Water hammer and pressure problems

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Question No. 1

Robert,

We developed water hammer about two and a half months ago, and have been unable to get rid of it (a plumbing problem in which a knocking noise in a water pipe that can happen when a tap is quickly shut off).

Following the water hammer onset we developed a number of strange plumbing problems and I need to determine if these are related to the water hammer. My plumber has told me that water hammer is almost impossible to solve.

I need to find out if this is true or I need a new plumber. Just some general information. House was built in 1969. We have lived in the house since 1972 with no water hammer issues. We re-plumbed the house in 1991, with good quality copper pipes. We have been told pipes are still in good condition. In 1994 added a third bath upstairs right over the two bathrooms downstairs.

Prior to this, the upstairs was just one large bonus room the shower in this bath is rarely used. The following is the sequence of events:

  1.  Mid-Sept., Culligan replaced the used soft water tank for a full one. During this process, I heard the water hammering start during the replacement process and it has continued to the present.
  2. About 10 days later, a product called a Heater Treater attached to our Noritz Tankless sprung a leak where attached to the pipe and was removed. This had only been installed for five months. The plumber informed me that I had water hammer, and it was not easily solved. I checked out some things and everything was fine
  3. I then contacted Culligan since the problem started with their tank replacement, and they sent someone out. He replaced the bypass system, O rings and screen. Also installed a hose bib to flush soft water tank before attachment. We had been getting a lot of visible resin in our water. Also added a water hammer arrestor and discovered water pressure too low and needed a new pressure regulator. Water hammer got slightly better for a while. I was very surprised that Culligan did all this since customer service had been very poor. This makes me suspect them as the cause of the problem. The serviceman that came told me they were having many problems.
  4. Called Valencia Water regarding the water pressure problem. They had turned off the water for over 10 hours in August. They sent someone out and he discovered we had no pressure regulator.
  5. Plumber installed pressure regulator and set at 60 psi, but this pressure was too low, but water hammer was fainter. Pressure reset to 75 psi which was better, but water hammer became louder. I told the plumber I was having problems getting hot water from the Noritz first thing in the morning. Some mornings I would have it and other mornings it took too long. The Noritz is in the garage and have had for 2 1/2 years and never had this problem before. The lack of hot water was not related to outside temperatures. The plumber had no solution. The timer is properly set.
  6. Woke up at 2:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning to water leaking out of a heating light fixture in the toilet/shower area of our master bath. It leaked for about 45 minutes. Leaked just continuous drops and not that heavy. Turned off water outside and next morning called a local plumber. The plumber mentioned above does not do emergency work. Once we had a plumber on site, we turned on the water and there was no leak. They told us to leave water on and turn off at bedtime and turn on again in the morning. Still no leak.

I have had experience with larger plumbing companies sending me inexperienced trainees who cause problems. I am not sure that the second plumbing company sent me a licensed plumber.

Please give me the name of a plumber you would recommend. Also do you have any opinion regarding whole house water systems? Life Source has been recommended. Do you have any knowledge of them? I cannot tell you how important your service and Signal column are. You have rescued so many people from costly mistakes. If only you had been here 50 years ago when we first became homeowners.

Many thanks,

Linda M.

Answer No. 1

Linda,

Good morning and thank you for being a reader.

It seems that you may want to have an expansion tank put in, to absorb this hammering. If your plumber has looked into everything and been thorough, then the only thing I can think of is the expansion tank. The pressure cannot be set over 80 PSI.

You may want to call another plumber to get his thoughts on the situation, let them know I referred you and my suggestion, and see what they might come up with. Without being there in person and seeing for myself, I don’t want to chase you all over the place so I think getting another opinion and mentioning the expansion tank is best.

Best of luck,

Robert

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