How Do You Fix an Air Lock in a Pipe?

If water doesn’t come out after you turn on your faucet then you may have a problem with your plumbing system. Water that runs more slowly than normal should also be investigated before it becomes an even bigger problem.

Your plumbing will run less efficiently due to air lock issues. Reduced water flow can make your life very inconvenient. An air lock in water pipes may be caused by air pockets trapped in your hot water pipes.

Problems with the main water supply due to obsolete circulating pipes and damaged or old storage tanks may also be the cause. If your water is not able to reach your faucet due to low water pressure then you may have an air lock issue.

Moreover, if you notice the sound of knocking from pipes due to fluctuations in the water pressure, then this may also be a sign of air lock problems.

Here, we will discuss air lock issues and how you should go about repairing them before the damage becomes extensive.

What exactly is a pipe air lock?

Pipe air locks occur due to air pockets that trap the water in your pipes. The pockets are situated in your pipeline system. One of the biggest issues with air lock is that they hinder the normal passage of water through your pipes.

Hot water pipes in particular are vulnerable to air locks. When the water pressure is too low in the tank the air obstruction will remain stuck inside. Higher water pressure is needed to eliminate or push out the obstacle.

Interestingly, cold water pipes are far less likely to suffer from air locks. This is because most cold water pipes tend to be fixed to the water main pipeline.

Signs of an Air Lock in Your Pipes

Air locks can develop in many different ways. You should keep a close eye on your pipes, performing routine maintenance checks to ensure that everything is in working order.

As soon as an issue is detected it should be rectified in order to prevent subsequent damage to your pipeline system. As for the most common signs of pipe air lock, the first involves the sporadic flow of hot water during certain instances.

The second is large amounts of water splatter even after the outlet has been opened.

How do you get rid of an air lock in plumbing fixtures?

The bubble can be pushed out in some cases by drastically increasing the pipe’s water pressure. You can also try bleeding your radiator system in order to get rid of an airlock from your plumbing fixtures.

Another tactic involves opening up every single faucet in your home simultaneously. You may require the help of a few people to do this, but it could be a smart way to get rid of the air lock.

You can also try dealing with an air lock in your plumbing by using other techniques that are quite easy to follow. For example, you can try the showerhead method.

Extract the showerhead and wrap the pipes in a few bags. Once the bags have been added, set the showerhead back in place. Next, turn your hot water outlet off. Then, turn on both your cold and hot shower taps.

The pressure that is generated will reach the bottom of your pipes and disperse the air lock. Next, turn off the water and extract the showerhead a second time. Remember to take the bags off before doing so.

The final step involves turning your hot water back on. Your header tank will usually be situated in the basement. If this method is too complicated then you should call a local plumbing company and get the help of a plumber.

The washing machine method may also work. Here, you will be using the sheer power of your washing machine in order to eliminate the air locks. Turn off and disconnect the hot and cold valves to your washing machine. Next, turn both valves back on and leave the taps open for about five seconds. If performed correctly the pressure will cause the air locks to break.

Another method involves using a hosepipe. Attach your hosepipe to the valve with the problem and wrap the other end to a functioning tap. Next, pull up the base of your pipes in a secure manner before you turn the problematic tap on.

Once complete, you will need to turn on the fully functional tap. The water that fills the pipe should create sufficient pressure to take care of the air lock. Once the air lock has been broken you should extract the hose and then wait for two to three minutes before turning the tap on.

How can air locks in water pipes be avoided?

First, air should be kept out of the pipes at all costs. Furthermore, the pipeline should also be level. At the very least it should fall and rise in a steady manner with no high areas, as high areas are vulnerable to bubble accumulation.

The pipe’s water flow must also be strong enough to drive all of the air bubbles to the end of your pipeline.

Protect Your Home

Air locks should not be taken lightly. However, air lock can sometimes be solved without the need for any specialized equipment, as we have seen above.

As long as you follow the steps carefully you should be able to tackle your air lock issue in a safe, efficient and speedy manner.

However, if you are unable to solve the problem yourself then you should call a licensed plumbing services company in your area with a proven track record of success.

Explain your problem either over the phone, email or in person and they should be able to tackle the problem quite quickly.

Related reading: 10 Most Common Problems of Sewer Lines in Old Neighborhoods

Author Bio: Stephanie Alexander is a blogger. She is currently a blog manager, predominantly based in the Greater Toronto Area, managing content for a few different blogs for different clients with wildly varying information needs or topics of interest. She likes to research topics mainly related to home improvement. Most recently she graduated from the University of British Columbia with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Creative Writing with Honours.


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