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What is a Water Hammer?

You are taking this “new normal” by the horns and decide you will multi-task while working from home. You throw in a load of laundry and go sit in your “new COVID office” at home. You dial into your first Zoom meeting and suddenly there is a large BOOM! After shrieking like a little girl and consequently scaring the Team you are meeting with, you wonder what that loud noise was. After the giggles and questions of what the heck made you scream, you realize this loud noise must be connected to the washing machine.

Enter… water hammer.

What is water hammer? Water hammer typically sounds like a loud bang or even a vibration in your walls. A hydraulic shock wave is formed in your high-pressure water line when a shut-off valve is suddenly closed. The water has nowhere to go causing the pipe to move and slam against whatever it is next to.

Water Hammer Example When you go to wash a load of laundry, water enters your washing machine at a high rate of speed. When the washing machines drum has reached its maximum capacity of water, the valve on your washer quickly closes. All of that water now has nowhere to go. The water slams into the pipe causes it to move or shake, hitting whatever is in its way. It’s like driving in traffic and the person in front of you slams on their breaks. You have nowhere to go and neither do the people behind you. That sudden stop causes you to crash into the person in front of you and sets off a line of fender benders. Everyone slams into the person in front of them because there is nowhere else to go.

Water Hammer Problems Other than the banging or vibrating being completely annoying, water hammer can bring problems. With pipes constantly banging, over time this could cause loose joints or a break in your pipes and you are looking a large leak and costly repairs.

Fixing Water Hammer There are some pretty inexpensive ways to fix water hammer. There could be too much pressure in your line. It could be as simple as adjusting the water pressure in their line. This can be done by adding a water arrestor or adjusting the pressure on a pressure-reducing valve. You should also see what line is banging and make sure to stabilize that water line and possibly cushion or insulate the line. Some homes plumbing systems have an air chamber. It may not be working properly. 

From the mouth of the great MC Hammer (or Hammer as he was later called) when it comes to water hammer, are you tired of saying “Here Comes the Hammer!?” Take care of it! Whatever the plumbing issue, Godby can assess the problem and fix it! For all of your heating/cooling, plumbing and electrical needs- It’s Gotta be Godby!

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