Yes, a bad shower cartridge can cause a water hammer. You’ll find many people online complaining about the development of a water hammer in their home shortly after changing up their shower cartridge, so you’re not alone. However, the shower cartridge is not the only suspect if you have a sudden water hammer problem. Here’s what you need to know if you suspect that your shower cartridge is the source of your water hammer issues.
What is a Water Hammer?
Water hammers sound like a sudden thwack or clank from your pipes. You may see a pipe jump when you hear this sign. Or, if you’re holding the pipe, you may feel a vibration run through it. These are all signs of hydraulic shock, the official term for water hammers.
What is happening? A valve closes too suddenly, so the flow of water is cut off dramatically, and it bounces off the valve that stopped its flow and back through the pipe it came from. The higher the water pressure, the more likely a water hammer is to happen.
Can a Shower Cartridge Cause a Water Hammer?
A shower cartridge controls the flow of water to your shower. It can shut off the water suddenly, which may be the ultimate cause of your water hammer. However, just because you get a water hammer after you turn the shower off, doesn’t necessarily mean the cartridge is at fault. If you go out and buy a new one, you may end up with just the same problem.
That’s because there simply may be to much water pressure in the line for it to operate properly without causing a water hammer when the shower is turned off. In this case, you will need a plumber to reduce the pressure in the whole system. You may need to have a water pressure regulator installed or turned down to at least 60 PSI, which is the high end of normal water pressure in your typical residential system.
If this does not address the problem, your plumber may suggest that you have a water hammer arrestor installed. This is essentially a chamber of air that can relieve the pressure of the backflow of water caused by the valve suddenly closing. If you already have one of these installed, it may be malfunctioning and allowing the water hammer to develop.
On the other hand, sometimes sudden water hammers are a problem with the utility company. They may be delivering water at such a high pressure that your pipes can’t handle it. This often happens when they have freshly upgraded their equipment. If you suspect this problem, a quick call to the utility company can put the issue on their radar. They should tell you what they’ll do to resolve the issue.
If you can’t resolve your water hammer, it is important to get the professionals involved. The pressure and forces generated by the hammer can do damage to your pipes and the appliances and fixtures connected to them. To prevent damage and leaks, call a plumber for help.