What You Need To Know About Water Hammer Arrestors

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Water Hammer Arrestor Diagram
Water Hammer Arrestor Diagram

How To Water Hammer Arrestors Work?

In this world of entropy, where whatever continuously gets more complex instead of less, water hammer arrestors are no exception. For the new engineers and designers who might be reading this post, water hammer arrestors are devices that soak up the pressure wave, or water hammer, that happens when a quick closing valve shuts and rapidly stops the circulation of water. The industry tests pressure transducers of the effect of water hammer, and it can easily spike for a little while to 500 psi just from the rapid closure of a kitchen or bathroom faucet with an average shut off. Paradoxically, a lever style area faucet is not a place where you would offer a water hammer arrestor due to the fact that it is not considered a quick closing valve, however that of course depends on how fast you close it.

Years ago water hammer arrestors were consisted of air chambers that were a capped piece of pipe installed vertically and filled with air. The air offers the cushion to take in that water hammer. Because air is soluble in water, with time these air chambers would end up being flooded since all the air would be absorbed into the water. Once flooded, the air chamber is no longer an air chamber however a water chamber and will no longer absorb the pressure from water hammer. (Remember, water is incompressible.).

Due to this anomaly, old fashioned air chambers required a drain and gain access to such that they could be drained pipes of water and filled with air regularly in order to operate as meant. This of course was upkeep intensive.

In the mid 70s water hammer arrestors started manufacture as a stainless-steel bellows inside a steel outer housing. This gadget, produced by Zurn, Smith, Mifab and others, functioned as a shock arrester that was maintenance totally free, because it utilized the expansion and contraction of the bellows to absorb the shock and did not rely on an air/water user interface. Some years later on, another gadget was developed by PPP, Sioux Chief and others that used a piston inside a copper pipe chamber that moves up and down in response to pressure variations, and like the bellows, is upkeep totally free.

The design of these do not require access to because they are upkeep complimentary unlike the air chambers of old ones. Recently some of the local plumbing inspectors are needing access. The UPC is a little gray on this subject considering that it referrals installation per the manufacturer’s recommendations, and the manufacturers normally state that they are upkeep free so gain access to is not needed.

The sizing and positioning of the devices are dictated quite particularly by the various manufacturers, so you have to refer to their literature to perform this task. The requirement (or lack thereof) for the devices is far less particular and often a subject of hot dispute.

The general guideline in NC is that water hammer arrestors are required on all fast closing valves. Solenoid valves, the electronic snap-action valves that manage water flow to sensing unit faucets, dishwashers, washing makers, ice makers and coffee machines, are all fast closing valves requiring water hammer arrestors– or do they? The code states water hammer arrestor shall not be required on any valves where plastic pipe is used for water distribution piping, indicates that they are not required for PVC and PEX.

Water Hammer Arrestor on Water Lines
Water Hammer Arrestor on Water Lines

We don’t normally see water hammer arrestors on coffee machines and fridge ice makers due to the fact that the circulation rate is small, the velocity is low, and traditionally they are never ever a problem. A washing maker has a much greater flow speed so the possibility of their necessity is much greater-or is it?. Washing machines are fed by rubber hose pipe connections between the unit and the wall supply. If these hoses are fairly versatile, chances are they will take in the potential water hammer prior to it goes back to the piping system. But since as the engineer you have no control over the kind of pipes utilized as the washer supply, you would be absurd not to set up water hammer arrestors. For the exact same factor, a garden hose does not produce water hammer even if it is closed rapidly with a spring release trigger.

Flush valves are another gray area when it pertains to water hammer arrestors, however again, you would be silly not to define them. Flush valves do not utilize solenoid valves to control the water flow, it is controlled by either a diaphragm or a piston, depending on the type of flush valve. Do these valves close quickly? The answer is “somewhat.” They do not close as rapidly as an electronic solenoid, but the relative circulation speed is much greater than for a lavatory faucet, and a significant water hammer can take place depending on the valve operation and the pressure. I have actually heard flush valves– particularly older designs– literally rattle the walls.

South End Plumbing specializes in all plumbing services, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in video sewer line inspection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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