We know that in order to enjoy a comfortable occupancy, a functional water system is a must for any household or commercial property. But many times, when our technicians from Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services conduct inspections, clients ask what it means when every time they close the faucet, flush the toilet, use the washing machine or lock a valve, they hear some noise or feel the pipes vibrating. Most likely, this could mean that water hammer occurs in the pipes.
What is Water Hammer?
Water hammer is a surge caused by an abrupt stop or change in the direction of a fluid in motion. In household water systems, this commonly occurs when a valve is suddenly closed. This produces pressure that changes and accelerates the movement of water and since water is incompressible, this causes the water to forcefully slam against the pipe. Aside from resulting in vibrations and banging noises, water hammer can also damage fittings, fixtures and even cause the pipe to collapse. This, of course, can be dangerous not only because of possible structural damage but can also be hazardous to the occupants in the property.
Reducing the Occurrences of Water Hammer
The Use of Air Trap
Water’s incompressible nature makes controlling the water surge in an enclosed path even more difficult, especially when the pipe is filled with water alone. However, air traps can be used to lessen the intensity of the water movement. The system is designed to allow air to be trapped and move to higher points of the pipe, so that when waves of water begin to surge, the air will rise, putting a halt on the forceful water flow. The idea is that air is less dense than water and, in a way, it acts as a clearance to stop the water from forcefully banging directly against the pipe.
Stand pipes, which are usually built vertically, can be used to decrease the oscillation of water in the pipe. Stand pipes built for controlling water hammer can be installed for each valve and must be open at the top so that the air can absorb and decrease the force of the water flow.
Have Your Plumbing Installation Inspected
If water hammer has become a common occurrence in your property and you are noticing that the impact has become more intense, our team at Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services recommend that you immediately have your plumbing installation inspected. Ignoring the problem may not only end up in costly damage repair expenses but could increase the potential risk of danger to the entire household.