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What Is That Loud Noise After I Flush?

What Is That Loud Noise After I Flush?

As you flush your toilet, you are caught unawares by the unusually loud sound you hear.

Do you have a small animal trapped somewhere in the bathroom? Is there some structural damage within the walls of the bathroom? Surprised, you flush the toilet again, confirming that the loud sound did indeed come from inside the bathroom. 

“What is that loud noise after I flush?” you ask yourself. The simple answer: A water hammer.

A Water Hammer

A water hammer occurs when water traveling at a fast speed suddenly stops. In this case, the closing of the toilet valve causes the water to stop its movement and crash against the valve. In turn, this causes the pipes to vibrate against your bathroom walls.

Imagine the water inside your toilet pipes as a long line of cars traveling a highway. And then one of the cars makes an abrupt stop without giving the other trailing cars an opportunity to swerve or put on the brakes at a comfortable distance. The result of that is a massive pile-up.

That, in essence, is what happens when a water hammer occurs.

But why do water hammers occur in the first place?

Water hammers are more likely to happen in homes that were built in the sixties. The pipes used in the toilets of these homes are equipped with a T-shaped fitting designed to create an air chamber. The purpose of this air chamber is to act as a shock absorber, preventing water hammers from occurring.

However, this air chamber can be filled with water, rendering it useless in performing the task it was designed for. Fixing this problem is as simple as turning off the main water valve and then draining off the water from all the pipes in your home.

But, if your home was built after the sixties, you shouldn’t hear water hammers in your homes. This is because of the different developments made during these subsequent years to prevent this problem. If your home was built after the sixties and you hear water hammers every time you flush your toilet, it is best to call in a professional plumber to determine the underlying cause. Left unchecked, water hammers can lead to bigger problems which may be more difficult and more costly to fix. Such problems include water leaks in the walls of your home. 

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