Home plumbing is one of those things that we prefer to have working quietly in the background. If you’re noticing your water lines in action, that’s probably not a good thing. It could even be a sign that something’s wrong.
Among the many issues that could affect your home’s water lines is air. A significant amount of air could get trapped in your plumbing and that could be the cause of many annoyances moving forward.
Learning how to deal with that issue would be helpful. The information included in this article will teach you everything you need to know about dealing with air trapped inside water lines.
Without further ado, let’s get more in-depth on this potential plumbing issue.
Why Is Air Trapped in Your Water Lines?
Air is not supposed to end up inside your water lines. While that may seem inevitable, it’s an unusual occurrence typically brought about by something not working as intended.
Mentioned below are the possible explanations for the air being trapped in your home’s water lines.
Your Water Heater Pushed Air into the Water Lines
Probably the most common cause of air ending up inside the pipes is your water heater. Once water is heated, small pockets of air may pop up in different spots, according to Hunker. Notably, those air pockets don’t cause issues most of the time.
As the heater continues to work, those air pockets tend to move up until they are pushed out of the water entirely. They’re often gone by the time the hot water is making its way through your water pipes.
Every now and then, however, those air pockets do travel along the water lines, and they cause a bit of disruption. If you use your water heater every day, this issue is probably something you’ve experienced already.
Leaks Have Opened Up along Your Water Pipes
Durable as the water pipes used inside your plumbing system may be, they are not impervious to damage. Over time, they too will succumb to wear and tear, causing them to spring leaks.
Leaks along the pipes you have installed will often make their presence felt by causing damage to your home. Certain parts of your home may get soaked unexpectedly. Water pressure could suffer too due to leaking pipes.
Yet another issue is air in the pipes. Now that they have opened, the air can get in, and you will notice that sooner rather than later.
The Check Valve Is Loose
The check valve helps ensure the proper flow of water in your home’s plumbing system. They keep the water flowing in a single direction while simultaneously preventing potentially dangerous backflow.
If this component of your home’s plumbing does not work correctly, it could be the reason why air has gotten into your water lines. They could suck in air from the outside and keep it inside the plumbing.
Your Pump Is Unable to Draw In Enough Water
Do you rely on a pump to bring water into your home? If so, it could be the reason why air is in your water lines.
The water level in your well could be significantly low. Once that happens, the pump could still draw in water, but at the same time, it may suck air in too.
You Have Changed Your Plumbing System
Installing new pipes could explain why air is now lingering inside your plumbing system. Air may have been introduced into the system at some point during installation. It won’t take long after installation for you to notice that something’s wrong.
What Are the Signs That Air Is Present inside Your Water Lines?
Air making its way inside your water lines is an uncommon occurrence. It’s uncommon enough that you should notice it immediately. Watch out for the signs below so you can determine right away if there’s a potential problem with your plumbing.
Loud Gurgling Noise Coming from Your Pipes
Hearing gurgling noises coming from the bathroom is not unusual. Hearing gurgling noises from your bathroom when no one’s inside is not normal, though. Don’t worry because there’s a non-spooky reason for that atypical phenomenon.
Those gurgling noises are likely the result of air getting trapped inside the water lines. What you need to know here is that not all the noises coming from your pipes is due to the presence of air.
If the sound you’re hearing is more like clicking as opposed to gurgling, the issue could be your water heater. Loud noises that are almost like objects banging together could be the byproduct of a water hammer.
Those other issues require a different approach than the one you would use to expel air from your water pipes. Make sure you hear the right noises before you act.
Water Is Coming From the Faucets in an Irregular Manner
In addition to the gurgling noises, another telltale sign that you have air in your pipes is the odd way water comes out of your faucets. Instead of the water flowing in a nice stream, it may sputter.
Your Water Pipes Are Vibrating
Taking a closer look at some of the water lines leading to the sputtering faucets could clue you in on a potential problem. If you notice that the pipes are vibrating, that’s a sign that there may be air trapped inside of them.
The Process of Removing Air from inside the Water Lines
Let’s now get to the process of expelling the air from your water lines. The good news is that this is a relatively straightforward job. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to home repair, you could still take on this task easily.
Step 1: Shut Off Your Home’s Main Water Valve
To get started, you will first need to turn off your home’s main water valve.
