What Causes Air in Water Lines & How to Get Rid of It

by Jessica Sawyer | Plumbing and Drainage

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Are you hearing strange sputtering sounds from your faucets? Or maybe your water pressure is all over the place. In either case, you’ve likely got air in your water lines. This common yet annoying issue can disrupt your daily routine and even damage your plumbing if left unchecked. But don’t worry – we’re here to help you understand what causes air in water lines and, more importantly, how to get rid of it.

How to Identify Air in Water Lines

First, let’s make sure you’re on the right page, here. If there’s air in your water lines, then you’re likely experiencing one or more of the following issues:

Sputtering Faucets

One of the most obvious signs of air in your water lines is sputtering faucets. When you turn on a faucet and the water comes out in bursts instead of a steady stream, there’s a good chance that air is trapped in the lines. 

This can happen on and off or continuously, depending on the severity of the issue.

Inconsistent Water Pressure

Inconsistent water pressure is another telltale sign. If you have low water pressure one minute and high the next, it’s likely due to air pockets disrupting the flow. This is particularly true when using multiple faucets at once.

Unusual Noises

Air in the water lines often causes unusual noises like banging or clanging. These noises occur when air bubbles move through the pipes, creating vibrations that can be quite loud and alarming. So, if you hear these sounds, it’s a good idea to investigate further.

What Causes Air in Water Lines?

If any of those signs seem familiar, trapped air in your water lines may be the problem. But do you know how it got there?

Breaks in the Water Main

One common cause of air in water lines is breaks in the water main. When a water main breaks, it allows air to enter the pipes. This can lead to air pockets eventually making their way into your home’s plumbing system. 

The good news here is that it usually isn’t the result of your actions. This can happen when construction work near your home accidentally damages the main, or natural events like earthquakes create fractures.

Plumbing Leaks

Small leaks in your plumbing system can also introduce air into your water lines. While these leaks may go unnoticed for a while due to their size, they can cause significant issues over time. 

See, when water escapes through a hole or crack, air can seep in to take its place. This creates those annoying bubbles and inconsistent water pressure.

Recent Maintenance or Repairs

Sometimes, the culprit is recent maintenance or repairs. If you’ve had any plumbing work done recently, air may have been introduced into the system during the repair process. This is particularly common if your plumber has to drain and refill sections of your plumbing system.

The Damage Air in Water Lines Can Cause

Now, it may be tempting to deal with the sputtering faucets, inconsistent water pressure, and unusual noises that come with trapped air in your water lines. But you’d likely want to avoid the potential consequences.

Potential Damage to Plumbing

It may just be air, but when trapped in your water lines, it can cause damage over time. The constant movement of air bubbles can increase the wear and tear on your pipes, joints, and fixtures. This can result in leaks or even burst pipes if you don’t address it promptly.

Increased Water Bills

Another consequence is increased water bills. Air in the lines can cause your water meter to run more often to compensate for the inconsistent flow. This means you’ll be paying for water you didn’t use, which isn’t ideal.

Inconvenience and Disruption

If you have air in the water lines at home, it can be a huge inconvenience to your daily routine. You may be dealing with disrupted showers, washing machines that don’t fill properly, and dishwashers that leave soap residue. 

But for business owners, the inconvenience and disruption can be particularly costly. Unreliable water pressure can affect everything from customer service to daily operations, making it essential to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

How to Remove Air from Water Lines

Ready to get that trapped air out of your water lines? It may be easier than you think! Simply follow the steps below.

Step 1: Turn Off the Water Supply

The first step in removing air from your water lines is to turn off the water supply. Sure, you’ll have no water in the house for a while, but it’s worth it!

Locate the main water valve in your home or business and shut it off to stop the water flow. This will help prevent more air from entering the system while you work on removing the trapped air.

Step 2: Open All Faucets

Next, open all the faucets in your home or business, starting with the one closest to the shutoff valve and moving up. This will allow the air to escape as the water drains out. 

You’ll want to include both hot and cold water taps, as air can be trapped in both lines. And don’t forget about your dishwasher, washing machine, and emptying the toilet tanks – they’re connected to your water main too. 

Step 3: Flush the System

Once all the faucets are open, turn the main water supply back on, and allow the water to flow through the system for at least ten minutes. This will help push out any remaining air pockets. 

You should also run the dishwasher and washing machine, and flush the toilets during this time. At first, you may hear some sputtering, but it should stop as the air leaves the pipes.

Step 4: Close the Faucets

After the water flow has returned to normal, close all the faucets starting with the furthest one from the main supply valve and working your way up. This will help push any remaining air out of the system.

Is There Air in Your Water Lines? Contact Water Pros Plumbing Today!

While the step-by-step method can help remove air from water lines in most cases, there are situations where it’s best to call a professional plumber. If you have tried the DIY method and still experience air-related issues, it may indicate a deeper problem that requires expert attention.

Professional plumbers have the knowledge, tools, and experience to diagnose and fix plumbing issues efficiently. This allows us to identify underlying causes such as hidden leaks, damaged pipes, or water main breaks that may contribute to the air in your water lines.

Besides, if you’re unsure about performing the DIY method or feel uncomfortable working with your plumbing system, it’s always best to seek professional assistance. By hiring a plumber, you can prevent further damage and ensure the smooth operation of your water lines.

So, if you need a hand with trapped air in your pipes, click here to schedule a Water Pros Plumber online or call (480) 459-4424 today. We’re here to ensure your water flows smoothly and efficiently!

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