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Water Hammer Arresters: What Are They and Why Are They Important?

If you've ever heard a loud banging noise when you turn off a faucet or shut off a washing machine, you may have experienced water hammer. Water hammer is a common problem in plumbing systems that can lead to damage to pipes and fixtures over time. Fortunately, water hammer arresters can help prevent this problem.

Water hammer arresters are devices that are installed in plumbing systems to prevent the sudden pressure spikes that cause water hammer. The device contains a piston or diaphragm that compresses air or gas as water flows through the system. When the water flow is suddenly stopped, the compressed air or gas absorbs the shock, preventing the pressure spike that causes the water hammer.

Water hammer arresters can be installed at the point where the water supply enters a fixture or appliance, such as a washing machine or dishwasher, or at the main water supply line to the building. They come in different sizes and configurations, depending on the specific application.

Why Are Water Hammer Arresters Important?

Water hammers can cause damage to pipes, fittings, and fixtures over time. The repeated shock of the pressure spikes can cause joints to loosen, pipes to rupture, and fixtures to break. Over time, the damage can lead to leaks, water damage, and costly repairs.

Water hammer arresters are important because they prevent the pressure spikes that cause water hammer, protecting the plumbing system and its components from damage. They also improve the lifespan of fixtures and appliances, reducing the need for frequent repairs and replacements.

How to Install and Maintain Water Hammer Arresters

Installing water hammer arresters is best left to a licensed plumber or contractor. The device must be installed at the correct location and orientation to work properly. If installed incorrectly, the water hammer arrester may not function as intended or may even cause more problems.

Maintaining water hammer arresters is relatively easy. The device should be inspected periodically for signs of damage or leaks. If the device is leaking or damaged, it should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent water hammering from occurring.

Water hammer arresters are an essential component of modern plumbing systems. They prevent the sudden pressure spikes that cause water hammers, protecting pipes, fittings, and fixtures from damage. By understanding the importance of water hammer arresters and how to install and maintain them, homeowners and plumbers can ensure that their plumbing systems are reliable and long-lasting.

In commercial applications, there are several types of water hammer arrestors available.

common types:

Piston-Type Water Hammer Arrestor: This type of arrestor consists of a sealed chamber with a piston inside. When a water hammer occurs, the piston moves to absorb the shock wave and prevent it from propagating further into the plumbing system. Piston-type arrestors are effective in reducing water hammer noise and protecting pipes and fixtures.

Diaphragm-Type Water Hammer Arrestor: Diaphragm arrestors use a flexible rubber diaphragm that separates air and water within the chamber. When a water hammer occurs, the diaphragm flexes, absorbing the shock wave. Diaphragm-type arrestors are reliable and easy to install, making them a popular choice for commercial applications.

Air Chamber Water Hammer Arrestor: An air chamber is a simple and cost-effective water hammer arrestor that relies on a vertical pipe extension. It is installed near quick-closing valves, such as faucets or flush valves, and serves as a cushion of air that absorbs the pressure surge during water hammer events. While air chambers can be effective, they may require periodic maintenance to ensure they remain air-filled.

Expansion Tank Water Hammer Arrestor: Expansion tanks are commonly used in heating systems, but they can also act as water hammer arrestors. These tanks have a rubber bladder that expands and contracts to accommodate changes in water volume caused by thermal expansion. The bladder absorbs pressure surges during water hammer events, providing protection to the plumbing system.

Combination Arrestors: Some water hammer arrestors combine different mechanisms to provide enhanced protection. These combination arrestors may incorporate both a piston and a diaphragm or a piston and an air chamber, providing multiple layers of shock absorption and noise reduction.

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