How to remove air from your home water lines

How to remove air from your home water lines



Spluttering taps, irregular flow and loud noises coming from your pipes can indicate the presence of air in your water lines. Air in water lines is not usually a serious problem for your plumbing system. However, if left unchecked, it can cause severe water-flow and noise issues in your home. In extreme cases, it can also cause pipes to rust, harming their structural integrity and decreasing durability. 

Air in pipelines can reduce the efficiency of the pumping system. Usually, the air gets trapped in the high points of your water-supply system and affects the water pressure in a tap or faucet. 

If your house is plagued by air in the water lines, you might be able to take care of the issue as a DIY project without needing to pay a plumber. Read on to find out how you can tell if air is present in your home’s water system, what causes this problem, and how to get rid of it. 


What does air in water pipes sound like?

As a homeowner, you can quickly identify signs of air trapped in pipes by listening to your plumbing system. Air in water pipes will sound like a hiss or pop. Alternatively, the trapped air can cause loud gurgling and prolonged vibrating noises. Other sounds are loud noises and bangs emanating from the pipes; this clearly indicates air traveling in the pipes. 

It is almost as if water lines send distress signals in the form of sounds. If you hear consistent loud thumps, tapping or hammering, it’s a sign that your plumbing system may need attention. It is essential to regularly check your plumbing system’s health to avoid needing big repairs.


How does air get into the water pipes?

Before we get into the solution for this plumbing problem, we need to understand its causes. There are many ways air can build up in water lines. One of the most common causes is the installation of new pipes or alterations to existing ones, which can cause air bubbles to enter your pipes and create air locks. 

Construction or repair work in the neighborhood can also introduce air into your home’s plumbing system. If your municipality works on your neighborhood’s water lines, get ready for some sputtering faucets and noisy pipes. 

Repeated heating also forms air bubbles. Evaporated hot water cannot leave the pipes correctly, causing air to get trapped in the piping system. 

If you have a water heater, air can enter your water pipes due to the water heater’s anode rod getting corroded. If corrosion is the culprit, there will be other symptoms, like a foul odor coming from the water or cloudy and contaminated sediment flowing together with water from your taps, along with the symptoms of trapped air in pipes.  

Another cause of air in water pipes is the water supply shutting off. Municipalities often shut off the local water supply for maintenance and repair work.


Why is it important to remove air from your water pipes?

Most of the time, the air in your water pipes does not cause severe problems to your plumbing system. However, it can be frustrating for those living at home. Trapped air in your home’s water lines can cause excessive and loud noises within the pipes and walls; obstruct water pressure, causing a weaker or inconsistent water flow from taps and faucets; and lead to rusty pipes in extreme cases. 

Moreover, trapped air in a pipe creates a blockage, building pressure around the block. Water pressure around this blockage can create powerful vibrations in the pipe, damaging important fixtures and loosening your pipes over time. 

It is difficult to predict the severity of damage that air will cause to your water pipes. However, it is crucial to nip the problem in the bud before it starts causing major issues and disturbances to your appliances and piping. 


How to remove air from your home water pipes in 4 steps

On the bright side, you can likely remove air from your home’s water line without calling a plumber. If there is air in the plumbing, it’s vital to take it out as soon as possible. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps to remove any air pockets from your pipes. 

While the process is simple, it’s important to follow the steps below in the exact order.

1. Turn off your main water supply

Turning off your main water supply is the first and most important step in removing air from your pipes. If you skip this step, the following steps will yield no result. 

You can switch off the water supply with the main water valve or switch. You’ll often find the main valve in the basement along the perimeter of the foundation. Your home’s shut-off valve could also be located near the water heating system, under the kitchen sink or outside the home’s foundation.

Turning off the valve stops the external water supply to your home, allowing you to drain the existing water in your plumbing system.

2. Twist all of your faucets one half turn

The second step is to turn on all your faucets and taps starting from the one closest to the main valve and ending with the farthest one. It’s essential to twist the tap only halfway to ensure the free flow of water and avoid high pressure. 

Apart from faucets and taps, you also need to switch on all appliances connected to your water supply, including washing machines, dishwashers and showers. The goal is to open every inlet that water uses to get from pipes into your home. This process creates a path for the air to leave the plumbing system. 

3. Wait for the faucets to stop running, then flush all toilets

The next step is to wait for all the faucets to run dry. The wait can be long or short depending on the water-holding capacity of your home and how much water was held before you switched off the main valve. 

Once the faucets stop running, you need to flush all the toilets until no more water is left in the flush tanks. 

4. Turn the main water supply back on

With your faucets turned on, turn the main water-supply valve back on. Let the water run through your faucets for 10 to 15 minutes. 

You need to make sure you see a steady stream of water without any noise from your piping. For washing machines and dishwashers, you can pour a cup of water and let the appliances run through a rinse cycle. A steady flow will indicate your water pipes are clear of air. 

The faucets now need to be turned off in the reverse order that they were turned on. Start with the farthest and end with the faucet nearest to the main valve. 

If the sounds persist, you may want to call a professional plumber to inspect your plumbing system. If you hear banging or knocking in the pipes, it might indicate a phenomenon known as a water hammer. It occurs when water, which is under high pressure, is suddenly forced to stop moving. You’ll often hear a water-hammer sound after closing a faucet or when your washing machine fills. Having a plumber cut into the pipe to install a water-hammer arrestor, which works as a shock absorber, should solve the problem.


Plumbing systems, including water lines, are covered under a Cinch warranty

As a homeowner, you are in the best position to judge the severity of the problem. If it seems like something you can handle yourself, the DIY steps listed above should be enough to rid your plumbing system of air. If the problem is more serious, calling a professional might be your best bet. 

As with other plumbing problems, it’s important to remember that the earlier you fix the issue, the cheaper your repairs will be. You can also consider installing a check valve to control water flow and release air from the pipeline.  

Plumbing-system repairs are unavoidable and can be costly. A home warranty plan from Cinch Home Services can cover repairs and replacements on appliances and built-in systems, including plumbing-system issues and water-line problems. With a Cinch home warranty, you’ll have access to a verified and vetted service technician to help solve your problem.

Get an instant quote for your home and take the first step toward protecting your home, family and bank account from costly home repairs. 


This step-by-step guide will help you identify and remove air from your water lines and save your plumbing system from damage.

Your home protection is ready and waiting!