What causes pounding in hot-water pipes?

January 29, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Plumbing

The pounding and banging in hot-water and steam pipes is called water hammer or hydraulic shock. This snapping noise is produced by moving water thrown against the sides of the pipes when hot steam comes in contact with cooler water and condenses suddenly.

A clanking sound is produced when a water pipe is hit with a hammer. Water is incompressible and acts like a hammer when a valve is closed. Flowing water rams against a closed valve and rattles the pipe as if it were a rod of solid metal.

Water hammer may be caused by various conditions. Early in the morning when steam is suddenly turned into cold pipes water hammer is almost unavoidable.

Usually, however, it is caused by some defect in the heating system, such as a radiator tipped the wrong way, by a partly closed valve or by high pressure.

There are on the market mechanical devices designed to eliminate water hammer.

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