Water hammer is usually described by its distinct noises that sound like: metal pipes banging, clanging, pinging, shaking, rattling, grinding, knocking, and vibrating. Most of the time you will notice the noises when you turn a tap on or off, start a dishwasher or washing machine.
Your home water system is under a high amount of water pressure, so that when you turn a tap on water flows consistently depending on how much you turn the tap on.
When the water is turned off, the water pressure is no longer flowing forward it rebounds backwards and is released through the pipe which usually are fixed or braced against an immovable object to stop the pipes from vibrating.
If your pipes are rattling it means they are not secured properly they may have come loose from the fixture or wall this is when you hear “Water Hammer” the pipes are moving as the pressure is released and they are knocking against something.
The main problem with water hammer is that it places immense pressure on pipe joins and will weaken and burst causing a much greater headache than the noise.
Older homes do not usually have the same quality or quantity of fixings to keep the pipes steady. Newer homes also have a “water hammer arrester” to assist in stopping noisy pipes.
A water hammer arrester is directly fixed onto the pipes. When the water is turned off the pressure will build up and flow into the water hammer arrester which will then dissipate through a rubber diaphragm instead of the pipe.
The longer you leave the problem the worse it will get and usually the more expensive the repair will be. The best thing you can do is get rattling pipes fixed as soon as possible to avoid damage and additional problems (weakened, burst or broken pipes). Sameday Plumbers can install a “water hammer arrester” on any problem pipes just give us a call, we'll be happy to help.