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How to Remove Air from Water Pipes: Step-By-Step Guide

How to Remove Air from Water Pipes: Step-By-Step Guide

Dealing with air in water lines is a common plumbing issue that many homeowners face. If you’ve noticed odd noises like rattling or vibrations coming from your walls, or if your faucets are sputtering and releasing water inconsistently, you may need to remove air from water pipes.

 

While trapped air usually doesn’t cause severe damage, the constant knocking sounds and irregular water flow can become quite annoying. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of identifying and resolving the issue of air in your water lines.

How Does Air Get into Water Pipes?

There are many ways air may get into your pipes. More commonly, air can get in following the installation of new pipes or alteration to your plumbing. Work like this doesn’t even have to happen in your own home for it to affect your pipes. If your neighborhood has recently had plumbing work, that can also cause air bubbles to enter your household pipes.

Here are some common ways air can get into water pipes:

  • Aerators and Faucets: One of the most common ways air enters water pipes is through aerators or faucets. When the water supply is turned off, air can get drawn into the pipes through open faucets or fixtures. When you turn the water back on, this trapped air can create a sputtering or hissing sound as it is pushed out of the faucet.
  • Water Main Breaks or Repairs: If there’s a water main break or repair work being done on the municipal water supply lines, air can enter the water supply as the system is being drained and refilled. When the water is restored, it may carry air bubbles into your home’s plumbing.
  • Well Water Systems: Homes with well water systems are more susceptible to air entering the pipes. Air can be introduced when the well pump kicks on, causing a surge of water and potential air pockets in the plumbing system.
  • Water Hammer: Water hammer occurs when the flow of water in the pipes is suddenly halted or changed direction. This can create pressure fluctuations that introduce air into the pipes. Water hammer often happens when appliances like washing machines or dishwashers turn on or off abruptly.
  • Leaks or Cracks: Leaky or cracked pipes can allow air to enter the system. When negative pressure occurs due to water use in one part of the house, air may be drawn in through these openings.
  • Pressure Tank Issues: In well systems, pressure tanks are used to maintain consistent water pressure. If there are issues with the pressure tank, such as a malfunctioning check valve or a damaged bladder, air can enter the system.
  • Hydrostatic Pressure Changes: Changes in the hydrostatic pressure in the ground, such as heavy rain or groundwater level changes, can force air into the well system and, subsequently, into the plumbing pipes.
  • Incomplete Flushing: If your plumbing system has not been used for an extended period, air may accumulate in the pipes. When you first turn on the taps, this trapped air may need to be flushed out before you get a consistent flow of water.
  • Faulty Valves or Check Valves: Valves in the plumbing system, such as check valves, pressure-reducing valves, or shutoff valves, can develop faults or leaks over time. These valve issues can allow air to enter the pipes when they should be fully closed.

Air bubbles may also form following repeated heating, as evaporated water cannot escape your pipes properly. Ordinarily, due to the constant flow of water through your pipes, air bubbles will rise to the top of your system. This can make them somewhat stubborn to remove, but it is a relatively simple process when you know what you are doing.

To resolve issues related to air in your water pipes, it’s essential to identify the source of the problem. If the problem persists or is related to a more significant issue, such as a well pump problem or a leak, it’s advisable to seek the assistance of a professional plumber or well-system technician to diagnose and address the root cause of the air entering your water pipes.

Why is it Important to Remove Air from Water Pipes?

Most of the time, the air in water pipes will not cause significant damage to your plumbing. It is only air, after all. However, trapped air can cause irritating problems such as:

  • Excessive noise coming from your walls
  • Reduced water pressure, resulting in weaker flow (especially noticeable in showers)
  • Spluttering faucets or inconsistent output
  • Rusting and corrosion in extreme cases
  • And more!

It is impossible to say for certain how trapped air may affect your plumbing system specifically. That said, it is not something you want to live with.

Removing air from water pipes is essential for maintaining the efficiency and functionality of your plumbing system, ensuring consistent water pressure and temperature, preventing damage to pipes and appliances, and improving water quality. Regular maintenance and addressing air-related issues promptly can help you avoid plumbing problems and the associated costs.

If you feel confident that you may be able to fix this issue yourself, you can follow our step-by-step guide below!

White Ceramic Sink With Stainless Steel Faucet

  1. Turn Off Your Main Water Supply

There should be a valve or switch somewhere in your home that allows you to turn off your water supply. You need to do this first otherwise anything you do afterward is pointless. They often look circular or star-shaped and are made from metal, similar to what you would see on a garden hose.

If you can’t locate your main water valve or it just will not budge when you attempt to turn it off, do not force it. You may cause more damage than you intend to, and that will only add to your problems. It may have calcified over time, which will require professional assistance.

  1. Twist All of Your Faucets So They Run Water

Next, turn on all of your taps to allow water to flow through every faucet in your home. Make sure that you don’t turn the pressure too high. You just need to make it so the water is free-flowing enough to escape, it doesn’t need to be a high-pressure operation.

It is not just your faucets that need attention either. Turn on your dishwasher, shower, and washing machine too. Essentially, anything that uses water needs to be turned on. You should complete this in order of water sources closest to the main valve, ending with the furthest source.

  1. Wait for All Faucets to Stop Running and Flush Toilets

Wait for all water sources to run dry. How long this takes depends entirely on how much water your house was holding before turning the main valve off. You should flush the toilets at this point too (every single one of them). Keep flushing until there is no water available.

  1. Turn the Main Water Supply Back On

Once all your water sources have run dry, it is time to turn your main water supply back on. Once the valve is twisted, water should begin to flow through your faucets again. You should keep the water flowing for ten to fifteen minutes. Only stop once a steady stream has been achieved.

You should also flush your toilets, and run your washer, and dishwasher once again. At this point, you should not hear any noises coming from your pipes. The lack of noise and a steady stream from your faucets indicate that the trapped air has been effectively removed.

  1. Turn All Faucets Off Again in the Correct Order

Just as you turned all of your faucets on in a particular order, you must turn them off in the reverse order. Start with the faucet furthest from your water supply valve and work your way back. Once you have completed this final step, you should be done!

If the problem persists, you may need to contact a professional to take a look. Loud thumps or bangs followed by no further noise are most likely to indicate water hammer, not trapped air. This can be much more serious and will require an expert’s opinion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes Air in Water Pipes?

Air is most likely to get into your pipes when new plumbing is installed or at any point where the plumbing is exposed.

Will an Airlock Clear Itself?

It is possible, but it is unlikely that an airlock will simply fix itself. It isn’t a risk worth taking, as it can cause long-term damage.

How do You Know if You Have Air in Water Pipes?

A few tell-tale signs include continued, fluctuating water pressure, a strange smell from the taps (commonly rotten eggs), or unusual noises coming from your pipes.

Can Air in Water Pipes Cause Damage?

Yes. Namely, it can cause them to rust and corrode prematurely, which significantly damages their integrity.

Call an Expert at All Dry USA

You are free to try this process yourself to fix your problem. It is relatively simple and with our step-by-step guide, you can’t really go wrong. However, calling on an expert to take a look minimizes the risk of future problems. Trapped air may not be your only issue. A poorly stabilized pipe or elevated air pressure can be highly problematic when left unchecked.

If you are hesitant to attempt fixing your own plumbing, contact All Dry USA today. Whether you require a full callout or simply need some questions answered, we have got you covered! Our experts are eager to answer your call.

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