Getting air bubbles in your water pipes is a common and often noisy problem. Thankfully, despite the unpredictable spurting faucets and clunky noises emanating from your plumbing, the air bubble problem can be rectified quite simply without an expensive visit from the plumber.
This guide will show you how to remove air from a gravity-based mains water system. It’s so quick and easy that you’ll only need one tool: an adjustable wrench.
Step 1 - Turn Off Your Water Supply
There are usually two water supplies in a house: the mains water system, which provides fresh water to your home, and the drainage or waste water system, which takes used water away from toilets and sinks through a separate system of pipes.
If you have a gravity-fed hot water system, your mains water entry system will be indirect. This means that the mains water is fed to two places, the cold tap in the kitchen and the cold water storage tank, which is usually found in a loft space. The cold water storage tank will feed all the other water sources in the house.
Before you can deal with the air bubbles, you need to turn the mains water system off. By doing this, you will be able to clear the rest of the water in the system whilst there is no further water coming through.
Do not turn off the drainage water system. The symptoms and air bubbles this project is addressing originate solely in the mains water entry system.
Step 2 - Locating Your Faucets
You need to locate all of the faucets in your house. Don't forget that your house may have some external faucets to provide water to your garden or yard area.
Step 3 - Running the Water Out of the System
Since we are working with a gravity fed mains system, the process of clearing the water out of your mains system will begin from the bottom-most point of the house and work upward from there. Starting with whichever faucet is at the lowest point in the house, open the faucets to run the water out. Work your way up vertically and run each faucet in turn, leaving them on until all the water has run through.
If you have outside faucets that you are running water from, make sure you attach a hose to the faucet to run the water away from the house. You should not leave water sitting near the foundation of your house, as this can cause damage.
Step 4 - Closing the Faucet at the Lowest Point
Once all the water has stopped running through the system, you need to turn off the faucet at the lowest point in the house. Just that one though. Leave all the other faucets open.
Step 5 - Turn on the Water Supply
You now need to turn the mains water supply back on.
Step 6 - Running the Water Through
Finally, you need to leave the rest of the faucets running in the house. The water will begin to run through them gurgling out at first. Don’t be alarmed, as the gurgling is normal given what you’ve just done to the system. After a short time, the water should begin to run smoothly from all the faucets.
This lack of spurting is the tell-tale sign that your water system is now free of air bubbles. You can now turn off all the remaining faucets in the house.
TIP: While this fix is certainly easy, running that much water through your system can be costly, epecially if you live in a drought-sensitive region. If you still wish to clear any air bubbles in your system, use these same steps but place containers under each faucet to save any escaping water. The collected water can be used for anything from watering the yard to washing the car.