What causes air in your water pipes? What are the signs and common symptoms?

air in water pipes

Did you recently notice that the faucets in your home sputter? Do you hear loud sounds and banging noises within your walls? In this situation, the reason could be traced to trapped air in your water pipes.

What causes air to enter your water pipes? Is there anything you can do to fix the problem?

Why is there trapped air in your water pipes?

When your plumbing system goes weird and loud noises can be heard on your walls, trapped air may be causing these to happen.

There are many reasons why trapped air made its way into your pipes. Some of the main reasons are the following:

Ø  There are leaks in your pipes

The most common reason why air can get trapped in your pipes is when the latter is leaking or damaged. Once there are holes or leaks in your piping, they allow air to enter your plumbing lines and mess with your plumbing.

As the pipes are leaking out water and pressure, the entire process of supplying water into your home is out of place. Because of this, there can be a significant loss of water pressure and trapped air may also settle in your plumbing system.

Ø  There are faulty parts on your water system

Aside from damaged plumbing, another reason behind trapped air on your system is a faulty part. Since it is normal for particular parts to break and need replacement after a couple of years, you should expect that once it does, it will also affect the efficiency of your plumbing system.

In most cases, the parts you need to check are the following:

·       Thermostat

If your water heater’s thermostat is already faulty, hot water pockets may form and trap air in your pipes. Once this happens, not only will your water be too hot, but it can be the source of the gurgling sound you hear on your faucets.

·       Pressure relief valve

Once your heater’s parts wear out, there are many things that could happen: It is possible for the valve to burst and leak, which gives the same effect as a faulty piping system. Aside from loud noises, it is also possible for your water supply to halt entirely.

Ø  There has been a recent maintenance work on your water system

After maintenance or new installation work on your water system, it is quite common for air to settle in your water pipes. Fortunately, when this happens, the solution is usually simple.

Once the service is complete, you may notice sputtering faucets and loud noises coming from your walls. If this continues to happen in a few days, the reason may be more complicated. Usually, the reason behind trapped air is when your water supply has been turned off. As a result, all that is left in your pipes are air until it gets replaced by water. If the cause is an ill-fitting pipe or incorrect installation, you should address the problem as soon as possible.

Ø  You are using a well for your water supply

Well water is popular in areas that cannot be supplied with municipal water. Since the water is fresh and clean, locals do not mind installing a well on their property. Unfortunately, wells can be quite complex and can be a challenge to take care of and maintain.

If you notice air bubbles in your faucets, the reason may be due to:

·       Drought

If your well is not able to get sufficient water supply because of drought, air will also be sucked in on the system, which will eventually get transported into your piping and faucets. Unfortunately, until your well gets sufficient yield, trapped air will continue to settle on your system. If this is the case, stop using your supply in the meantime.

·       Faulty well pump

Your well’s pump is responsible for maintaining the supply of water in your home. Once your pump is defective, it is no longer able to do its work efficiently, which results in low water pressure and air bubbles to appear.

How do you know if you have air in your water pipes?

Before you contact a professional to fix your plumbing, it would be best to conduct an inspection first, especially if money is tight. Chances are that the issue may not be related to your water pipes.

Signs of trapped air in your water pipes

To determine if your pipes have trapped air, you can ask yourself the following questions:

1.     Did you recently have your pipes installed?

If you recently installed a new plumbing system in your home, it is normal for air to enter your pipes. Your contractor may have told you this beforehand, as the installation allows air to make its way into your system easily.

What you can do:

Thankfully, it is easy to remedy this situation. All you need to do is turn on your hot and cold water and leave it for two to three minutes. This allows your water pressure to regulate and removes the air in your system.

2.     Did you recently have something done with your plumbing?

After an hour or more of maintenance work, air may enter your system. This usually happens when the process required you to shut your main water system valve off. Once water is drained from your pipes, it is normal for air to make its way to your system.

What you can do:

Flushing your pipes can solve the issue. You can do this by doing the simple method we mentioned before. If leaving your faucets on for around 3 minutes do not do anything to fix the problem, try “bleeding your pipes” using the following steps:

1: Turn your main water supply off

2: Turn all the faucets on your home on

3: Wait for the water to stop running (All faucets should stop releasing water)

4: Switch on your main water supply

5: Turn your faucets off

6: Check if there are no air bubbles left

Tip: Try turning your faucets on starting from the lowest faucets in your home to the highest ones. This method may be helpful in letting all the air out of your system and regulates your supply more efficiently.

3.     Do you hear sputtering noises on your plumbing?

Do you suddenly hear loud noises in your plumbing system without any reason? If there was no recent maintenance work done on your system, then the reasons may be due to trapped air from faulty or damaged parts.

What you can do:

If the flushing or bleeding method does not work, you may need to have an expert look at your system. In many cases, the only fix could be replacing certain parts in your pipes or heater.

4.     Do you have a weaker water pressure?

One of the common signs of trapped air in your pipes is weak water pressure. If this happens a lot and there is no drought in your area (if you are using a well), and no water maintenance in your area (if you use a municipal water supply), then trapped air is the culprit.

What you can do:

As always, try the bleeding method first. If this does not work, call an expert to inspect your system.

Can air in water pipes cause damage?

Depending on the main reason behind the trapped air, it is possible for it to cause damage to your pipes and plumbing potentially.

If you let air continue to settle in your pipes, be ready to:

  • Hear constant noises from your walls and faucets

If you made up your mind to just let air enter your water pipes, you should expect to hear the loud noises from your water system every day. Since you did not do anything to fix the problem, the issue will remain until you do something to fix the issue.

  • Have low water pressure for your day-to-day needs

In many instances, trapped air messes with the normal pressure of your water. Expect to get low or no water when you shower, wash dishes, cook, and water your lawn.

  • Replace pipes and parts due to corrosion and rust

In extreme cases, trapped air may be one of the reasons why you need to replace your pipes. High amounts of oxygen can be highly corrosive when mixed with water, which may also affect your pipes as time passes. Since the pressure of your water is irregular, there are times when the pressure is too high or low. High water pressures can corrode your pipes and damage them early.