air lock in pipes

How to Fix an Air Lock in Pipes and Have Free Flowing Water Again

February 7 2022

Air Lock In Pipes

Have you noticed your water running slower than usual? There can be a few reasons for low water pressure, and one that is commonly overlooked is an air lock in pipes.

But this annoyance can become a real problem if it isn’t taken care of right away. Having an air lock in pipes is a situation that’ll eventually leave you without water unless it’s fixed.

So, how to fix an air lock in the pipeline? Well, you might be able to fix the air lock in pipes problem with just a hose and some ingenuity; however, the issue may require the expertise and training of a plumber.

But first of all, how do you really know if you have an air lock in pipes?

There are a few common signs:

Signs of an Air Lock in Pipes

  • Trapped air causes a variety of irritating symptoms, which you have probably already noticed if you are reading this article! Here is a list so that you can be sure that your plumbing problems are air lock related.
  • Knocking sounds in pipes
  • Irregular stream of water
  • Low water pressure (Normal pressure is 40-60 psi)
  • Rusting or corrosion in pipes
  • The water sputters out even when you’ve opened it all the way.
  • The air lock in pipes problem mainly occurs in hot water bath tabs. You’ll notice the cold water is running smoothly but the hot water is flowing sporadically.
  • The water sputters out even when you’ve opened it all the way.
  • The air lock in pipes problem mainly occurs in hot water bath tabs. You’ll notice the cold water is running smoothly but the hot water is flowing sporadically.

How Did This Happen?

The main cause of an air lock in pipes is when pockets of air are trapped by the flowing water, preventing the free flow of water.

Also, cold water pipes have less pressure compared to hot water pipes; as a result, it’s mainly hot water pipes that are affected by air locks. The pressure in the hot water pipes doesn’t force the blockage out.

If you have just installed new pipes or had plumbing work done, you may notice an air lock shortly afterward.

Depending on how connected your water system is to your neighbors, you might even get an air lock after your neighbor has had plumbing work done.

One other thing that can cause an air lock is repeated heating of the water. When evaporated water can’t escape the pipes, it becomes difficult to dislodge.

DIY Air Lock in Pipes Fix

An expert can fix an air lock in pipes, or you can save yourself time and money and do it yourself.

  1. You need a small hose. Connect it to the problematic hot water tap, and then join the hot and cold water tap together.
  2. Tie a knot on both ends of the hot and cold water tap with a clip to ensure it doesn’t get loose.
  3. Turn on the hot water, then cold water, for about a minute.
  4. Turn off the cold water, then the hot water tap. If the air lock in pipes is still on, repeat the process about two to three times. It should become better eventually.

To correct an air lock for a mixed system, where both hot and cold water are moving at the same time, you’ll need a longer hose. Then you’ll just do the above process repeatedly and the air lock in pipes problem will be over.

If after a few days the air lock in pipeline issue is still going on, you’ll need to drain the whole system, in which case you should consider calling in a plumber.

DIY Air Lock in Pipes Fix #2

Another method you can try begins with turning off your main water supply. The valve shut-off might look like the handle of a garden hose. If you can’t turn it off, that means it has calcified and you will need to get professional help.

Once you succeed in shutting off the main water supply, you should start turning on all your faucets and water-using appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers. It’s important to do this in order starting with the closest faucet to the main valve and ending with the furthest.

Once your facets begin to run out of water, start flushing your toilets until there is no more water left. Now you have emptied all the water from your pipes!

Now you can turn your water supply back on, but let the faucets continue to run for 10 to 15 more minutes. When a steady stream of water is flowing out of all of them, you can turn them off in the same order you turned them on. Also, flush your toilets and make sure there is no noisiness coming from the pipes when you do so.

Clearing an Air Lock From a Mixed Tap

Try this method if you have a mixed tap. Turn the hot tap on and let it run for a minute or so. Then, take a cloth and hold it over the cold water tap to block it.

Turn the cold water tap on gradually. Blocking its exit will force it to come out of the hot water tap and push the trapped air back into the tank.

Run the cold water for a few more minutes, then turn it off. Finally, turn off the hot water tap.

Fixing an Air Lock In an RV

If you are experiencing plumbing problems in your RV, we have you covered!

There are a few parts you should inspect to try to find out where the excess air is coming from. Start with the connection of the water pump to see that it isn’t broken or loose.

If you don’t find the problem there, check the water hose connecting the pump to the freshwater tank. Again, check for loose fittings.

Check the water heater itself to see if it has a loose plug or is only partially filled. It’s okay for the tank to have a small air gap at the top.

To purge air from the system, you will basically do the opposite of Solution 2. Start by turning on the faucet farthest from the pump, and work your way towards it. You can turn them off once you see a solid stream of water flowing out.

Air Lock Prevention

There are measures that can be taken to avoid an air lock in a pipeline, including:

  • Stopping leaks
  • Having enough seals in place for the best operation

When draining and refilling a system, extra care should be taken to avoid these problems. An air lock in pipes can easily be fixed once you spot these problems and warning signs.

Having sink, toilet, or other plumbing issues? Check out our locations or contact Hanover Supply to see what we have in stock!