What is a Water Hammer in Plumbing?
When water is flowing through supply pipes at pressures in excess of 70 pounds per square inch and the valve is suddenly closed, the plumbing system makes a pounding noise. This noise you hear when water pressure gets too high is called a water hammer. Water hammer is caused by quickly stopping the flow of water. This causes hammer-like sound and this condition is damaging to the plumbing systems if not corrected - as maintenance problems can arise.
Water hammer can be fixed easily. Installing an air chamber close to the fixture prevents the problem. An air chamber is a piece of the supply system that holds a small amount of air. The air pocket serves as a cushion for the water, easing the pressure on the pipes when the valve is closed suddenly.
Shutoff pipes should have shutoff valves installed in the plumbing near each fixture. Shutoff valves allow the repair of the fixture without shutting off the entire supply system. Water can be shut off to each individual fixture. During the finish work on a remodeling project, the plumber or remodeling contractor first attaches the shutoff valve. Then the plumber installs the fixtures and checks for proper operation.
Shutoff valves also help protect the rest of the household from apparent damage from water. If a fixture begins to leak or overflow, the fixture's water supply can be quickly stopped.