Some of the most common plumbing problems arise as noisy water pipes, sinks, drains, and faucets. This problem is often referred to as fluid hammer because, when water is turned off, the pipes can sound like a hammer has hit them. All plumbing systems use small air-reservoirs called arrestors that act like cushions to reduce vibrations and other loud noises such as this. Fluid hammer occurs when these arrestors are filled with liquid and they must be drained in order to fix the banging. Fortunately, nearly anyone with a crescent wrench and a flat-head screwdriver can save money on service fees by fixing it themselves by following a short guide.
- Locate Your Water Main: Every house comes equipped with a main shutoff valve that stops water from running to it. It is generally located on the sidewalk in front of the home and can be identified by the heavy grate that covers it. You will need to pry this lid up with a flat-head screwdriver to expose the mechanism, which includes the valve and a simple meter to indicate water-flow.
- Turn-Off the Water: At this point, you will need to use your crescent wrench to turn the valve to the off position. You should position the valve so that it is aligned perpendicularly with the water line itself. You will know the water is off when the flow-meter stops registering use on its dial. At this point, there will be no water flowing from your water pipes to your sinks, drains, and faucets.
- Drain the Water: Now that the water supply is blocked, you need to drain it from the pipes by turning faucets on. You should pick two faucets to turn on so one can act as an intake for air while the other will act as an outlet for all the water in the lines. It is generally best to use two faucets of different heights above the ground so the highest one can more easily act as an air intake.
- Turn the Faucets Off: Once all the water has been evacuated from the system, you should turn the faucets back off. This keeps the water from pushing all the air back out of the pipes when turned back on.
- Turn the Water Main On: At this point, you should return to the main shutoff valve at the street and realign the valve with the pipe. This will allow water to flow to the home again, which should be indicated with new motion in the meter next to the valve.
At this point, any noise coming through your water pipes, sinks, drains, and faucets should be gone. If the problem persists, you may have a leak somewhere or some other problem forcing the arrestor to drain. If this guide did not sufficiently eliminate your fluid hammer problem and you live in the Los Angeles area, Rooters On Time is only a phone call away and can send a certified plumber to provide any extra assistance you may need.