banging sounds when you close the tap is a pressure wave

Do you hear loud bangs when turning taps on and off or a washing machine or dishwasher is running?

This is “water hammer“. It occurs when a valve inside your pipe suddenly closes – you turned off the tap for example –  causing the flow of water to abruptly stop. The bang or noise comes from the pressure wave slamming into the valve.

banging pipes are caused by a shockwave when you turn off the tap

Images courtesy of Phoenix tapware

Why is it happening?

There are a number of causes:

  • water pipes poor installed
  • washing machine solenoid valves opening and closing as they let small amounts of water through
  • faulty tap washers moving up and down
  • high water pressure
  • some mixer taps

Can I ignore it?

In short, no. Not only is it annoying, it will put pressure on expensive appliances like hot water heaters and dishwashers (therefore shortening their life) but also cause tap leaks, and joints/seals to fail.

All-righty then, what to do?

You can either call your Pipe Perfection plumber and we’ll visit your home in the inner west and eastern suburbs to work through the diagnostic process.

If you are Mr or Ms Handy and like to give DIY a go, you could try the following:

  • check and secure your rattling pipes
  • replace your tap washers – especially if you have ceramic ones
  • try a different mixer tap

If this sounds all too hard or you have tried and not managed to fix it, we can help. When our Sydney plumbers attend , they will do one or some of these:

  • assess all of the open valves to see which is causing the problem (hot water heaters, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and the main shut off valve at the front of the house.)
  • install an arrestor, a small air chamber that allows water to pass through more easily
  • check pipework for rattling and secure it
  • test water pressure and if too high, install a pressure limiting valve