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Is water hammer in pipes harmful?

Updated February 21, 2017

Water hammer is a noisy plumbing issue. This condition causes pipes to knock and bang. The sounds range from a single bang to a series of noises.

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What's That Noise?

The noises are created by pipes knocking into each other or knocking into other objects, such as bricks, sinks and fixtures. The harder the blow, the louder the noise.


The cause of water hammer is a sudden build-up of pressure in the pipes. This is usually caused by the sudden closing of a valve, as happens when a sink is turned off quickly.

Potential Harm

Water hammer can be harmful to plumbing. The pressure which creates the sound also creates high pressure within the pipes.

Resulting Damage

The damage that can result in the pipes takes time to occur. However, with repeated bouts of high pressure, pipes and joints will give and start leaking.


Since the cause of water hammer is high pressure, the best solution to the problem is to relieve that pressure. Relieving the pressure will prevent the damage.

Relieving The Pressure

Replacing the faulty valve that closes too quickly will relieve the pressure. Installing an air valve is another solution.

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About the Author

Christy P
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