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What Is Water Hammer?

Water hammer occurs when water within pipes suddenly stops or changes direction, creating a shockwave that resonates through the pipework system. Imagine the pipes shaking, rattling, and rolling like a Buddy Holly tune! This phenomenon is also known as hydraulic shock.

Water Hammer Illustration - 4SolarSA
Water Hammer Illustration - 4SolarSA

Causes of Water Hammer:

  1. Fast Closing Valves:

  • When valves (such as taps or ball valves) close abruptly, the sudden pressure increase inside the pipe generates water hammer.

  • Solution: Replace worn valves or adjust valve closing speed.

  1. Airlocks:

  1. Improperly Secured Pipework:

  • Loose pipes can amplify water hammer effects.

  • Solution: Secure pipes properly to minimize movement.

  1. Faulty Ball or Float Valves:

  1. High Water Pressure:

Addressing Water Hammer:

Modern Water Hammer Arrestor.
Modern Water Hammer Arrestor.

  1. Water Hammer Arrestor:

  • The easiest solution is installing a water hammer arrestor. These devices absorb pressure surges, preventing shockwaves.

  • South African Reference: Consult local plumbing suppliers for suitable arrestors.

  1. Regular Maintenance:

  • Inspect valves, secure pipework, and maintain air chambers.

  • South African Tip: Regularly check ball valves in cisterns and ensure proper float behavior.

Remember, addressing water hammer promptly prevents more serious issues down the line. So, let’s keep those pipes harmonious! 🛠️💧

How a water hammer absorbs the shock
How a water hammer absorbs the shock.

a Typical water hammer arrestor in South Africa.
a Typical water hammer arrestor in South Africa.

Water hammer arrestors and installation can be bought from .


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