Fixing Those Hammering Pipes
by Gabby Hyman
If you're putting your house on the market -- or just concerned about the banging of pipes whenever you turn on or off the water -- consider this simple home improvement project. Hammering or banging pipes can often be fixed without the aid of a plumber. If they persist after following these straightforward suggestions, you may need to call in a contractor.
The most-common cause of a hammering pipe is a sudden change in water pressure, with the pipe shuddering against a joist. Sometimes, the racket is cause by two adjacent pipes -- drain and water supply pipes -- vibrating against each other. According to home improvement experts at Sears, it's easy to track down the culprit since a hammering pipe gives itself away by shaking when the water pressure changes or when the water pressure is set too high for the pipe tolerance.
Ask Any Plumber for a Cure
Pipes are often anchored to their fittings with U-clamps and straps, and non-stop hammering can cause them to shake loose, adding disturbing volume to their incessant bang. Perhaps the original plumbing contractor failed to install the clamps correctly, or mounted the pipes too close together, creating an audible clashing of metal.
Ask at your local home improvement store or call a reputable plumber for advice in selecting air chambers, insulated pipe hangers, or cushions of foam pipe insulation. Air chambers are devices inserted between sections of the existing pipe. The chambers provide a cushion of air that absorbs the shock each time water pressure changes in the pipeline. You may need a plumber, whether your pipe system is made of rigid copper or galvanized metal. The chamber must be inserted into cut pipe and then soldered into place.
If the pipe slams against drywall or masonry, try to fit foam inserts between them. If you already have air chambers and the pipe still bangs away, open the chamber cap and check for clogs caused by abundant minerals in the water supply. It may be a quick fix to simply reduce the water pressure in the system if you can live with the reduction.
Air chambers can also be waterlogged. Close the main supply pipe to your home, and then open the lowest-level tap you have and let it drain. Turn the water back up and see if the hammering stops.
About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.