What is a Water Air Chamber and How Does it Work?

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, it is recommended to 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 designed 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.

This happens when a device shuts off the water quickly. In the past, water hammer suppressors consisted of air chambers that were a vertically installed, air-filled piece of plugged pipe. The air provides the cushion to take that water hammer.Unfortunately, air is water soluble, so over time these air chambers would eventually flood, since all the air would be absorbed by water. Once flooded, the bladder is no longer an air chamber, but a water chamber and will no longer absorb the pressure of the water hammer.

This riser located near the water valve helps relieve water hammer by acting as a shock absorber. The bladder absorbs the impact of water once the valve closes, preventing water from hitting the side of the pipes hard.Many homes have air chambers installed inside their walls, but sometimes the air chamber can stop working properly if it gets soaked in water. A modern-day 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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