Understanding Water Hammer Arrestors: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Water Hammer Arrestors: A Comprehensive Guide

June 10, 2024

Water hammer, a common plumbing issue, is more than just an annoying noise; it can lead to significant damage to your plumbing system. This phenomenon occurs when a sudden change in water flow causes a pressure surge, resulting in a loud banging noise within the pipes. The solution to this problem lies in installing a water hammer arrestor. In this article, we will delve into the functionality, importance, types, and installation of water hammer arrestors, ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of this essential plumbing device.

What is a Water Hammer Arrestor?

A water hammer arrestor is a device designed to absorb the shock wave caused by sudden water stoppage, thereby preventing the loud banging noise and potential damage to the plumbing system. It typically consists of a chamber filled with air or gas, which compresses to absorb the shock wave, ensuring smooth water flow.

The Importance of Water Hammer Arrestors

Water hammer arrestors play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and longevity of your plumbing system. Here are a few reasons why they are essential:

  1. Prevention of Pipe Damage: Repeated water hammer can weaken pipe joints, causing leaks and bursts. An arrestor helps mitigate this risk.
  2. Reduction of Noise: The banging noise caused by water hammer can be disruptive. An arrestor eliminates this noise, providing a quieter environment.
  3. Protection of Appliances: Sudden pressure surges can damage water-using appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. Water hammer arrestors protect these appliances, ensuring their longevity.
  4. Maintenance of Water Pressure: By controlling pressure surges, arrestors help maintain consistent water pressure throughout the plumbing system.


Types of Water Hammer Arrestors

There are various types of water hammer arrestors, each designed to cater to different plumbing needs and systems. Here are the most common types:

  1. Piston-Type Arrestors: These are the most widely used and consist of a piston that moves within a chamber to absorb the shock wave. They are durable and effective in a wide range of applications.
  2. Bladder-Type Arrestors: These use a flexible bladder filled with air or gas to absorb the shock. They are ideal for residential applications due to their compact size.
  3. Mechanical Arrestors: These use a combination of springs and diaphragms to absorb shock. They are highly effective and can be used in both residential and commercial settings.
  4. Inline Arrestors: These are installed directly into the plumbing system, making them ideal for retrofit applications. They are versatile and can be used in various plumbing configurations.


How to Install a Water Hammer Arrestor

Installing a water hammer arrestor is a relatively straightforward process, but it requires some basic plumbing knowledge. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Identify the Location: The arrestor should be installed as close as possible to the source of the water hammer, such as near the washing machine or dishwasher.
  2. Shut off the Water Supply: Before starting the installation, ensure the water supply to the area is turned off to prevent any leaks.
  3. Cut the Pipe: Using a pipe cutter, cut the pipe where the arrestor will be installed. Make sure the cut is clean and smooth.
  4. Install the Arrestor: Depending on the type of arrestor, either screw it onto the pipe threads or solder it in place. Ensure all connections are tight and secure.
  5. Turn on the Water Supply: Once the arrestor is installed, turn the water supply back on and check for any leaks. Ensure the arrestor is functioning correctly by running water through the system.


Maintenance and Longevity

Water hammer arrestors are generally low-maintenance devices. However, it is essential to periodically check them to ensure they are functioning correctly. Over time, the air or gas chamber can lose its charge, reducing the effectiveness of the arrestor. In such cases, recharging or replacing the arrestor may be necessary.


Water hammer arrestors are vital for any plumbing system, offering protection against pipe damage, noise, and appliance wear and tear. By understanding the different types and installation processes, homeowners can ensure their plumbing systems remain efficient and durable. Investing in a quality water hammer arrestor, such as those available at Binex, is a wise decision for anyone looking to maintain a well-functioning plumbing system.

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