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Plumbing pipes shouldn’t make much noise beyond soft whooshing sounds of water flowing. Many of us here in Sandy Springs, GA, have heard plenty of other noises from our plumbing, but this shouldn’t be the case. Water hammer, also known as hydraulic shock, is a loud banging noise that can be very disruptive. Not only is this loud noise irritating and disruptive, it can also lead to leaky or broken pipes. Although water hammer is a very common problem, plumbing services are quite capable of fixing it.
We may not think of it this way, but water is very heavy. Moving water, especially water flowing through pipes in different directions, compounds weight with other types of pressure. Water pressure and heaviness can cause a liquid shock wave that allows pressure to build up within pipes. Water isn’t really flexible. Falling into bodies of water can feel like hitting a solid surface, and flowing water can be very powerful, so the effect of pressurized water moving through pipes is almost like a solid substance.
Causes of Water Hammer
Water hammer usually comes from four main causes. One cause goes back to when the pipes were first installed. Pipes are put in place then connected to the rest of the home. Supports and clips meant to hold pipes in place can deteriorate or break, which lets loose pipes move instead of staying in the same position. Loose pipes are often found in basements and crawlspaces. Excessively high water pressure also causes a water hammer. Moving water creates pressure on its own, so plumbing pipes are designed to accommodate some amount of pressure. However, the increased pressure can overwhelm pipes and produce loud, banging sounds.
Pipes contain air chambers to reduce water pressure. The air-filled cavities let the water rise or fall without hitting pipes walls. These chambers aren’t effective if water displaces air and fills the void. Water hammer can occur even if problems are limited to only one pipe. Isolated cases of water hammers may occur in pipes attached to appliances, such as dishwashers, washing machines, sprinkler systems, boilers, and even ice makers. Constant changes in water pressure can push these pipes out of position or damage pipe walls.
Solutions For Water Hammer
Contact a plumbing service provider as soon as possible after you notice a water hammer. There’s no way to estimate how much time you may have before the pipe breaks and bursts. Sometimes solutions are relatively simple. Plumbing service professionals may use insulation to stabilize pipes in crawlspaces or attics. Other options to stabilize pipes include clips, hangers, straps, and plumber tape. Galvanized or steel straps aren’t appropriate for copper pipes because this could cause electrolysis and holes in the pipe.
The solution for water hammer may require reduced water pressure. Plumbing services may include pressure checks to estimate how much pressure reduction is necessary. This can be done by adjusting water pressure valves or installing mechanical water shock arrestors. Shock arrestors are small cylindrical devices that function as air chambers. Creating additional air chambers can also be helpful and avoid replacing an entire section of pipes. Boilers are known as a common cause of water hammers. This happens if boilers overfire, which is more likely if homeowners install boilers that are too large for their plumbing systems.
Aging Plumbing Systems
Nothing lasts forever, and this includes plumbing systems in Sandy Springs, GA. It’s easy to forget about the pipes buried underground or running through floors, ceilings, and walls. These pipes remind us of their presence when something goes wrong. Aging plumbing pipes and fixtures are more vulnerable to cracks, breaks, leaks, and other damage.
Slow drains, low water pressure, and unusual noises may be signs of a plumbing problem. Leaks inside walls, ceilings, crawlspaces, and other hidden areas may not be noticed immediately. Signs of a hidden leak include mold and mildew growth, buckled flooring, peeling wallpaper, crumbling drywall, yellow to dark brown water stains, puddles in the yard, and exceptionally damp basements and crawlspaces. Remember that any problems you can see are probably occurring in places you can’t see as well. Deal with leaks quickly to avoid replacing furniture, drywall, and other structures affected by mold. Mold remediation can be very costly and time consuming and may even require professional services.
Changes in water quality are also signs of a problem. Discoloration may occur if water picks up flakes of rust or mineral deposits from deteriorating pipe walls. Older pipes that may be connected with lead solder can be especially harmful in homes with young children. Don’t hesitate to call your plumber as soon as you notice a change in the taste, smell, or appearance of your water. Plumbing service providers can have your water tested to identify contaminants. It’s very important to stop drinking the water and fix the problem immediately if potentially harmful contaminants are found.
Aging pipes can lead to low water pressure because mineral deposits build up on inner pipe walls. This reduces free space and restricts water flow, which results in low water pressure. Most people notice low pressure rather quickly because it becomes obvious when we try to take a shower or turn on a faucet. Washing machines may take a long time to fill, and low water pressure can even increase the frequency of clogs if you have a garbage disposal. A professional plumbing service provider can check water pressure then look for leaks, cracks, and breaks. Sometimes pipes can be repaired, but it may be better to simply replace aging pipes. Plumbing services may also include a whole system flush to remove as much mineral residue as possible.
Peach Plumbing & Drain provides plumbing services for homeowners in Sandy Springs, GA. A team of licensed professional plumbers handles repairs, installations, and routine maintenance for every aspect of your plumbing system. Emergency plumbing services are available for problems that present significant risk to your home and can’t wait for business hours.