It’s never fun when you turn on your faucet only to find no water. While water shortage may be a potential reason but a more common concern is an airlock. Sometimes the air in the plumbing fixtures gets trapped. As a result, the water does not flow in the pipes adequately. The problem is more common in hot water pipes. Ideally, you need a professional plumber to resolve this issue however, you can try out our 5 ways to fix an airlock in your pipes.
In case there is no success, a professional plumber is always your last resort. But before we get into the details of how to fix an airlock in your plumbing fixtures, let’s take a closer look at what causes an airlock in the first place.
What Causes an Airlock?
By definition, an airlock occurs when the flow of water in the pipes is restricted because air is trapped in the system. The problem is a common occurrence in pipes carrying hot water. Since hot water contains water vapors, which are lighter in weight (compared to liquid water) they may rise to a higher point. These vapors are essentially air that traps in the pipes and becomes a part of the hot water system that prevents the flow of water throughout the system. As a result, you do not get water at your desired water outlet in the house.
When it comes to cold water supply, the problem is less likely to occur because cold water pipes are connected to the main water supply. This reduces the risk of vapor formation and air getting trapped in the pipes.
5 Ways to Fix an Airlock in the Pipes
Now that you already know how air gets trapped in the pipes, it is time to move on and learn ways to fix an airlock in your pipes. The best thing about all these methods is that they are easy and do not require any specialized equipment. Moreover, if you can resolve the issue using these techniques, you can save on the cost you would spend by hiring a professional plumber. But if the problem persists, you will need to seek professional assistance. So let’s get started.
The Hosepipe Method
Perhaps the quickest way to fix an airlock in your pipes is to use a hosepipe. All you have to do is to attach a hosepipe to the tap where there is an airlock. Now connect the other end of the hosepipe to a faucet or tap that is working. With both ends of the pipe tightly intact, turn on the tap the problematic tap first followed by turning on the tap that is working. As water will fill in the pipe, it will create pressure on the air-locked pipe. This might take a few minutes for the airlock to break open. In case the problem is not resolved within the first few minutes, you can try this method again. However, if the issue persists, you can move on and try some of the other ways to fix t airlock.
Use Your Washing Machine
This is a slight variation of the hosepipe method. However, it capitalizes on the power of the washing machine. This method is appropriate when used on an automatic washing machine that works with both hot and cold water connections. All you have to do is to start by turning off the input valves of your washing machine and then disconnect the hoses. Now connect these valves to a hosepipe and then turn on the hot water valve. As you turn on the hot water, make sure you turn on the cold water valve as well. Let the water flow in for at least 30 seconds. With this pressure, it is likely that the airlock in your pipes will break.
Once completed, don’t forget to connect the valves with the hose again.
Turn on All Faucets in the House
Another simple way to fix an airlock that does not require any special tools or skills is turning on all the faucets in your house. While this is quite an inefficient way to resolve the issue (because it results in loss of water), it is a very effective solution. It creates pressure in all the pipes and helps break the airlock. Make sure you turn on all faucets including your showerhead and let the water run for a few minutes. You will notice the sound of air popping out of some of your pipes. In case you want this solution to be more efficient in terms of loss of water, you can place empty buckets or water collecting tubs under all faucets to avoid the loss of freshwater.
Drain the Radiator System
In case there is a boiler installed in your home and an airlock occurs in the boiler, it is essential to drain all the radiator valves in your home. The first thing that you need to do is to turn off your boiler. Once you have turned it off, you need to turn on all the radiator valves one at a time. Don’t forget to turn it off before moving to the next valve. Make sure you give the same number of twists to close the valve as you did to open it. Start by the first valve in line and continue until all radiator valves have been opened and closed. Now repeat the process once again starting from the first radiator and continuing till the end. By now, the airlock in your pipes should have broken.
Shower Head Method
This last method is perhaps the one that requires most effort but if done properly, it can be very effective in solving the problem of airlocks. First, you need to unscrew the showerhead from the connecting pipe. Then wrap the pipe with plastic bags. With this membrane that is created by the plastic bags, you send pressure through the pipes. Now place the showerhead again and go to your header tank. Turn off the hot water outlet and leave the cold one turned on. Now return back to your shower and turn on both hot and cold water taps. The intense pressure that will be created as a result will travel through the pipe and break the airlock open.
Once the problem is resolved, you need to turn off the water in your shower and remove plastic bags after removing the showerhead. Next, you have to turn on the hot water outlet in your header tank.
By trying these simple methods to resolve the problem of the airlock, you can restore the functioning of all the pipes in your home in no time. However, in case the problem persists or is a recurring one, it is best to call a professional plumber. They have the expertise to resolve all plumbing problems that can cause inconvenience at home and improve your quality of life.
If you live in Arizona and need a professional plumber, call Mesa Plumbing. To know more about the services we provide or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call now at 480-832-1660.