Hear a Hammer in Your Pipes?

It's that noise when you quickly turn off the shower or sink faucet.

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Water hammer — it sounds like some sort of underwater tool doesn't it? But it's really that noise you sometimes hear when you quickly turn off the water in the shower or sink. Rushing water suddenly hits the closed valve and it vibrates causing a noise that sounds like a pipe being hit with a hammer. That's what our homeowner in Highland Park, California, heard.

The most common causes of water hammer are loose pipes, incorrectly sized pipes, or excessive water pressure. Over time, all that pounding and vibrating can damage pipe joints and valves. If water hammering is happening in your house here are a few suggestions:


  • Have a licensed plumber determine the cause of the water hammer. Perhaps it can be remedied quickly and easily.
  • Fasten loose water pipes, to wall studs or joists if they are within easy reach. That should help cut down on the vibration.
  • Consider installing dampers in the water lines. The gas-filled tubes will cushion the surging water and eliminate water hammer.

Even though it's a minor problem, water hammer can cause major problems down the line if it's not corrected.

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