Plumbing problems range from those that are easy to fix at home to complex issues best left to professional plumbers. Here at Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating, we believe in empowering homeowners with knowledge. Read on to learn 5 effective ways to fix an air lock in pipes.
Looking for the best plumbers in Red Oak, TX? The team at Dial One Johnson is on call and ready to help. Give us a ring at (972) 388-3310 or visit us online to schedule services today.
What is an Air Lock in Plumbing?
An air lock occurs when pockets of air get into your plumbing, preventing water flow and potentially rendering water lines ineffective. Air lock issues can lead to low water pressure, or in severe cases, it can completely prevent water from moving through your pipes.
Signs of Air Lock
Plumbing problems present themselves in a variety of ways, but learning how to recognize the signs of an air lock will help you tackle the problem more effectively. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Water sputters out of faucets/pipes
- Water does not come out of certain faucets at all
- In a mixed faucet, the cold water works fine, but the hot water won’t flow
Air lock problems typically occur in hot water lines, as well as in heating systems that rely on hot water, such as boiler and radiator heating units.
5 Ways to Break Apart an Air Lock in Plumbing
Fortunately, air lock issues can often be solved at home with a DIY fix. Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable attempting your own repairs, or you’d rather not deal with the headache of troubleshooting, your local Red Oak, TX, plumbers are just a phone call away. If you’re up to tackling the issue at home, here are 5 ways to break up an air lock in your plumbing system.
1. Open All Faucets
This all-hands-on-deck approach involves opening every faucet in the home, including shower heads, and letting the water run for several minutes. The simultaneous increase in water pressure throughout your plumbing system can help break up air pockets. This method is simple, requires no tools and can help break up an air lock in a hard-to-reach area.
2. Connect a Hose pipe
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to break apart an air lock, the hosepipe method requires minimal elbow grease. Simply use a length of hose pipe to connect the problematic faucet to one that is working. Ensure a tight seal on both ends and open the problem faucet, then run the working faucet. As the hose fills with water, it will increase pressure in the air locked faucet. As this pressure works its way down your piping, it should break apart the air lock.
Depending on the location and severity of the problem, it may take a few minutes for this method to work. Once a few minutes have passed, remove the hose and test the problem faucet. Repeat this process if necessary. If you are unable to clear the air lock, it’s time to try something else.
3. Make Do With Your Washing Machine
Harness the power of your mighty washing machine with this variation on the hose pipe method. Now, this one only works if you have an automatic washing machine that utilizes both hot and cold water connections. To try this method, turn off the valves of both water inputs and disconnect their hoses. Next, connect these two water outlets with your length of hose pipe. Turn on the hot water valve first, then the cold water valve, leaving them open for roughly 30 seconds.
This method creates an increase in pressure that should hopefully break up the air locks in your pipes. When you’re done, turn off the cold valve, then the hot one and reconnect your washing machine.
4. The Showerhead Method
This method is slightly more involved than those previously discussed, but if you’re not having any luck thus far, it just might do the trick. Start by removing the showerhead from its pipe. Next, wrap 2–3 plastic bags around the connecting pipe to seal it off and replace the showerhead. Locate your water heater and turn off the hot water outlet.
Return to the shower and turn on both hot and cold water faucets. The plastic bag seal will create an increase in pressure, which should ideally travel back down the pipe and help bust that air lock. When done, turn off both faucets, remove the plastic bags and reinstall the shower head. Then, turn the hot water outlet back on at the source and check to see if the problem was solved.
5. Bleed Your Radiators
Air locks can also occur in radiators, which can create uneven heating patterns throughout the home. If you notice individual cold radiators, bleeding the system may solve the issue. To “bleed” your radiators, start by turning the heater/boiler off and waiting for all radiators to cool. Begin with the first radiator in the line and locate the radiator bleed valve (typically a small valve at the top of one side of your radiator. Place down towels or a cloth underneath it, as it might expel water. Using a radiator key, pliers or a screwdriver, slowly open the valve by half a turn. This releases air pressure, and you’ll likely hear a hissing sound as trapped air escapes.
When the valve expels a steady stream of water instead of air or steam, the radiator is free of excess air. Tighten the valve again by half a turn and repeat this process down the line for each radiator in the home.
Best Plumbers in Red Oak, TX: Dial One Johnson
If you’re unable to clear out an air lock, or if you’re ready to skip the troubleshooting and hire a professional plumber, the team at Dial One Johnson is ready to help. Our master plumbers will diagnose and repair plumbing problems right away with honest, transparent service, upfront pricing and expert advice. Call (972) 388-3310 or contact us online to get started.