How to Install a Water Hammer Arrestor (11 Steps)

A hydraulic issue in your water systems can be a huge annoyance, but you can fix it by installing a water hammer arrestor in a few minutes.

As a handyman that’s worked on a lot of plumbing, I’ll help you connect a water hammer arrestor to your access panel easily in this guide. Water hammer arrestors are designed to suck away all the shock triggered by the inertial force of the water. They have a rubber and air charge unit to drain the water hammer quietly. A water hammer is a serious issue that can cause damage to your pipes and water valves. You can prevent all that by installing a water hammer which costs only a few dollars.

To install a water hammer arrestor:

  • Turn the water valve on and diagnose where the location of the shockwaves
  • Identify loose pipes
  • Cut a section on the pipe
  • Clean the pipes
  • Insert the tee on the pipe
  • Apply flux
  • Solder the tee on the pipe
  • Wrap a Teflon tape at the threads of the water hammer arrestor
  • Thread the water hammer arrestor onto the tee
  • Turn the water valve back on

We will go into more detail below.

How a Water Hammer Arrestor Works

Water hammer arrestors are cut into the copper pipes to stop the banging of the water hammer.

The shock absorber is fitted with a rubber diaphragm in the interior, in the middle section. On one side, there is an air charge and a water inlet section on the opposite side.

When the water moves through the pipe, it generates a lot of inertia. The rubber in the middle section will absorb the inertial force as it moves back and forth due to water flow. This way, the water cannot rattle the pipes. And all the energy gets dissipated quietly.

How to Install a Water Hammer Arrestor

What You Need:

  • Teflon tape
  • Two water hammer arrestors
  • A clip for securing the water hammer arrestor
  • Soldering iron and a source of heat
  • Pipe cutter or a hacksaw
  • A steel wool
  • Flux
  • Eye protection goggles

Step 1: Diagnosing a Water Hammer

First, you need to verify a water hammer in your plumbing system. So, open the tap and listen to the flow. If shockwaves of hydraulic pressure accompany the water flow, your water system has a water hammer.

For simplicity, you can think of a water hammer as a situation where some pipes are not well secured. So, check your pipes to diagnose the problem.

Step 2: Locate the Access Panel

Next, go to the access panel and check the pipes. You could just secure the loose pipes on the access panel, but then the pipes thread underneath the floor or wall, and that won’t be a viable idea.

At the access panel, you will see the overflow for the drain piping and the hot and old cold piping. Shake the cold and hot piping to identify the loose one.

Step 3: Install the Water Hammer at The Access Panel

The access panel is the strategic place to fasten a water hammer arrestor or a water hammer arrestor.

Step 4: Turn Off the Water Valve & Drain Down the System

After identifying the correct location to install the water hammer arrestors, one for the cold and another for the hot piping, turn off the water supply through the systems.

Step 5: Prepare the Water Pipe

Before you cut the pipe, align the tee and mark the distance it spans on the cold and hot water pipes. Make the mark slightly below the ends of the tee. This way, the tee will fit inside the water pipe.

Cut and clean water pipes at the access panel before installing the water hammer arrestors. Use steel wool or other plausible equipment to clean the loose water pipe. Concentrate where you want to place the water arrestors.

Cut the marked sections on the pipe with a pipe cutter. Alternatively, you can use a hacksaw to cut the water pipes. But pipe cutters make neat cuts.

Step 6: Secure the Tee or The Fitting on The Pipe

Usually, the diameter of the fitting should be slightly larger than that of the pipes for a proper and firm attachment. It should not be too wide or narrow.

Gently flush the fitting into the pipe on both ends.

Step 7: Apply Flux

You can now apply flux to both the footing and the pipe. Dip your finger into the flux bottle and scoop it out. Oil the section where the water pipe flushes the ends of the fitting.

The flux prepares the metallic surface of the pipes for soldering. It removes oxides and other impurities that might hinder the effectiveness of the solder.

Step 8: Solder the Fitting on The Pipe

Before you start soldering, make sure you put on eye protection. The blinding solder light can harm your eyes. (1)

After applying the flux appropriately, light up a heat source and solder the fitting onto the pipe. (2)

Soldering should take a few minutes. When done, leave the pipe to cool and go to the next pipe, cold or hot piping, depending on which was your first. Repeat the same procedure.

Step 9: Attaching Water Hammer Arrestors

Wrap Teflon tape on the threads of the water hammer arrestors. Then, you can thread them onto the tees. Use an open-end adjustable to tighten them up.

Step 10: Secure the Water Hammer Arrestors

The shockwave absorbers will arrest the banging or shockwaves, but you should secure them to prevent the pipes from swinging or wobbling. So, secure them to a wall or floor with a clip.

Step 11: Test the Water Hammer Arrestor You Just Installed

Finally, open the water valve to allow water to flow through the system or pipes again. If the water hammer arrestors are accurately installed, you won’t hear the shockwaves or banging. You will only hear the water flowing smoothly as it should.

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References
(1) eye protection – https://ehs.stonybrook.edu/programs/laboratory-safety/personal-protective-equipment/eye-protection.php
(2) heat source – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/physics-and-astronomy/heat-sources

Video Reference

About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gI realized early on carpentry was a huge passion for me and I’ve stayed in the industry for over 20 years now. This gives me a unique ability to really be able to tell you what the best tools and recommendations are. I’m not only a carpenter but I also like machinery and anything to do with electrics. One of my career paths starting off was as an apprentice electrician so I also have a lot of experience with electrical products and anything related.