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Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Blog

What Is Water Hammer?

There are lots of household noises we take for granted: the click of the thermostat, the spinning of the washing machine, the hum of the heating system. But there is a sound that can emanate from plumbing systems that may seem normal but really isn’t: that BANG! when you turn off a faucet. This sound means that you have a problem called water hammer, and it can cause some serious problems with your Santa Fe plumbing.

The Problem

When we open a water tap in our home, the water comes out in a nice flow, in a manner that seems effortless. The truth is that this end result belies what happens in your pipes: the water rushes and tumbles forward with a great deal of pressure, and this pressure is held in check by sections of your plumbing known as air chambers. These chambers provide a cushion of air that helps keep the water from literally slamming into the valves when they close, as they do when you close a tap.

Water hammer develops when an air chamber or chambers become flooded with water and can no longer provide the needed cushion for the rushing water. So that bang you are hearing is actually a bang because it is the sound of the water slamming into your closed valve.

Ancillary Problems

That banging sound is unpleasant, but it also unfortunately not your only problem if you are experiencing water hammer. First, the reduction of air chambers can lead to a pressure imbalance throughout your entire plumbing system; in turn, this can lead to burst pipes or pressure issues with other faucets in your home. Second, that constant slamming of water against your valves can cause damage to the valve itself, which will require repair. As such, if you are hearing that notorious slam every time you open a faucet, it’s time to call for an expert.

Water hammer can happen in one faucet, all your faucets and even in your heating pipes should you have a boiler system. Water hammer does not go away on its own, so if you are hearing a BANG! from your Santa Fe plumbing, call the experts at Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration today.

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