What Is Water Hammering?

When you hear your house moving at night it could be a variety of things, but a common one is water running through your pipes. If the water is obnoxiously loud, it's a common problem called a water hammer.
And if you live in a house that is a minimum of ten years old, you’ve probably woken up to this hammer in the middle of the night.
So why does this happen? And how do we make it stop?

What causes water hammering in pipes?

Any normal person would think water flows smoothly throughout pipes, but it's quite the opposite when coming from water tanks. As water is pushed out of the tank into your pipes it's spinning, tumbling, and churning until it eventually meets your faucet. All this is actually audible but we often tune it out. However, often times an increase in water pressure or if it comes to a sudden halt, the pipes begin clanking inside the walls.  This is the water hammer we've been talking about.

The cause of the water hammering is by waterlogged air chambers, excess pressure in your pipes, or clogged pipes.

Pipes that hammer are usually in older homes and happen to still use 90° angles in their pipes. The noise is simply shockwaves that are forcing the pipe to move around. Newer homes have become more clever in the way that they fit the pipes through the walls and the material they use like PVC.

If this problem doesn't get resolved in a timely manner the pipe fittings can be stripped and the pipes will burst!
Pipes that are installed correctly will contain air pockets that nearly silence the sound.

If the pressure begins to be too much the water will absorb the pocket of air and then that's when the hammering can really be heard.

If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, and with a little plumbing skill,  you can totally do this on your own.

1. If you know exactly where the hammering is coming from, turn off the water, open the faucet, and let all the water drain out. Once the pipes are empty of water they will fill with air again which creates the cushion.

2. If the hammering is taking place deep within the house turn off the main water supply and drain those lines by turning on all the faucets. Let it drain and fill with air again.  Just be sure to close every faucet or you could risk of flooding the house.

3. Turn off the water supply back on and get ready for the faucet to spit air.

Time to call a plumber?

If those general fixes don't work then chances are your pipes are clogged and it needs the assistance of a plumber. The plumber will turn off the lines and snake out the buildup residue.

If it's a pressure problem? The plumber will install a pressure reducing valve in the supply line. If that's not helping, they could install air chambers to stop the hammering.
Once this is all fixed, you will be able to sleep well at night once again.

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