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Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

What You Should Know about Water Hammer


The very first thing you should know about water hammer is what it is, and then from there, we can explain the problem with it.

Water hammer may sound like a really ominous term, but really all it is is describing a sound that resembles knocking that comes from inside your pipes. You might have even heard it before and had no idea where it was coming from.

Water hammer is not a plumbing emergency, however, it is something to be concerned about in the sense that you want to have it addressed by a professional plumber as soon as you can. Read on to learn what causes this and the problem with it!

Why You Hear Water Hammer

“Shockwaves” are the primary source of water hammer. This results from the sudden stopping of water which was otherwise moving quickly through your plumbing pipes. When you shut off a tap or when a plumbing appliance cycles off in your home, it cuts off the flow of water, and these “shockwaves” are created.

So, why don’t you always hear water hammer, then? Well, because your plumbing system was designed with air cushions within it that are there to absorb this force. When water hammer occurs, it means that something has prevented the air cushions from forming.

This could 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 current house or had new plumbing pipes installed, then this is probably the cause.

However, if this issue only started recently, after years of no problems, then what might have occurred is that the air chambers got too water-logged. This requires them to be restored, which our team can help with!

Another potential source of this issue is that hard water has created a buildup of limescale. Hard water is water with a high presence of minerals in it–namely calcium, magnesium, and iron. These minerals are harmless to ingest, but they’re bad news for the interior of your plumbing pipes. This problem is preventable with the installation of a whole-house water softener, but before we get to that step we first have to provide drain cleaning or potentially even repiping to restore your plumbing before addressing the water hammer issue.

The Problem with Letting Water Hammer Continue

Sure, so it’s a bit annoying to hear a thud when you shut off the shower or kitchen sink, but is it really damaging your plumbing system? Well, even though it’s not a dangerous problem by any means, it can definitely lead to an expensive problem for you later on.

The impact of the shockwaves over time can damage the pipes, knocking them loose and causing leaks. Water hammer can also damage plumbing appliances, including faucets and taps.

The one fortunate part of water hammer is that as soon as there is a problem, you’re alerted to it by the sound it makes! So the best thing you can do for your plumbing system is give us a call as soon as you notice this noise.

When you need professional plumbing in Albuquerque, NM, look no further than Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. Contact us today!

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