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How to Get Air Out of Water Pipes After Water Service Has Been Shut Off

Updated February 21, 2017

The accumulation of air in a home plumbing system occurs when water taps, toilets and other appliances with water valves have not been in use for a period of time. As plumbing pipes cool, the contraction of water leaves air gaps at every tap and valve. If the water service has been interrupted due to utility work, air will enter the system from outside the house. The homeowner can release trapped air in water pipes in 20 minutes or less, depending on the size of the home plumbing system.

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  1. Locate the highest water tap in the home. This may be in an upstairs bathroom shower or sink.

  2. Remove the shower head or the sink tap aerators using combination pliers. This allows the water to flow faster through the pipes. The faster the flow, the more air will be drawn out of the pipes.

  3. Turn the cold water tap to the full on position. If a single handle mixer is used, turn the handle to cold as well. Expect the water to spit and spurt erractically as the air is pushed out from the water pipes.

  4. Keep the water running for at least five minutes to flush out air and any mineral deposits or residue which may have accrued in the pipes.

  5. Close the cold water taps.

  6. Open the hot water tap and allow the water to flow for at least one minute. The hot water pipes from the storage tank will have accumulated air as a result of cooling, and will take less time to flush out.

  7. Close the hot water tap.

  8. Replace the shower head and the aerator on the sink tap.

  9. Tip

    The faster the water flow at the uppermost taps, the more air is sucked out from the other taps and pipes in the plumbing system. If the water flow at the top is slow, open all of the home taps. Close the taps after the prescribed time beginning with the lowest, on up progressively to the highest.

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Things You'll Need

  • Combination pliers

About the Author

Max Stout

Max Stout began writing in 2000 and started focusing primarily on non-fiction articles in 2008. Now retired, Stout writes technical articles with a focus on home improvement and maintenance. Previously, he has worked in the vocational trades such as automotive, home construction, residential plumbing and electric, and industrial wire and cable. Max also earned a degree of biblical metaphysician from Trinity Seminars Ministry Academy.

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