Tired of that Annoying Tapping Noise in Your Home?
You may get used to the sound of your pipes banging, they may have always done it and you’ve just assumed that’s the way it is. However, it’s not.
Banging or tapping pipes is usually a sign of an issue. It’s generally referred to as water hammer and is a reference to the sound of the water hammering against the inside of the pipes, forcing them to move and bash into each other or the fixtures that surround them.
This happens when the water in a pipe is suddenly forced to change direction, a common side effect of the water being suddenly shut off, washing machines and dishwashers often shut off quickly, leaving water that was flowing freely with a blockage, forcing it to return on itself and creating the ripple that causes water hammer.
It can happen as a result of any type of appliance shutting off the water fast. It is a good idea to check your appliances to ensure they are working correctly. It is possible the fault is with them and they need to be replaced. This is true whether you’re dealing with dewatering pumps or washing machines.
The Issue With Water Hammer
When water changes direction suddenly and forces the pipes to bash into each other or their fixtures, you’re increasing the likelihood of the pipes bursting or the joints being damaged.
Both of these things can result in water leaks that can quickly cause an issue, especially if your dewatering pump isn’t working properly.
It is worth noting that water hammer can happen in plastic pipes as well as metal, the noise is simply quieter in plastic pipes although the risk is the same.
Fixing The Issue
It’s essential that you get the assistance of a professional if you are unsure what you’re doing. One false move can result in a large water leak which will cost you lots of money and potentially badly damage your home.
There are several things you should try if you’re going to fix the issue yourself:
Securing The Pipes
The first step must be to secure the pipes properly. The simplest cause of pipe bang is when the pipes are not secured properly, even the slightest change in water direction can cause the pipes to bang.
This can be easily resolved by tightening the fastenings or adding extra, ensuring the pipes stay where they are meant to be.
Of course, this is not so easy if the pipes are behind your walls.
You should also note that metal pipes should also be secured with metal clamps made of the same material. If you don’t, the metal can corrode through a process known as electrolysis.
An alternative way of dealing with the issue is to install an air chamber. This is a T junction installed near the valves causing the water hammer. Off the T is a piece of vertical pipe which allows air into the system, effectively providing a cushion, or expansion space for the water when it is forced to change direction.
If you do this don’t forget to cap the top of the vertical section or you’ll have water pouring out into your home.
It should also be noted that there are mechanical water shock arrestors which are a more sophisticated form of air chambers, these are fitted in the pipes to absorb the water movements.