If you need help finding the main water valve, it should be close to the meter outside. If you cannot find the main water valve there, you can go to your basement and look for it there.
Go ahead and turn off the main water valve after locating it. Keep turning it clockwise until it won’t move any longer to ensure that the water lines have been closed.
Step 2: Open All of Your Faucets
With the main water valve closed, you can work on emptying your water lines. Go to each one of your faucets and open them up.
When we say all your faucets, we mean all of them. Open all the faucets inside your kitchen, bathroom, and anywhere else you have them mounted.. You should also head outside and open any faucets you have there.
Start by opening the faucets from the lowest point of your home and then work your way up. Doing that will help facilitate more efficient draining. You can also try to catch the water in containers if you don’t want it going down the drain.
Step 3: Open Any Remaining Fixtures That Use Water
Opening all your home’s faucets won’t be enough to completely drain the water lines. Since your goal is to empty all the water lines, you also need to clear the ones leading to your fixtures.
You will need to open your showers and flush your toilets.
Similar to what you did with the faucets, start with the fixtures lowest in your home and work your way up.
Step 4: Wait Until No Water is Flowing From the Faucets and Fixtures
This next step is waiting. It may take a while before the faucets and fixtures are drained but stay patient. That’s an essential step in fixing this problem.
Step 5: Turn On the Main Water Valve
Now that you’ve drained the water lines, you can return to the main water valve and turn it back on. Turn it counterclockwise this time and then return to observing the faucets and fixtures.
Step 6: Keep the Faucets and Fixtures Running until the Water Flow Has Normalized
What you’ll probably notice after turning on the main valve is that the water coming out of the faucets is sputtering. That’s because the water pressure is now forcing the air out of your pipes.
Keep the faucets open until you see the water flow go back to normal. You should do the same thing with the toilets. Once the water flow is normal throughout your home, you can shut off your faucets and fixtures because you have resolved the problem.
Will the Air inside Your Water Lines Cause Damage?
You should act as soon as you can if you suspect that air has gotten trapped inside your home’s water lines. But how serious is this problem? Could lasting damage be dealt with your water pipes by the trapped air?
Compared to some of the other issues that may affect your home’s plumbing, air inside the pipes probably ranks among the least troubling. You can expel the air inside the pipes easily, and it won’t cause any damage.
The real reason you need to address this issue is that the noises can be disruptive, and the irregular water flow can be inconvenient. You need to be more concerned about other common issues that can cause damage to your plumbing, such as water hammers.
How Does a Water Hammer Differ from Having Air inside Your Water Lines?
Although having air stuck inside your water lines is bothersome, it ultimately won’t cause any real damage to your plumbing. The same is not true for water hammers.
Water hammers, which are also known as hydraulic shocks, occur when the water inside your pipes abruptly changes directions or stops entirely, according to The Balance. The force emanating from the change in motion causes a shockwave to form and bounce against the pipe walls.
Unlike air inside your pipes, water hammers can cause real damage. The powerful shockwave can rattle the joints along with your plumbing system and cause them to spring loose. A shockwave could also break a pipe.
Water hammers take place whenever you shut off a faucet or an appliance drawing water too quickly. However, that action is the trigger that causes the water hammer to occur. Other underlying factors can contribute.
In many cases, the issue is high water pressure. You will probably need to call a plumber to regulate the water pressure inside your pipes and prevent water hammers from taking place in the future.
Pipes that aren’t secured properly can also cause water hammers. They cannot handle a small pressure change, and they could burst if the water hammers take place often enough. Tighten up those connections or use supports to ensure that the pipes can handle the pressure changes better.
The problem could also be caused by an appliance that changes water pressure excessively whenever it’s turned on or shut down. If that’s the problem, purchase a water shock arrestor compatible with the appliance and use that to regulate the pressure better.
Lastly, water hammers can also occur whenever water makes its way inside the air chambers in your plumbing. To fix this problem, simply follow the process detailed earlier in this article. That will work for fixing water hammers as it does for removing air in the water lines.
Having air inside your water lines is a problem that can easily be solved. Unfortunately, not all plumbing issues are that easy to handle.
If you are currently dealing with more serious plumbing issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us at San Diego Plumbing & Pipelining. Reach out to us as soon as possible for any of your plumbing-related emergencies.