Have you ever flushed the toilet and been shocked by a loud, rattling sound that made your entire house shake? If you have, you've experienced a phenomenon known as a water hammer. It occurs when water goes rushing through your water pipes and gets stopped abruptly with nowhere else to go. It's a common, yet annoying occurrence. Luckily, there are some things you can do to alleviate the problem. Here are three steps you can take to prevent the awful sounds of the water hammer.
Replenish the Air Chamber
The plumbing system in your home is equipped with built-in air chambers. They're usually attached to the water lines near your toilets, washing machines and dishwasher—areas that experience high water volume. The air chambers are designed to cushion water once the valves are shut off—such as when the washer has finished filling, or the toilet stops running.
Occasionally, the water stops too quickly, which causes the air chambers to empty. When that happens, you'll hear the water hammer effect. You can refill the air chamber by turning on the lowest water faucet on your property—usually it's one located outside or in your basement. Allow the water to run until the loud noise subsides.
Secure Loose Pipes
Take a look at the water pipes in your garage or basement. Each pipe should be secured to the wall with a bracket or plumbers tape—flexible, metal tape with holes in it. When water pipes aren't secured to the walls properly, they can vibrate each time water flows through them. This vibration can lead to the water hammer effect that you hear. The vibration can also cause the joints in your pipes to work loose, which can lead to water leaks. If your water pipes aren't fastened properly, take the time to secure them to your home. Pipe brackets and metal plumbing tape is available at most home improvement stores.
Adjust the Water Pressure
Abnormally high water pressure in your home can also cause the water hammer effect. If your home is equipped with a water pressure regulator, you can adjust the water at the regulator. If your home doesn't have one, you should talk to your plumber about installing one for you. Excessive water pressure can do more than just cause loud noises—it can also damage your appliances.
If you're tired of loud noises every time you flush the toilet, use these simple steps to eliminate the water hammer effect. For other helpful tips about alleviating the problem, be sure to speak to a plumber like Watson Plumbing.