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What's That Loud Banging When Pipes Shut Off?

Waterline Parallel Valve Tight
Pipes can make a lot of noise. Some pipes screech, others clang against one another, and others still make a banging noise when they turn off. That banging noise can be a big problem if it's allowed to continue. Knowing what causes the hammering and what you can do to fix the problem can help you take care of your home's plumbing. 
The Banging Noise is Probably a Water Hammer
A water hammer is a noise that occurs when water that is flowing through a pipe suddenly and unexpectedly reaches a dead end. Usually, this dead end is a valve that has been suddenly shut off. When this happens, water slams against the closed valve and a loud banging noise is the result. 
Water Hammers Can Damage Pipes
Loud noises in pipes are more than just annoying; they're also damaging. Over time, the force of the water hitting the end of the valve can cause pipes to become weak. Leaks can occur in pipes with water hammers, especially at the joints and connections between the pipes.
Water leaks can damage walls, flooring, and even the structure of your home. A leak that does not get repaired properly can even cause mold to grow in your walls and floors. If you can fix the leak without repairing the water hammer, then the leak is likely to happen again in the future.
You Can Fix Your Home's Water Hammer on Your Own
Fixing a water hammer is relatively easy. To fix the problem, you'll need to drain the pipes of all water and allow the pipes to fill with air. Start by turning off the water supply to the home. You can find the main water shut-off valve outside or inside the home.
The valve should be on-grade, which means it will be near the ground. If you're in a basement, the valve will be closer to the ceiling than the floor. If you're on the first floor of your home, the valve will be closer to the ground. Sometimes the main shut-off valve is found behind an access panel in the wall.  
Once the water is shut off, open the highest drains in the house and move your way to the lowest drains until all the drains are open. Then go back and flush all the toilets and let the showers and bathtubs run. This will drain your home's plumbing. When the water stops flowing, this means all the water in the pipes is gone.
Draining the pipes allows the air chambers in your home's plumbing to re-fill with air. This air serves as a cushion that prevents the water from slamming into the pipes when they stop. Once you drain the water, close the faucets starting with the lowest faucets in the house. When all the faucets have been turned on, turn on the water main.
To finish refilling the pipes with water, turn on all the faucets in the house starting with the highest faucets. Flush toilets and turn on the shower and bathtub. You can stop draining water when it has refilled all the pipes, and all the faucets are running water. 
Other Reasons Your Home's Plumbing Makes a Noise 
Noises that happen while the water is running could be the result of high water pressure or loose pipes somewhere in the home. If you can't find the source of the problem, contact a plumber for help. Banging and clanging are an indication that your home's pipes are being knocked around while they're in use. Just like a water hammer, this can degrade your pipes and cause problems down the road.
If Draining Your Pipes Doesn't Work, Call a Professional
If you've drained your home's pipes and the hammering noise remains a problem, you may need a water arrestor. Contact a local plumbing company in your area. A reputable plumber can help you take care of the problem and fix your home's pipes.
If you have questions about water hammers, their cause, and how to fix them, A-1 Brown Plumbing Repair can help. Give us a call today! 
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A-1 Brown Plumbing Repair

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