For the past few weeks, whenever I flushed the toilet, my pipes have sounded like hell with a bunch of shaking. I thought it was off, but I figured it would go away in a day or so.
Looking into it at first, I mistakenly read the noise was fine, but the more I thought about it, them more I figured that’s just not right. This was a new problem. My pipes had never made this noise. So a few nights ago I finally knuckled down to look into the issue. I dreaded doing so, though, as I didn’t want to pay a plumber to come in and fix something. Especially if it meant cutting into my walls to do so. God, the money that would come out of my pocket.
(Very) luckily for me, it turned out to be something really simple to fix; something called a water hammer. To be honest, I still don’t really understand what a water hammer is, but this kind of explains it:
Water hammer is a specific plumbing noise, not a generic name for pipe clatter. It occurs when you shut off the water suddenly and the fast-moving water rushing through the pipe is brought to a quick halt, creating a sort of shock wave and a hammering noise. Plumbing that’s properly installed has air chambers, or cushions, that compress when the shock wave hits, softening the blow and preventing this hammering. The chambers can fail, though, because water under pressure gradually absorbs the air. (Source: https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/plumbing/how-to-fix-pipes5.htm)
The fix? Turn off the main water, open up all of your faucets/washing machine/etc. and flush your toilets (basically get all the water out), and then turn back on the water.
This seemed to easy and I did it expecting the worst but hoping for the best. However, much to my surprise and glee, it did work. The first flush I did after turning the water back on I heard no noise, but I expected that to be a fluke. But it’s been a few days and still no more pipes rattling around. I’m so happy over this. I just keep thinking that if this was pre-internet, I would have paid a few hundred dollars for a plumber to turn it off and back on again. Fuck yeah, internet.
Oh, and the noise on my wall? Still gone. It was most definitely the cable box. I haven’t sent it back yet, but I’m pretty sure I will. I’m just going to take my TiVo from my bedroom and hook it up, since I never use my TiVo upstairs. Then I’m gonna send that cable box back and save $15 or $20 a month.
Unrelated (other than “BANG” in the title), Babylon A.D. was a great band in the ’80s (or maybe early ’90s) who I always felt never got the exposure they deserved. They also have another great song that would relate to this post called “Hammer Swings Down”.