Are your plumbing pipes noisy? Do you hear a loud bang or slamming sound when you turn off a faucet? This noise is referred to as “water hammer”. Water hammer occurs when a rapid flow of water is suddenly halted as happens when you turn off a faucet or when the valve closes in an appliance such as a washing machine or dishwasher.
The solution to this problem is the installation of air chambers on the plumbing supply lines. These devices act as a cushion for the water and will dissipate the pressure change that results in the noise you hear. Air chambers can be pre-fabricated or constructed in place with the same material as the existing supply piping. If you find the problem only occurs when the washing machine is operated, in-line add-on air chambers can be easily installed by most homeowners at the washer supply connections.
Due to pressure differences in your homes water supply, air chambers can become full of water and their effectiveness is reduced. If your home already has air chambers installed but you are hearing water hammer, you will need to drain down the supply pipes to allow air back into the chambers. To do this, turn off the main water supply valve to your home. Open at least one faucet at the highest point in your home and another at the lowest point. The water in the pipes will slowly drain out.
When the flow of water is minimal or has stopped, close all open faucets and slowly turn the water supply valve back on to re-pressurize the system. The air chambers will be filled with air again and will perform their function of keeping your pipes quiet.