What are air chambers in plumbing?

Air chambers are vertical pipes that regulate pressure and prevent water from forming waves in the supply pipes. If you don't have them, which is unlikely unless your plumbing is very old, ask a professional to install them at key points in your system to eliminate the waves that cause water hammers. Air chambers are small lengths of pipe that are mounted in water pipes, close to a fitting. They are made to stop hydraulic shock, also known as water hammer.

The air in the chamber compresses and absorbs the impact of water that moves sharply in the pipes. All of this happens when a device shuts off the water quickly. Remove the plumbing fixture where the water hammer is taking place. Trim the drywall around the water supply valves to access the wall pipes.

Loosen the water supply valve coupler with an adjustable wrench, and then slide the valve, ferrule, and coupler out of the copper tubing. Cut an 18-inch copper pipe that matches the diameter of the copper pipe in the wall with a pipe cutter. Clean the burrs on each end of the pipe, and then apply flux to one end of the copper pipe and to the inside of a copper cap of the same diameter as the pipe. Weld the cap to the pipe with welding wire and the torch.

An air chamber is a pulsation damping device. It reduces the pulsation of a reciprocating pump and contributes to a stable liquid flow by utilizing the compressibility of the air in the chamber. An air chamber can mitigate the various problems caused by pulsation, such as pipe vibration and supercharging phenomenon. If you hear water hammers, it's probably because the air chambers in the pipes are soaked.

Pipeline air chambers are supposed to absorb the impact that comes from moving water. They do this by providing an empty spot for the discharge to dissipate. However, when the air chambers are filled with water, they cannot perform their function. Instead, the full impact of the water impact hits your pipes and takes a water hammer.

A water hammer suppressor works much like an old-style bladder, but includes a chamber filled with air or gas that is sealed by a diaphragm or piston.

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