You may hear it, you may feel it – and you’ll probably experience both! We’re talking about water hammer, which in the plumbing context is also commonly known as hydraulic shock. If you’ve quickly turned off the tap once those bangs, clangs and vibrations began, your next thought will be about just how much damage it’s doing – and how to stop water hammer before it hammers your pipes to bits!
WHAT CAUSES WATER HAMMER?
Water hammer is a phenomenon caused by a sudden change in the momentum of water flowing in your pipes. It may be caused by your operation of taps, and very often it’s because of the way appliances like washing machines and dishwashers shut off the water supply so suddenly. The result is that your water pipes start to ‘dance’ and clang against other pipes or even beams, joists and studs behind your walls.
HOW MUCH DAMAGE IS DONE BY WATER HAMMER?
If you cringe when you experience water hammer, that’s the correct reaction – because all that clanging, banging, shimmying and hammering can do an awful lot of damage to your plumbing components. We’re talking leaks, damaged joints, cracked pipe walls, burst pipes, deformed pipe supports, and much more – and the damage can be devastating, expensive and even unhealthy.