What Causes Air Hammer in Water Pipes and How to Solve It

what causes air hammer in water pipes

If you’re hearing a loud banging sound in your water pipes that seems to come out of nowhere, you’re not alone. Many homeowners have experienced this phenomenon known as air hammer. It’s a frustrating problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, from high water pressure to loose pipes.

Not only is the noise annoying, but it can also cause significant damage to your plumbing system over time if left untreated. In this blog, we’ll explore the causes of air hammer in water pipes and discuss some practical solutions that can help you get rid of this pesky problem once and for all. So, sit tight and let’s unravel the mystery behind the air hammer in your water pipes!


Air hammer, also known as water hammer, happens when air gets trapped in your water pipes. It often occurs when you turn off a faucet or valve quickly and the fast-moving water tries to push through the air pocket that is trapped in the pipe. This creates a loud banging or thumping sound throughout your plumbing system.

It can also cause damage to your pipes, valves, and fittings over time. To prevent this from happening, it’s essential to identify the source of the air pocket, such as a faulty valve or a loose pipe connection, and fix it immediately. Regular maintenance of your plumbing system can also help prevent air hammer from occurring, keeping your pipes healthy and quiet.

What is Air Hammer?

Air hammer is a powerful tool that is popularly used in various industrial and construction applications. It is a handheld device that utilizes compressed air to produce a percussive force, creating a high-impact, quick impact on a metal surface. The air hammer typically comes in various shapes and sizes, and each variation is intended for specific tasks.

Often used in metalworking, auto repair, and demolition projects, an air hammer is a versatile piece of equipment capable of performing drilling, shaping, chipping, and cutting tasks with ease. Its lightweight design makes it easy to handle, and the adjustable speed and power allow precise and accurate use. Overall, the air hammer is a useful tool for anyone in the construction or manufacturing industry, allowing them to achieve their project goals with speed and accuracy.

what causes air hammer in water pipes

Why is Air Hammer a Problem?

Air hammer is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor air quality, worn-out equipment, and improper use of tools. The term “air hammer” refers to the sudden and loud bursts of air that can occur when using pneumatic tools such as air hammers, nail guns, and impact wrenches. These bursts of air can be not only disorienting but can also pose a significant risk of injury to the user and anyone nearby.

The main keyword used in this paragraph is “air hammer,” which is essential to understanding the problem’s scope and severity. If left unchecked, air hammer can lead to more serious and far-reaching consequences, making it crucial to take steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Causes of Air Hammer

Air hammer in water pipes can be a nuisance, causing banging noises and potentially damaging the plumbing system. So, what causes this problem? Simply put, air hammer occurs when air accumulates in the pipes and then gets suddenly compressed when water flow is abruptly shut off. This causes a shock wave to travel through the pipes, resulting in the banging sound that is characteristic of air hammer.

Several factors can contribute to the accumulation of air in the pipes, including improper installation of valves, worn out or damaged washers, or a malfunctioning pressure reducing valve. Additionally, sudden changes in water flow, such as turning off a tap or flushing a toilet, can exacerbate the problem. To mitigate air hammer, it is important to address the root causes, which may require the help of a professional plumber.

Options for addressing the problem include installing air chambers or water hammer arresters, which provide a cushion of compressed air to absorb the shock wave.

Water Hammer effect

The water hammer effect is a common problem in plumbing systems, which occurs when water flows through a pipe and suddenly stops, causing a loud banging noise. This noise is caused by air hammer, which is a pressure surge that occurs when water is forced to change direction suddenly. The main causes of air hammer are poorly designed or maintained plumbing systems, waterhammer arrestors not installed, and water pressure that is too high.

When a valve is closed quickly, the water in the pipe continues to flow forward, causing a wave to form. This wave then bounces back and forth against the closed valve, creating the loud banging noise. To prevent this problem, it is important to properly design and maintain plumbing systems, install waterhammer arrestors, and regulate water pressure to a safe and appropriate level.

So, it’s essential to pay attention to the causes and try to avoid them to keep your plumbing system working smoothly.

High Water Pressure

High Water Pressure One of the most common causes of air hammer is high water pressure. When the water pressure is too high, it causes the pipes in your plumbing system to vibrate and shake. These vibrations can create air pockets that eventually break loose and cause a loud banging noise.

The pressure from the water also causes the valves in your system to slam shut, which adds to the noise and impact. If left unchecked, this can not only be annoying but also cause damage to your pipes over time. To avoid air hammer caused by high water pressure, it is essential to have a pressure regulator installed on your system.

This will help to regulate the pressure and keep it at a safe and steady level, preventing any future problems. So if you have been experiencing loud banging noises in your plumbing system, consider checking your water pressure and taking steps to regulate it.

Loose Piping or Valves

One of the major causes of air hammer is loose piping or valves. When the pipes or valves are not secured, this allows air to escape and mix with water or steam. This air then creates a bubble, which is forced through the pipe at high pressure.

When the bubble reaches a closed valve or a bend in the pipe, it causes a loud banging noise, known as air hammer. Loose piping or valves can occur due to a number of reasons, including poor installation and maintenance, corrosion, vibrations, and temperature fluctuations. It is important to address loose piping or valves as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the system and reduce the risk of accidents.

Regular inspections and maintenance can help identify and rectify loose piping or valve issues before they cause serious problems. By fixing these issues promptly, you can ensure the safety and efficiency of your plumbing system, and reduce the likelihood of noisy and disruptive air hammer occurrences.

