Air in one cold-water pipe

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  #1  
Old 07-08-13, 06:03 AM
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Air in one cold-water pipe

My parents have a cottage where water comes from a nearby creek by way of a water pump. I'm afraid I did not get enough of a look at how the plumbing is actually hooked up to provide a sketch.

They get air in the lower bathroom sink's cold water. Nowhere else. The air spits two or three times after the faucet is turned on, then is it a full stream of water. Air will come back after the faucet has been off for several minutes.

OUTSIDE
One or two hose hookups at side of house
One hot and cold hose hookups under house used for draining pipes in winter

FIRST FLOOR
Kitchen sink
Bathroom sink
Bathroom shower

SECOND FLOOR
Bathroom sink
Bathroom shower

I know that water goes from the creek, to the pump, to the cottage.
I THINK the water goes
1) From the pump to a central area
1b) back out to hose hookups
2) Splits to the water heater
2b) back out to drain lines
3) H/C to kitchen sink
4) H/C to first sink
5) H/C to first shower
6) H/C to second floor and then Ts to sink/shower

OBSERVATIONS
1) I looked under the cottage and saw that some of the copper 45 degree bends had a bit of green at the solders, but nothing was leaking.
2) There are no leaks under the sink.
3) When I turned the shutoff for the sink, it did start to leak. Tightening it stopped that leak.
4) That sink does not have an aerator.

Any thoughts, other than replace the cold water shutoff valve and see if it was magic?
 
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Old 07-08-13, 08:57 AM
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What is the "central area" that you mentioned? It it a holding tank? That's where I would look first.
 
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Old 07-08-13, 09:06 AM
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Pulpo, there is no actual "central area". I'm just assuming that there is one spot in the house where the water line originally comes in before splitting into the water heater and then going to all points west. As opposed to the cold line going to all the hose hookups outside and then going inside or going inside to all fixtures, then looping around to the heater and then back to the fixtures (sure, that seems unlikely, but I wasn't there when the plumbing was installed, so I don't know.)

I can say that there is no holding tank, other than the water heater.
 
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Old 07-08-13, 09:29 AM
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Run the cold water until the air is out. Shut it from the valve under the sink while it's running. Don't shut the faucet. Wait a few minutes & open the valve again. Does it still spit?
 
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Old 07-08-13, 09:43 AM
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I've seen systems similar to this with no tank or a super small tank (seen, didn't work on them).
The system hold no real pressure and what you get at the tap is what the pump can produce (similar idea to a pitch pump).
If I had to guess (going on the little bit of info in the thread), the cold feed is leaking somewhere and letting in some air when the pump isn't running for a bit and there is no demand for water by that fauset.

Run the cold water until the air is out. Shut it from the valve under the sink while it's running. Don't shut the faucet. Wait a few minutes & open the valve again. Does it still spit?
I'd try this as a quick test and see if it's the faucet. Could be the mixing valve or the faucet itself.
 
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Old 07-08-13, 10:37 AM
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Unfortunately, I do not expect to be back there for several weeks. I'll pass Pulpo's test along to my father and see I can get an intelligent response to post. Going from someone else to me to my dad to me to someone else leaves a lot of places for misunderstanding (especially both times between me and dad).

That and Northern Mike's statement cause me to think that the shutoff is the problem; decent pressure causes it to not leak, but air can still come in when the faucet is off due to low pressure (tank is not more than a couple gallons).

Pulpo, please make sure I have the test correct before I pass it along to my dad;
1) Turn on faucet
2) Keep going until no more air comes out
3) Turn off the shutoff (Keep faucet open)
4) Wait (let's go with an hour to make sure) (faucet is still open)
5) Turn on the shutoff
6) Report if there is any air

edit: 7) Turn off faucet, dry counter and floor
Thanks
 
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Old 07-08-13, 07:34 PM
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Yes, that's the test. If your father doesn't have alzheimer's the way mine did, he should be able to handle it. If he does, don't tell him to wait an hour. I also agree w/ Northern Mike. If it's not the faucet, there is a leak somewhere. It might be under the house but it exists.
 
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Old 07-09-13, 12:14 PM
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I passed along the information. I'm sure he'll get back to me late some weekend, so I'd like some idea of what to tell him.

Three possibilities that I can come up with;
1) Leak at faucet
2) Leak at shutoff valve
3) Leak in pipe below (before) shutoff valve

If the Test = Leak, then it could be #1
If the Test = No Leak, then it could be #3

Where does #2 fall?
 
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Old 07-09-13, 10:38 PM
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#2 fails if you don't see water under the sink.
 
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Old 07-10-13, 07:46 AM
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Well, I cannot seem to edit my post. The ending should have been;

If the Test = AIR IN PIPE, then it could be #1
If the Test = AIR IN PIPE, then it could be #3
 
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Old 07-10-13, 11:30 AM
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I don't quite follow that. See what happens when you or you father does the test.
 
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Old 07-10-13, 12:08 PM
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You didn't follow it because I didn't write it correctly.

If the Test = AIR IN PIPE, then it could be #1
If the Test = NO AIR IN PIPE, then it could be #3

At any rate, I'll give the results when I have them. Thanks for putting up with this.
 
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Old 07-21-13, 06:59 PM
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My father finally had a chance to test the line per Post #6. He reports that the line still had air in it. He will replace the shutoff valve in the future and report again.
 
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Old 09-24-13, 06:07 AM
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Just to end this thread:

My father had a plumber come in and do some work. It took a few attempts, and the work was done without my father's presence, so I do not know what the final solution actually was. But it's working correctly now.
 
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