Pipes get jolted: is it a problem?

Hi,
Since about two weeks ago, whenever someone shuts off the kitchen faucet on the first floor, the pipes throught the house, all the way up to the third floor, experience quite a jolt. Since this started happening abruptly, does that mean that something has come loose somewhere? And should I be concerned about it?
Many thanks in advance,
Aaron
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It is called water hammer and since it started happening suddenly I would suggest two possible problems.
Most likely in this case would be one or more loose pipe hangers. One loose in the wrong spot can cause a lot of noise. My second choice would be a anti-hammer device going bad. Usually they would go bad over time and not suddenly, but I believe it would be possible for it to be a sudden thing.
Try this. First turn off the main water line in the home. (Note: in rare cases this valve may stick, don't force it.) then turn on the kitchen faucets and the lowest faucet you have, like in the basement, to drain some water out of those pipes (both the hot (most likely) and the cold. While you are down in the basement look for loose supports. After you drain the pipes, turn the water supply back on and start closing the faucets starting in the basement.
If that does not do it have someone turn that kitchen faucet on and off while you follow the pipe and the sound to see were the pipe is moving and hitting something.
Good Luck

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Joseph Meehan

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Aaron Fude wrote:

Sounds like either the supply pressure from the city if you're on a municipal supply or your pressure regulator valve stuck open if you have one. Water hammer indicates high pressure; check it first.
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Good point about the pressure regulator. I always seem to forget that one as they are not common where I live.

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Not quite correct--sudden stopping of the flow of water is the prime cause of water hammer. That's the reason for having air chambers (accumulators) in the system--to absorb the "blow" MLD
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MLD wrote:

But if it hasn't been an issue previously, it's a good indication there may be a pressure problem now...it's the first thing to check as I said. If that turns out to not be a problem, then the next step is to see if there are any accumulators in the system or not -- most houses don't have any and are fine w/o them. If OP's is in that category, he didn't have hammer before and does now, then they're not the culprit--may as well find that out before searching further.
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Again, pressure is of little consequence in water hammering. You can get a nice bang out of 4 psi if you stop it suddenly.
s

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S. Barker wrote:

Again, if there has not been an issue of water hammer before and there now is, increased pressure from a stuck reducing valve is a condition to check. BTDT, didn't print the t-shirt.
I have nowhere said there is any cause other than the cessation of flow--the deal is, high pressure increases flow.
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Aaron Fude wrote:

It's possible that you have air chambers in your plumbing that have become filled with water so they aren't doing their job. Air chambers aren't complicated, just a T fitting and an extra length of vertical pipe above a sink etc. connection that ends with a cap. The air trapped in the pipe that goes nowhere acts to cushion any water hammer. Over time the air in the air chamber pipe could dissolve into the water in the pipes. The solution is to drain all of the water pipes completely, than turn the water back on to refill and you are all set. Always turn the water on slowly when refilling house pipes and bleed the air slowly at the faucets until all of the air is gone.
Draining and refilling would only sold the problem if the original plumbers did leave air chambers in the pipes inside the walls.
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