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Put water hammer to rest – once and for all

It’s not uncommon for Atlanta homeowners to deal with rattling pipes. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s a pleasant experience. While the noise is a nuisance, the effect that rattling pipes have on your plumbing system can be very damaging. Learn the causes and effects of water hammer, or rattling pipes, and what you can do to resolve the problem.

What is water hammer?

What’s happening behind the scenes when you hear the pipes rattling? Basically, the pressure in the pipes increases due to an adjustment in either the velocity of the water or the direction it’s going. For instance, when you turn off the faucet, the force of the water quickly changes, creating what is similar to shock waves in the water. That is the sound you hear coming from the pipes, which plumbers refer to as “hammering.”

What causes rattling pipes?

Most home plumbing systems employ air chambers designed to buffer the shock waves, in effect softening the noise created. When these chambers fail, or if the plumbing system wasn’t designed with air chambers, a hammering noise starts up. Another common cause of rattling pipes is the pressure-reducing valve, which contains a gasket that can fail.

What are the effects of rattling pipes?

While the noise of rattling pipes alone may not be enough to move you to hire a plumber to resolve the problem, leaving the issue unchecked can cause serious issues like:

  • Damage to appliances
  • Damage to the pipes
  • Higher water bills

How can you resolve the problem?

Unless you’re a savvy DIYer, in most cases you’ll need the help of a plumber to put a stop to the rattling. Experienced plumbers can listen to the noise the pipes are making and know exactly what is causing the problem. Some of the solutions include:

  • Replacing the gasket in the pressure-reducing valve
  • Flushing out the pipes to remove the air
  • Clearing out debris from the section of pipe where the air chamber is located
  • Reducing the pressure of the water
  • Installing air chambers if the system doesn’t currently have them

Get expert advice when you’re plagued by water hammer. The plumbers at RooterPLUS! are happy to help.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons