Burns Plumbing

How to Stop Water Hammering in Your Pipes

Water hammering in your pipes, characterised by a loud banging noise when you shut off the water, can be alarming and potentially damaging to your plumbing system. This phenomenon occurs when the flow of water is suddenly stopped, creating a shock wave that leads to the banging sound. Fortunately, addressing high water pressure and securing any loose pipes in your system can mitigate this issue, protecting your water supply and ensuring the longevity of your plumbing.

Understanding Water Hammering

What is Water Hammering?

Water hammering is a plumbing phenomenon that happens when the flow of water in a pipe is suddenly forced to stop or change direction, causing a shock wave. This wave results in a loud bang, similar to a hammer striking against the pipes, and can occur in any part of the plumbing system connected to the main water supply.

Common Causes of Water Hammering

Several factors can cause water hammering, including high water pressure in your home’s water supply lines, quickly closing valves that abruptly stop water flow, and loose pipes that aren’t securely fastened. Each of these elements contributes to the sudden halting of water flow, leading to the characteristic bang of water hammering:

  1. High Water Pressure: Excessively high pressure in your home’s water supply can increase the velocity of water flow, making the impact more severe when the flow is stopped.
  2. Quickly Closing Valves: Faucets or valves that shut off rapidly can instantly stop water flow, creating a shock wave. This is often experienced with washing machines and dishwashers, which have automatic valves that close quickly.
  3. Loose Pipes: Pipes that are not securely anchored can move when the shock wave passes through, exacerbating the noise and potentially leading to damage over time.

Effects of Water Hammering on Your Plumbing

The effects of water hammering can range from merely annoying to seriously harmful. Over time, the repeated shock waves can:

  • Damage pipe joints and connections, leading to leaks.
  • Cause wear on valves and appliances, reducing their lifespan.
  • Loosen pipe mounts, increasing the risk of damage and noise.
  • In severe cases, lead to pipe bursts, causing significant water damage to your home.

Diagnosing and Fixing Water Hammering

Water hammering, with its distinctive banging pipes and potential for damage, requires prompt attention to prevent burst pipes and water leaks. Understanding how to diagnose this issue and apply effective solutions can protect your plumbing system and reduce noise.

How to Diagnose Water Hammering in Your Home

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Identifying water hammering involves listening for the sound of water coming to a sudden stop, resulting in water hammer sounds coming from your pipes. This phenomenon, caused by a shock wave that causes banging pipes, often occurs when a water valve or faucet is quickly shut off, stopping the flow of moving water abruptly. Key signs include:

  • Noisy Pipes: The most evident sign of water hammering is the noise it creates. If you hear banging or thumping coming from your pipes, especially after turning off a tap or when an appliance stops filling, it’s a clear indication.
  • Vibrations: Water hammering can cause your pipes to visibly shake or vibrate.
  • Water Pressure Issues: Excessive water pressure in your pipes can exacerbate water hammer. Using a water pressure gauge can help you assess if pressure is contributing to the problem.

Adjusting Water Pressure to Fix Water Hammering

One of the ways to fix the issue involves adjusting the water pressure in your home’s main water supply. High pressure exacerbates water hammering by increasing the force of the water that comes to a stop. Installing a pressure-reducing valve on your main water line can mitigate this issue, ensuring a more consistent and suitable water pressure.

Installing a Water Hammer Arrestor: A Solution

Water hammer arrestors are specifically designed to fix the problem of water hammer by acting as shock absorbers. They contain air bladders to absorb water movement and reduce shock, providing a long-term solution to water hammer. Installing these devices near the source of the banging—such as at the hot water supply line or cold water supply line—can significantly diminish the impact of water hammer.

When to Use Air Chambers to Prevent Water Hammering

Air chambers can serve as a preventative measure against water hammering. These are vertical pipes installed in the water supply pipes to trap air, which can then compress when there’s a sudden stop in water flow, absorbing the shock. Regular maintenance is crucial, as these air chambers can become waterlogged over time.

Understanding Valves and Water Hammering: The Connection

Valves play a crucial role in causing water hammer. Rapidly closing valves, like those in dishwashers or washing machines, can create a sudden change in water flow, leading to water hammer. Equipping your system with slow-closing valves or installing water hammer arresters can help mitigate the issue. Additionally, ensuring all stop valves are functioning correctly and are not contributing to sudden water flow changes is essential for reducing water hammer incidents.

Prevention and Maintenance


Ensuring your plumbing system is free from water hammering not only protects your pipes but also maintains the integrity and longevity of your entire water supply system. Regular maintenance and preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of water hammer, a phenomenon that can cause damage and lead to costly repairs if ignored. Understanding and implementing strategies to prevent water hammer can ultimately save you from the long-term effects and inconvenience associated with this issue.

Preventive Measures to Stop Water Hammering

Water hammering in pipes, a common plumbing issue, can be alarming and potentially damaging. However, several strategies can prevent this from occurring:

  1. Install Water Hammer Arresters: These devices are specifically designed to absorb the shock wave that causes water hammer, effectively preventing the banging noise and potential damage to pipes.
  2. Secure Loose Pipes: Ensuring all water pipes are securely fastened can reduce the movement caused by the shock wave, lessening the impact of water hammer.
  3. Adjust Water Pressure: High water pressure can exacerbate water hammer. Installing a pressure-reducing valve at the water metre can help maintain a suitable pressure level, reducing the likelihood of water hammer.
  4. Use Air Chambers: Installing air chambers in your plumbing system can help absorb the shock caused by sudden stops in water flow, preventing water hammering. These chambers should be periodically drained to maintain their effectiveness.
  5. Check the Water Supply Line: Regularly inspect and maintain the cold water supply line and hot water supply line to ensure there are no sudden restrictions or closures causing water hammer.
  6. Regularly Inspect Water Valves: Water hammering is often the result of quickly closing valves. Ensuring all valves in your home, including those on appliances, close smoothly can help mitigate water hammer.

Maintenance Tips to Avoid Water Hammering

Consistent maintenance is key to preventing water hammering and ensuring the smooth operation of your home’s plumbing system:

  • Regularly Drain the Water Tank: Draining your water tank can help remove air pockets in your pipes that contribute to water hammer.
  • Monitor Water Pressure: Use a water pressure gauge to regularly check your home’s water pressure. Adjust as necessary to keep it within safe limits.
  • Inspect and Replace Water Arrestors: Water hammer arrestors can wear out over time. Regular inspection and replacement can ensure they continue to protect your pipes from water hammer.
  • Annual Plumbing Inspections: Having a professional plumber inspect your plumbing system can help identify potential issues before they result in water hammer. This includes checking for any signs of damage or wear in pipes and fittings.
  • Educate Household Members: Understanding the causes of water hammering and educating all household members to turn off taps slowly can help prevent the sudden stops in water flow that cause water hammer.

Professional Plumbing Solutions for Water Hammering in Your Pipe


For persistent water hammering that DIY fixes can’t resolve, or if you notice significant changes in water pressure, visible damage to pipes, or need professional installation of water hammer arrestors, Burns Plumbing offers expert solutions. Our thorough plumbing system check-ups identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities to prevent future issues. If water hammering disrupts your peace of mind, call Burns Plumbing at (02) 9072 1165 for immediate, effective assistance.

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