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Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -

Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -


Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30-5:30PM
Saturday: 8:00-1:00PM


Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

Plumbing FAQ: What Is Water Hammer?

If you notice a loud knocking noise in your pipes whenever you use a sink or after you take a shower, don’t write it off as a usual household noise. Water hammer is a plumbing term used to describe a specific circumstance that could be hazardous to the pipes. If the noises seem to occur whenever you shut off a tap in the home, you should seek an Irvine plumbing specialist immediately.

The Problem with Water Hammer

Water hammer occurs when water is forced suddenly to stop or reverse, creating pressure waves that can vibrate against the pipes. Not only is this sound somewhat obnoxious; it can also cause problems for your pipes. The pressure can cause your water line to collapse or burst, which can mean flooding in your home or a damaged foundation. Generally, plumbing systems contain air chambers that help to prevent water hammer from occurring, but there may not be enough chambers, or these may become clogged or waterlogged over time.

Correcting Water Hammer

There are a few different ways you may be able to stop water hammer from occurring, but in any case it will require the expertise of a professional. You may be able to have a plumber install a pressure-reducing valve at the water supply, but this can cause the pressure from our sink or shower to feel too low. A plumber may instead recommend additional air chambers to properly trap water using a pocket of air as a cushion, or you may only need to clear out an existing air chamber that is clogged.

Some plumbers actually recommend against air chambers as they may need to be quite large and can occasionally become waterlogged. You may be able to simply install a water hammer arrester at the source which also provides a reliable source of air cushioning. Depending on the state of your plumbing system, an expert may instead decide to install valves that shut slowly, or they may need to redesign some of the pipes that lead to that faucet only.

There may be any number of solutions for water hammer, but a plumber must assess the state of your pipes to determine the proper course of action. Call Saddleback Plumbing to let a trained professional evaluate and repair your plumbing in Irvine.

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