How to stop pipe 'water hammer'

Q. What makes water pipes bang and chatter when the water is turned off? Can this problem be remedied without changing the faucets? William Ayres Escondido, Calif.

A. The noise you mention is called "water hammer" and is triggered when the faucet is suddenly shut off and the water literally strikes the valve like a hammer. The remedy lies in installing a water-hammer arrester, which cushions the shock of a sudden faucet turnoff.

Check with your plumber for the cost of installing a water-hammer arrester so you will no longer be bugged by noisy faucets.

Note: Some water-hammer noises can be wiped out by reducing the water pressure on the house side of the meter, if practical.

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