Do the pipes in your home make an annoying thumping sound? Chances are they’re suffering from a relatively common phenomenon known as water hammer or fluid hammer. The good news is that it’s an easy fix, even for those without any plumbing expertise whatsoever.
What is Water Hammer?
Water hammer occurs when you quickly turn a valve or tap on or off, resulting in pressure transients in your pipelines as the water is forced to change direction suddenly. Although it may seem like it always flows smoothly out of your tap, water actually tumbles and churns along the way, which can cause an awful racket when water hammer occurs.
More often than not, you’ll hear hammering or thumping sounds followed by several echoes. The taps, pipes, or even whole sections of your house may even shake. Not only is water hammer annoying, but it might eventually damage the pipelines, which could be extremely costly in the long run.
How to Fix Water Hammer or Fluid Hammer
Modern plumbing systems have small contraptions called arrestors which act as mini air-reservoirs to cushion the pipes from vibrations. The most likely scenario is that the arrestor has filled with water and needs to be drained.
- Grab an adjustable spanner and a flathead screwdriver or borrow them from a mate.
- Find your water mains shutoff valve. These are usually located in a box on the nature strip or somewhere in the front or backyard. Ask your landlord if you can’t find it.
- Open the box and look for the main valve. You’ll likely need to pry the box open with the screwdriver. The main valve should have a flow-meter on it which measures the water flow.
- Turn the water off. To do so, you’ll need to use the spanner to turn the handle of the mains to reach a perpendicular or right angle with the meter. You’ll know you’ve succeeded because the dial of the flow-meter will move down to zero.
- Drain the pipes by turning on the taps. Only turn on two taps, one as an air inlet and one as an outlet for the excess water. One of these should be at a substantially lower height than the other.
- Let the water run out and turn off those two taps again. This process will prevent water from simply pushing air back up the pipes again.
- Turn the mains back on by repeating step 4 in reverse. Ensure that the needle on the flow-meter has moved up again.
And there you have it. That irritating thumping noise should be gone once and for all without having to get a plumber involved.
When the Problem Persists
Unfortunately, turning your water off at the mains and draining your pipes don’t always solve the issue. In some situations, you may require the help of a qualified plumbing professional. If you need assistance for a leak repair or to fix any other unresolved issues, talk to an expert today.