What is Water Hammer and why does it happen? Simply put, it’s a pressure surge or wave that takes place when a liquid is forced to either stop or change direction suddenly. Kinda like driving your car into a brick wall…Ouch! This sudden stop can and does cause noise and or damage which is usually identified as a loud Bang throughout the plumbing system.
WHY THIS HAPPENS
This can happen in many ways such as when shutting off a faucet abruptly, a quick closing toilet refill valve, a commercial toilet flushometer. But one of the most common culprits and cause of Water Hammer is your washing machine. Washing Machines come equipped with very fast closing electronic valves and the higher your incoming water pressure the higher the risk of noise and damage to your plumbing system.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN?
This sudden pressure surge will cause unsecured pipes to vibrate severely and depending on the material and how old the plumbing system even break causing thousands in water damage. The higher the incoming water pressure the more likely you’ll experience Water Hammer. Most plumbing codes require the use of water hammer arresters be plumbed into the plumbing system either individually or for a bank of plumbing fixtures.
Water Hammer arresters can be fabricated in the field by simply taking a piece of pipe approximately 18″-24″ inches in length and capping one end. That piece of pipe would be installed into a tee connection above where a fixture supply would stub out of a wall. When the system is filled with water, that piece of pipe would become half filled with air thus creating a cushion to take up the shock of the water.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Depending on where in the home and the severity of the Water Hammer, arresters can be placed in several locations to help eliminate this annoying and potentially disastrous condition from happening. As mentioned previously one of the most common causes of Water Hammer is the washing machine. Depending on how the washing machine supply lines are plumbed it could be an expensive plumbing job to install arresters on the individual hot and cold water supply pipes.
Enter Sioux-Chief which is a manufacturer of plumbing specialties found in plumbing supply houses and big box stores around the country. They have made it easy to add Water Hammer arrestors to any washing machine without a major plumbing alteration. The Sioux Chief 660-H mini-rester gets the job done quickly and efficiently and in the video below, I show you how you can Do It Yourself save a couple of bucks and prevent a potential disaster!