After flushing the toilet, you expect that the water goes down and the fill valve closes quietly. However, you notice that after the fill valve shuts off, there is a loud bang in your pipes. What is that? That is called a water hammer. How to stop water hammer when toilet fill valve closes? It is a process that starts with opening up the cold water faucets and letting them drain. Let’s take a look at the process.
What is Water Hammer
Water hammer is water that is moving along and slams into a valve that closes. Then the water goes from the water to the pipe and into the frame of the home. Also, if the pipes are loose or not attached properly, then they will move. This sound is loud and echoes through all the plumbing in the home. This happens during the filling process of a flush.
Water hammer is found usually with washing machines, dishwashers, toilet valves, and faucets and can happen because of faucet washers that are worn or damaged. Also, when there is build-up on minerals and rust that are inside shut-off valves. These are in the walls of the home.
Let’s look at how to stop this from happening.
How to Stop Water Hammer
- Shut off the main water supply to the house
- Starting with the highest floor in your home and working your way to the bottom level, open the cold water faucets.
- Now, flush all the toilets that are in your home.
- Water will drain from the open faucets. Wait for about 20-30 minutes.
- Turn the main water supply back on.
- Then, wait 5-10 minutes so the faucets can create a strong flow of water.
- Starting on the lowest level of your home and working your way up to the top level, close the cold water faucets and the toilets will refill.
- When you have all faucets closed and the toilets have filled, flush the toilets. This will allow you to listen for water hammer.
To control water hammer, you will need to have permanent air chambers or water hammer arrestors or both of them installed.
Permanent Air Chamber
This is a vertical section of copper pipe. On the end of it is a cap and it attaches to the supply line with a T- fitting. This supply line is near a shutoff valve or appliance. Installed on hot and cold water lines, it is filled with air and absorbs the force of the water.
This is usually installed during construction of the home in the walIs, however, you may still experience water hammer. This is because the air in the chambers is absorbed by the water over time. Sometimes there are difficulties with these because of the space they take up so it is necessary to use a water hammer arrestor.
Water Hammer Arrestor
This is an alternative to the air chamber and can be installed in a home during new construction or when an air chamber isn’t working out in your home. An arrestor has an air bladder and spring and can absorb the force of moving water. However, it may not give the protection needed if there are pumps and shutoff valves on the same line. They are used in commercial and residential settings and never have to be recharged.
If this isn’t working, focus next on the toilet.
- Shutoff valve must be open all the way by turning the handle counter clockwise.
- Flush the toilet and see if the noise has stopped.
- If you still hear the noise, turn it clockwise to close the valve.
- Open the valve and flush it again. If there is debris stuck inside the valve, this will help get it out.
If this doesn’t work, it could be the washer inside the valve is damaged, or you may need to replace the shutoff valve. The fill valve in the toilet tank may need replacing as well. Replacing these may fix your problem.
How Much Does It Cost
Washer – about $8-10 for a package of 100
Shutoff Valve – about $25
Fill valve – about $12
Water hammer arrestor – $15 and up
You may be able to take care of these on your own by purchasing them at the local hardware store or online. However, you will need to know what you are doing. If you want to hire a professional to do this for you, keep in mind the labor charges can be $75 and higher per hour.
Other Recommended Maintenance
While you are looking into how to stop a water hammer, consider also reading up on why my toilet makes a whistling sound. You might be able to solve both the water hammer and whistling sound with the same repair.
Also, if you notice that the water is not flowing freely in the sink, you may need to increase the water pressure. This can be done by checking the aerator or looking for a blockage in the faucet or in the pipes.
Lastly, if you notice that there is a sewage smell in your bathroom, it may be from the Jacuzzi tub, shower drain, sink, or toilet. It is important to find out what is causing the smell and fix it quickly.
When Should I Call A Professional
Issues with plumbing and toilets, in general, is never fun. Unless you know what you are doing, it is worth spending the money for a professional. Calling a professionally licensed plumbing contractor allows you to save time and money on your plumbing projects. They will get the job done quickly, figure out what is causing the issue and correct it. Consider calling on your local home inspection team to get a thorough home inspection, which can include your plumbing.
Finding the cause and the fix for a water hammer issue can be difficult on your own. There can be several reasons for this issue as mentioned above. Contacting your local home inspection team to determine if you have other plumbing concerns is a great idea at this point. Waypoint Inspection can conduct a home inspection in your home in Tampa and Central Florida.