Water hammer

If you throw a tennis ball against a wall, it bounces back.

The same occurs with water running through a pipe. As it moves, it will “hit” items in the network. The water “bounces” back – water hammer.

Water hammer can do a lot of damage including rupturing pipeline and fittings.


The two main causes of water hammer are:

  • a sudden closing valve

  • a sudden pump shut off due to electricity failure


How to reduce water hammer

  • for a closed system such as a mainline, keep the water velocity at safe levels (e.g. below 2.5 m/sec)

  • secure the pipe network

  • include spring-loaded check valves

  • use fast-acting pressure relief valves

  • use a water hammer anticipator device

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