Water Hammer & Noisy Pipes are Not Just Annoying, They Are an Early Warning Detection Shockwave to BIGGER Issues

water hammer taps
Quick closing mixer taps can create shock waves in pipes leading to water hammer

Water hammer that is noticeable occurs with copper water pipes. But plastic water pipes also suffer from water hammer, and it’s just harder to hear it.

Plumbing is essentially the movement of water through pipes. It, therefore, has the potential to be noise creating and create what is referred to as water hammer. This noise is generated primarily by:

  • High water pressure
  • Quick closing mixer taps
  • Quick closing solenoid valves
  • Faulty or worn brass seats in taps
  • Broken tap washers
  • Air locks in pipes
  • Shock waves in pipes


There are three very common noise complaints with water piping systems being:

  • Sharp banging or hammering sounds coming from pipes
  • A loud bang from a valve or tap
  • Audible ticking sounds that diminish after the tap is turned on


An intense banging or hammering is a result of broken taps or broken tap washers or poor clipping of pipes. Excessive water pressure can accentuate all of these causes as water pressure legally cannot exceed 500kPa inside the building. The ticking sound can build up then diminish and are in fact the sounds generated by pipe expansion. This is caused by the pipe heating up when the hot tap is turned on as the hot water replaces the cold water and then cools down.

All of the sounds commonly referred to as water hammer tend to be highlighted in copper water pipes. Water hammer still exists in plastic piping systems, but frequently it is diminished significantly as the plastic pipe absorbs the sounds.

Very simply water hammer creates a shock-wave that ricochet’s back from the valve through what is now a stable water supply. The shock-wave creates enormous pressure moving at 1280 meters per second. Your plumbing reticulation pipes, taps, valves and appliances are all susceptible to damage caused by the impact of shock waves even if you hear no noise. The noise is essentially an early warning system telling you to rectify the problem before damage occurs.

Water hammer is avoidable and can be rectified regardless of whether you have copper or plastic water reticulation piping. It is worth getting your system checked to prevent damage occurring so call Whywait Plumbing now on (07) 5580 4311 to schedule a water hammer check up.