How the Pros Deal with Banging Plumbing Pipes
It is not unusual for metal pipes located in the plumbing system to bang. It thumps loudly whenever the faucet is shut off unexpectedly or when water-using appliances like dishwashers or washing machine suddenly shuts off the water intake. Plumbing pipes aren’t perfect and everybody shares the same experience of having loud and banging noise at home. Professional plumbers generally referred to this particular condition or incident as a water hammer. Water hammer and the random plumbing sounds it can indicate severe plumbing issues or a series of plumbing problems in the pipes.
If these issues are left untreated, the drainage, clogging issues, and even the loud noise can become disastrous over time. For this blog, we are to discover the causes behind the banging sounds and the methods used by professional plumbers to fix them!
What Causes Loud Banging Noise in Water Pipes?
Hydraulic shock is the technical term used for water hammer, and it often occurs when water tends to stop or change directions quickly. The shock wave causes the banging that is often heard. This shock wave will cause plumbing pipes to move. Water hammer usually happens whenever the valve or faucet is promptly closed off.
Moreover, the very first common complaint from any clients and homeowners about the pipes comes from loud banging noises. Below are some common reasons why there’s banging going on from the pipes:
· There might be an issue with high water pressure and water flow.
· Trapped air — water line problems eventually stopped the air in the pipes.
· The water has been moving down directly to the exit point, often contains a lot of momentum and energy. Hence, when it hits the closed-valve point, loud banging sounds will be heard.
· The oxygen is momentarily trapped in the air chambers.
· The fasteners where pipes are hanged started to get loose or comes off completely.
· Copper pipes carrying water can enlarge and reduce in size again. As a result, it jams the house’s studs, joints, or support brackets in the walls
· Water hammer happens due to the usage of plastic water supply lines like CPCV and PEX.
Plumbers and the subcontractor must be reminded that every house has a complete piping system, particularly valves and all other essential elements. Everything involves mostly depending on the tiny parts and pieces to enable the system to work as it’s supposed to do. So, like any other piece of nuts, bolts, and hardware, it can wear out or loose over time. Another crucial thing they need to prioritize is to use subcontractor scheduling software for crew management purposes.
Four Effective Methods for Fixing Water Hammer
Cited below are the four effective methods that are preferably used by experienced plumbers to eliminate water hammer. Doing so will eliminate loud and disturbing noises.
1. Securing Loose Pipes
If the plumbing pipes are not secured enough, a mild shock wave can often create loud thumping. Actually, a soft case of water hammer commonly doesn’t cause pipe damage. Plumbers can prevent it from happening and only need to tighten any loose pipe straps. Also, even foam pipe insulation segments wrapped around the pipes are also considered shock absorbers as it can prevent banging.
It is the easiest to do in any unfinished and exposed spaces like the basement area, where pipes are easily accessible and visible. Once plumbers have seen the loose hangers or pipe straps, they have to re-secure them. Adding extra hangers or pipe straps is also a good option since it will be a better way to joist the pipes. Packing pipes and insulation can also be done around the pipes if the plumbing pipes run through holes in framing members.
· Apparently, this method might not be enough to prevent possible damage to pipes. If the water hammer is severe, plumbers have to try the other solution.
· Ensure not to mix different metals when securing plumbing pipes with pipe hangers and metal straps.
· Never use galvanized steel straps or plain steel on copper pipes. It can trigger a chemical reaction called electrolysis.
· Make sure to secure the copper plumbing pipe with plastic or copper pipe straps and hangers.
2. Installing Mechanical Water Shock Arrestors
There is a more sophisticated form of absorbing the massive shock coming from a water hammer, and it is called the mechanical water shock arrestors. These water arrestors often work amazingly in circumstances where air chambers are often impractical. They are sealed units that generally contain an airball and a spring that absorbs water movement. When the water moment is absorbed, it softens the effects of the water hammer.
They are chosen substitutes for both high water applications and commercial buildings. Compare to air chambers; water arrestors never have to recharge like the air chambers. However, they have to be replaced at the life cycle end when bladders and inner springs wear out.
3. Installing an Air Chamber
Another straightforward method for fixing and curing water hammer is installing a vertical pipe segment near the valve that causes the water hammer. This particular method often creates a portion of air-filled and empty pipe that provides a cushion for flowing water to rebound into, especially whenever it wants to change the directions. Air chambers are often fabricated onsite by any of the plumbers as they also perform an installation using fittings and pipes. To make every step easy to execute, using project management tools is considered vital to the process.
Moreover, either way, that air chamber consists of a tee-fighting that will connect the main plumbing pipe. A short run of horizontal pipes will lead to capped vertical pipe sections about six inches long. A pocket of air is often trapped because the dead-end line is situated outside the main water flow. However, one issue in installing an air chamber is that it becomes filled water and often ceases to operate correctly.
Yet, non-functioning air chambers can be corrected and fixed over draining the entire water supply system. It will then start restoring the air to the partitions. To effectively recharge the air chambers, professional plumbers will most likely do the following:
· Open the uppermost water faucet.
· Shut off the home’s main water valve.
· Drain all water from every pipe by opening the lower water faucet, typically located in the front yard’s basement.
· As the water drains out, air will automatically flow in the uppermost faucet system, adding air back towards the air chambers.
· Once the water has already stopped flowing from the water faucet, turn it off and quickly open the water valve.
· Let the uppermost faucet open until water increases in the system and flows out its spout.
· The rest of the pipes are not filled with water, but the air chambers remain full of air if the steps are taken correctly. It restores the shock-absorbing capacity.
Note: On some rare occasions, the air chamber might become clogged with debris and minerals. They can only be cleaned by eliminating the caps and scrubbing them out.
4 Installing a Water-Pressure Regulator
Water hammer often occurs when the total pressure of the water pipe is too high and continuously increasing. Normal water pressure runs between forty and sixty psi (pounds per square inch). Hence, high and increasing pressure can be a possible source of water hammer. Appliances used at home can also be damaged when the pressure is extremely high, reaching above 100 psi. That is why installing a water pressure regulator is a great choice. It is proven to solve water hammer problems.
As much as possible, plumbers like you have to install the water-pressure regulator at the best spot. The best spot could be the area where the main water supply usually enters the home. It will protect toilets, dishwashers, or other fixtures and appliances despite the raging water pressure.
Plumbers need to start testing water pressure as the first thing to do. Doing so, verifies if it is either higher than normal or not. Right after installing the regulators for water pressure, make some adjustments. The regulator has to be adjusted to a pressure below 50 psi.
How Plumbers Benefit from Using Project Management Software?
Advanced software applications are designed to make work easier for any laborers. In the plumbing industry, a software application is designed to make projects way efficient to handle. If anyone doesn’t use software for the business, the chances are he is doing tons of work and is wasting so much time on small things. Using the cloud-based software application, juggling all activities and tasks with the crew members is easier to manage.
There various project software management solutions available today, but only a few have impressive and consistent results/outcomes for the teams. The Pro Crew’s Construction Scheduling Software is one of the best in the market. Here are the benefits and features of this software tool.
· Real-time tracking
· Team collaboration and communication
· Cloud-based storage
· File and resources management
· Crew management
· Keep better schedules
· Delegate tasks easily
To sum it all up, experienced plumbers can easily and quickly solve such issues despite how complicated it will be. With the right tools to use and crew to collaborate with, fixing any plumbing system issues, including banging pipes, becomes less cumbersome and a lot easier and faster to solve!