Mastering the Art of Removing Air from Water Lines

Rachel Cherem

Written By Rachel Cherem

Published 01/04/24
Mastering the Art of Removing Air from Water Lines

Water, the essence of our daily lives, is the cornerstone of household activities, ranging from cooking and cleaning to personal hygiene. A consistent and uninterrupted water supply is paramount for the seamless functioning of our homes. However, issues such as sputtering faucets, reduced water pressure, or the disconcerting sounds of pipes can disrupt the tranquility of our living spaces. 

Trapped air within the water lines is a common culprit behind these problems. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricate reasons why air becomes trapped in water lines and provide a meticulously detailed, step-by-step walkthrough on how to effectively remove air. This addresses immediate concerns and establishes a reliable and efficient water flow throughout your home.

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Understanding the Causes of Trapped Air

To address the issue with precision, understanding why air becomes ensnared in water lines is imperative. Several factors contribute to this prevalent problem:

1. Water Line Installation

Improper installation of water lines is a significant cause of air entrapment. During the installation process, if the lines are not purged meticulously of air, pockets of it can persist, causing disruptions in the water flow over time.

2. Plumbing Repairs or Maintenance

Engaging in repairs or maintenance activities on your plumbing system can introduce air into the water lines, particularly if the water supply is temporarily halted and then reinstated.

3. Water Heater Issues

Malfunctions in your water heater can also induce the ingress of air into the water lines. Sediment buildup in the tank or a malfunctioning pressure relief valve are common culprits exacerbating this problem.

4. Corrosion and Aging Pipes

Over time, corrosion and the pipes’ natural aging can lead to air pockets’ development. The degradation of pipe integrity may allow air to infiltrate the water supply.

5. Changes in Water Pressure

Fluctuations in water pressure, often caused by municipal maintenance or adjustments, can result in air being drawn into the plumbing system.

Now that we have dissected why air can become ensnared in water lines, let us proceed systematically to remove it.

Step 1: Identifying the Problem

Before embarking on the journey of removing air from your water lines, it is imperative to ascertain that air is indeed the malefactor. Keep an eye out for the following telltale signs:

Sputtering Faucets: If your faucets emit a sputtering or hissing sound, it is indicative of air presence in the water lines.

Low Water Pressure: Reduced water pressure in one or more faucets serves as a red flag signaling air obstruction.

Noisy Pipes: The occurrence of banging or clanging sounds when using water fixtures can be attributed to air in the lines.

Step 2: Locating the Air Valve

Most plumbing systems are equipped with air valves strategically positioned to release trapped air. These valves are typically situated at high points in the water lines, such as near the apex of your water heater or at the highest point in your home’s plumbing system.

Locating the Air Valve:

a. Water Heater Air Valve

Find the Water Heater: Locate your water heater, usually situated in the basement, garage, or a dedicated utility closet.

Identify the Pressure Relief Valve: The pressure relief valve is commonly positioned on the top of the water heater and may feature a lever or a small knob.

b. Individual Fixture Air Valve

Check Faucets and Fixtures: Some fixtures, like faucets and outdoor hose bibs, may boast individual air valves. Inspect each fixture for a small valve, typically situated near the top.

Step 3: Turning Off the Water Supply

Before manipulating any valves, it is essential to turn off the water supply to forestall potential mess and water wastage.

Locate the Main Water Shut-Off Valve: Typically found near the water meter, turn the valve clockwise until it is fully closed.

Open a Faucet: To alleviate pressure in the lines, open a faucet at the lowest point in your home.

Step 4: Bleeding the Air Valve

a. Water Heater Air Valve

Place a Container Below the Valve: Position a bucket or container beneath the pressure relief valve to catch any water that may be discharged.

Lift the Lever or Turn the Knob: Raise the lever on the pressure relief valve or turn the knob counterclockwise. Permit air to escape until water commences flowing steadily.

Close the Valve: Once water is flowing sans sputtering, close the valve by pushing the lever back down or turning the knob clockwise.

b. Individual Fixture Air Valve

Open the Fixture: Activate the faucet or fixture with the individual air valve to facilitate the escape of air.

Turn the Valve: Gradually turn the valve counterclockwise until water flows steadily without air bubbles.

Close the Valve: Once water is flowing seamlessly, close the valve by turning it clockwise.

Step 5: Checking and Repeating

Post the expulsion of air from the water lines, scrutinize the affected fixtures to ensure the issue is ameliorated. If sputtering or low water pressure persists, consider repeating the process. It may necessitate several attempts to entirely eradicate all air from the system.

Additional Tips for Maintaining Water Quality

In addition to addressing air in water lines, consider incorporating these tips to uphold optimal water quality in your home:

Regular Water Heater Maintenance: Routinely flush your water heater to eliminate sediment buildup and preclude issues that could contribute to air in the lines.

Inspect Plumbing Fixtures: Conduct periodic checks for leaks and promptly rectify any issues to prevent air from infiltrating the system.

Consult a Professional: If persistent problems surface or if uncertainties persist, seek the guidance of a professional plumber for expert assistance.

Bringing it All Together

Mastering the art of removing air from water lines is an invaluable skill for homeowners. By comprehending the causative factors and adhering to the detailed guide provided, you can safeguard a seamless and efficient water supply in your home. Regular inspections and the expulsion of air from your plumbing system will proactively thwart future issues, ensuring the sustained functionality of your water lines.

Remember, if problems surface or uncertainties persist, it is always judicious to consult a professional plumber for guidance. Taking proactive measures to address air in your water lines contributes to the overall well-being and longevity of your home’s plumbing system. Ultimately, a well-maintained plumbing system bequeaths peace of mind and convenience to you and your family, fostering a harmonious home environment and reducing the likelihood of unexpected plumbing emergencies. Stay informed, stay proactive, and enjoy the uninterrupted flow of life’s essential elements in your home.

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There’s a reason Liberty Home Guard was rated the #1 Home Warranty Service by U.S. News and World Report for 2021, 2022, and 2023. Check out our services.

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