Faulty Valves

Air hammer is a troubling problem for many households. Faulty valves are one of the common causes of air hammer. When your home’s plumbing system does not have proper water flow regulation, water flow that was rushing through the pipes becomes suddenly stopped or altered.

This sudden change in the water flow sends shockwaves throughout your plumbing system and leads to the familiar banging noise known as air hammer. Faulty valves whether they are located within your plumbing system or in the washing machine or dishwasher are the primary culprits of this problem. It is essential to get a licensed plumber to inspect and diagnose the problem precisely.

They can quickly fix the valves or replace them, preventing the annoying sound and further damage to the plumbing system. Remember, a minor problem today can turn into a significant issue tomorrow if not handled correctly.

How to Fix Air Hammer

Have you ever experienced that banging sound coming from your water pipes every time you turn your faucet on or off? This is what we call air hammer or water hammer. The primary cause of this annoying noise is the presence of air in your water pipes. When water flows through your pipes, it disrupts the air causing the hammering sound.

To fix this issue, turn off your main water supply, then open all the faucets in your home to drain out the water. Next, shut off the lowest faucet in your home, and then turn the main water supply back on. Finally, open all the faucets in your home one at a time, starting from the highest level to the lowest until the water runs smoothly.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your water pipes are free from air pockets and that you won’t experience air hammer again.

Reduce Water Pressure

Reducing water pressure can be an effective solution for fixing air hammer problems. Air hammer, also known as water hammer, is a banging sound that occurs when water flow is abruptly stopped or changed direction. The sound is caused by the pressure of the water rushing through the pipes without anywhere to go.

To reduce water pressure, you can adjust your home’s main water valve or install a pressure-reducing valve. These fixtures provide a steady and controlled flow of water, preventing sudden changes in pressure that cause air hammer. It’s important to note that excessively high water pressure not only causes air hammer but can also damage pipes, fixtures, and appliances.

Regular maintenance and inspections by a professional plumber can help identify any potential issues early on and prevent costly repairs down the road. So, if you’re experiencing air hammer, consider reducing your water pressure to solve the problem.

Air Chambers

Air chambers in plumbing are designed to absorb shock and reduce water hammer, but they can also cause problems like air hammer. When air gets trapped in the air chambers, it can create loud banging noises in your pipes when you turn off the water. To fix air hammer, you need to drain the water from your pipes and refill them to force the air out of the chambers.

This can be done by turning off the main water supply, opening all of the faucets in your home, and then turning the water back on. Alternatively, you can install a water hammer arrestor on your plumbing system to prevent air hammer from occurring in the first place. Whatever method you choose, it is important to address air hammer quickly to prevent damage to your plumbing system.

Check and Tighten Piping and Valves

Air hammer is a common problem faced by homeowners and can be quite irritating due to the loud banging sound. Fortunately, fixing this issue is relatively easy and can be done by checking and tightening the piping and valves. Air hammer occurs when water in the pipes is abruptly stopped and flows back, causing air to be trapped and creating a hammering sound.

To fix it, check for loose pipes and make sure they are tightened. Additionally, make sure all valves are fully open since partially closed valves can cause water hammer too. Other measures that can be taken include installing water shock absorbers or air chambers to reduce water pressure and avoid air buildup.

By taking these steps, you can effectively fix the air hammer issue and enjoy a quieter household.

Install Water Hammer Arrestors

If you’ve ever experienced the loud banging noise that comes from turning your faucet off, then you know how frustrating it can be. This phenomenon is known as water hammer, and it occurs when the water flow in your pipes comes to an abrupt stop, causing the pipes to shake and bang together. Not only is this noise annoying, but it can also cause damage to your plumbing system over time.

The good news is that fixing air hammer is relatively simple. Installing water hammer arrestors can help prevent the noise and protect your pipes. These small devices absorb the shockwave caused by the water flow and provide a cushion for the pipes.

They’re easy to install and will save you from potential plumbing headaches down the road. So, the next time you hear that loud banging noise when turning off your faucet, don’t ignore it. Installing water hammer arrestors can alleviate the problem and give you peace of mind.


In conclusion, the mysterious and oftentimes frustrating phenomenon of air hammer in water pipes is caused by the simple yet powerful combination of air bubbles and sudden changes in fluid velocity. This results in a shockwave that can rattle even the most sturdy of plumbing systems. So, the next time you hear that unsettling clanging noise, remember that it’s not a ghost in your walls, but rather the physics of air and water doing their thing.


What is air hammer in water pipes?
Air hammer is a loud banging or vibrating noise that occurs in water pipes when water is turned on or off.

How does air hammer occur?
Air hammer occurs when water flow in the pipes suddenly changes direction, causing air to become trapped and compressed.

What are the consequences of air hammer in water pipes?
Air hammer can cause damage to pipes, fittings, and appliances, and can also be a nuisance due to its loud noise.

How can air hammer be prevented?
Air hammer can be prevented by installing air chambers or water hammer arrestors, which provide a cushion for the air to compress into and release slowly.

Can air hammer be fixed without professional help?
Yes, air hammer can be fixed by turning off the water supply, draining the pipes, and opening the faucets in the affected area to release the trapped air.

Is air hammer dangerous?
Air hammer is not inherently dangerous, but it can cause damage to your plumbing system and appliances if left unchecked.

How often should air chambers or water hammer arrestors be checked?
Air chambers or water hammer arrestors should be checked every year to ensure they are functioning properly and prevent air hammer from occurring.

Rate this post
Scroll to Top