Find out why water hammer is not only annoying, but can cause serious damage as well. Learn what causes it and get tips on how to fix it.
LESLIE: Well, we’ve talked a lot on the show about water hammer and how, for the most part, it’s really just more annoying than anything else.
TOM: However, that loud banging can eventually lead to problems with your plumbing system, including leaks. We’re going to get the lowdown on how to fix it, from This Old House  host, Kevin O’Connor  and plumbing expert, Richard Tretheway .
And Kevin, this is a situation that when your house speaks, sometimes it’s best to listen and take a little action.
KEVIN: If you hear a loud banging noise every time you shut the water off, it’s called a water hammer . And it’s not just annoying; it can actually cause serious damage.
RICH: That’s right. Water hammer can eventually cause damage to the pipes and catastrophic leaks. Water hammer is caused by a valve that closes very quickly. You might find it inside of a clothes washer, a dishwasher or even a toilet.
Now to fix it, first you want to secure all the accessible pipes. That might mean hangers and clips to hold that pipe in place. And then you want to consider potentially a water hammer arrestor. They also call it a shock suppressor.
KEVIN: And how do those work?
RICH: Well, it’s really pretty simple. It’s an air-filled chamber with a rubber diaphragm to absorb the shock that’s inside that water. It’s much like a shock absorber on your automobile.
KEVIN: Alright. And you installed one for us. And to see a video of that installation, visit us at ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And whenever that water hammer occurs, man, you can hear it throughout the entire house because there is nothing that transmits sounds faster than those copper pipes.
RICH: When I hear it most is when I’m trying to go to sleep.
TOM: (chuckling) I know how that is. Richard, Kevin, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. Great tips.
KEVIN: Our pleasure. We’ll talk to you next week.
LESLIE: Thanks, guys. You know, it’s good to know that there are relatively simple solutions to what seems like a huge problem but, really, it’s just noise.
TOM: And for more simple solutions to your home improvement questions, you might want to watch This Old House on TV, which is brought to you by Cub Cadet. Cub Cadet – you can’t get any better.