential Shock

Like the flow shock, the differential shock arises in the condensate or bi-phase systems. It arises whenever the condensate and steam flow via the condensate lines, albeit at varying speeds. In bi-phase systems, the steam velocity is usually much larger than the liquid velocity. If the condensate wave rises and occupies a pipe, there is a temporary seal between the downstream and the upstream sides of that condensate wave.

Since steam cannot flow through the condensate seal reduces pressure on the downstream side. The pressure difference then pushes the condensate sealing downwards at high speed. This results in the water hammer effect. To avert this, the plumber can install a steam trap station to eliminate the unnecessary steam from being introduced to the condensate line.

Have you experienced a water hammer at your Schertz, TX home? It is most likely a result of either or a collection of the above issues. To avert the damaging impacts, you should immediately hire a plumber or a plumbing service provider to ensure that the plumbing system is inspected and the necessary steps are taken to reduce the impact.

For a reliable plumbing service and measures to avert water hammers, hire a licensed plumbing service provider with the necessary experience and tools. Call us at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio for any plumbing service, including water hammer inspection and prevention.

Photo By urfin at Shutterstock
Emergency Plumbing San Antonio, TX

Call Now!

bfpad Proactive Protection ProgramTM

Many of our customers are so happy with our service that they become a bfpad Proactive Protection Program™! Contact us to learn more.

  • Priority Service
  • Free Annual Plumbing Evaluation
  • 15% OFF Service