What is Water Hammer?

Often the most common issues pop-up the most regularly such as leaky taps, burst pipes and a broken water heater or boiler, but what about one that a lot of clients seem to overlook, despite its obnoxious effect, yes … we are talking about “water hammer”.

What is Water Hammer?

We’re pretty certain that the majority of you plumbers out there already know what water hammer is but, for the general homeowner or maybe apprentice plumbers we’ll go ahead and explain it for you. You know when someone uses the tap for about ten seconds and then when you shut it off and you hear a bassy thud come through the walls? That is water hammer.

What Causes Water Hammer?

Water hammer is the sound of pressurised water hitting a closed valve when closed suddenly. Imagine that when you have the tap on that the water begins to flow through the valve, then all of a sudden, the tap is shut off and the valve shuts immediately. All that water that was moving freely towards the valve has been stopped in it’s tracks and the kinetic energy of the water has to be subdued, so as it hits the valve it absorbs that energy from the water, resulting in a waste product (sound), which manifests itself as that bassy thud that comes through the wall.

Is Water Hammer Dangerous?

It can be if it’s very severe. Imagine that every time the valve closes it and the connected pipes take a high amount of impact damage from the kinetic energy of the water, this could lead to a burst pipe, a valve being knocked loose or broken and both of those have their own knock-on effects, the worst being indoor flooding.

How can water hammer be prevented?

Choosing the right products for your valves, fittings and pipes is the first solution in a minor water hammer situation as this will ensure that the components last longer under the effects of water hammer. In a potentially dangerous situation, it’s always best to call a certified plumber, you’ve got nothing to lose in that situation, by calling them.