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Thread: Can engineered surge arrester's go bad?

  1. #1

    Default Can engineered surge arrester's go bad?

    I purchased my first house about a year ago. The house itself is about 50 years old, but had a copper pipe refit performed throughout the home about 8 years ago. There are Sioux Chief brand mini-rester's in various locations throughout the home, of which I've found:

    1) 2 @ Washer & Dryer (hot & cold)
    2) 1 @ Kitchen Sink/Dishwasher (shared, hot)
    3) 1 @ Bathroom Sink (not sure, wife's asleep )

    When we first moved in, there was no water hammer. Over the past couple months though, the water hammer has become increasingly loud.

    Is it possible for surge arrester's to fail? The Sioux Chief ones (at least according to their website) are supposed to have a MTBF of 500,000 uses, so I'm guessing it's not likely.

    Would draining the water lines help at all?

    Thanks for any help. I tried searching the forum for my answers, but couldn't find an appropriate thread going. Any advice is appreciated, because it would be great if I could fix this myself somehow, otherwise I'll have to leave the fixing to the pros. This banging is getting too loud, and I need to fix it before some pipe winds up busting and causes a mess.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
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    Anything mechanical can fail.

    Last edited by Terry; 01-01-2011 at 10:04 AM.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default arrestors

    1. If the "O" rings on the arrestor's piston get sticky they will not work.
    2. Draining the water lines does nothing to minimize water hammer, unless you are VERY, VERY lucky, and then it would be for a very short time.
    3. You might have a plumber check the system to be sure your evaluation is correct as to the cause of the water hammer.

  4. #4

    Default Check Pressure

    Do you have a PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve) where the water line comes in??
    They can go bad raising the pressure in the house and water hammer can increase.... Or if on well is your pressure adjusted too high or gone bad???

    Go to HD or LW and get a water pressure gauge that screws on outdoor faucet and measure your pressure with all faucets off... Should be around
    60 PSI (at least thats the recommended)

  5. #5


    Thanks for the replies!

    Sounds like I'll need to head down to the supply store to get a pressure gauge.

    Since we've moved in, I've definitely noticed fluctuations in the overall water pressure of the house, that don't seem to correlate to time-of-day circumstances. (e.g. same time of day I'm taking a shower, wildly different pressures from day to day). Possibly something is just awry with pressure in the neighborhood.

    I'll take a look for a PRV. After doing a Google image search for one (I didn't know what they looked like), I can't say that I've noticed one on the house. I'm pretty sure I don't have one.

    If all else fails, time to call in a pro

    Again, thanks for your replies!

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New England


    Many of the pressure gauges have a second peak hold (tattle-tale) hand. Get one with that and leave it on overnight. Pressure at night can go quite high. If it exceeds 80#, a PRV is recommended along with an expansion tank before the WH. If the 'normal' pressure exceeds 60#, is may not be a bad idea to install one.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member chris8796's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    I would agree checking the pressure is the first thing I would do. Second, when does the sound occur? Water hammer is associated with a fast acting valve and what these arrestors try to prevent. But not all banging of the pipes is water hammer. Does it occur when you use a specific appliance or faucet?

  8. #8
    Plunger/TurdPuncher kingsotall's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Flagstaff, AZ Sitting on an upside down 5 gallon bucket next to the GO 68HD


    Good point Chris.
    I just post cuz I like to see my avatar.


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