Sputtering, coughing faucets, irregular water flow, hiccups in water, and vibration or sounds in your water pipes indicate air in well water lines. Air in water lines doesn’t change water quality but it is irritating to see water coughing out of taps. Let’s investigate the common causes of air in well water lines and their solution.
1. Water Pressure Tank – The well water pressure tank maintains water pressure with the help of air. If the air setting is disturbed or the pressure tank is not running optimally, it will allow air to enter water.
Solution: Let water run for 2-3 minutes. It will automatically clear the air in water. You can also check air settings in the tank using a pressure gauge. The air pressure in the tank must be 2-3 PSI less than the lower setting on pressure switch.
2. Faulty Well Pump – The well pump may draw air along water. It is a common problem with above-ground well pumps. Submersible pumps face this issue when they go bad or water level goes below the pump inlet. Sometimes a large pump can also cause this problem.
Solution: You need to service your well pump, check its position inside the well and ensure that it is appropriately sized.
3. Loss of Water in Well – Some older wells that have a receding water level allow air to enter water lines. Air can also enter water if your well has a slow recovery rate.
Solution: The temporary solution to this problem is to lower the well pump and submerge it in the water. A permanent solution would be to increase the depth of the well to tap more water underneath.
4. Air Discharge in only Hot Water Taps – Some homeowners report that only hot water has air. It means that there is nothing wrong with your well or plumbing lines. Your water heater is the culprit here.
Solution: Flush your water heater or get it serviced.
5. Plumbing Valves – A poorly installed or a faulty valve can also allows air to enter plumbing lines.
Solution: Check all water valves in your home.
6. Leaks in Well Piping – Leaks in the well pining allow air, sediment and dust to enter water pipes. It also allows water to leak.
Solution: Close the main water supply to your home and check the pressure gauge. If the pressure falls slowly, there is probably a leak in the plumbing system. Identifying the exact leak spot may take some time as you will have to manually check every inch of plumbing pipes in your home.
7. Presence of Gases – Some gases like methane, CO2, and hydrogen sulfide often find their way in well water due to various reasons. These gases travel along water and make your faucets sputter. Some gases like hydrogen sulfide add rotten egg smell to well water.
Solution: Get your water tested to identify which gas is present in your well water. The treatment method depends on the gas and its concentration.
8. Faulty Water Softener – Any leaks in the water softener lets air inside water. This air travels in the plumbing pipes and this is why you often hear loud bangs when you open a water tap.
Solution: Check brine tubing, valves, inlet/outlet and housing with a sponge dipped in soapy water. Replace the particular component if you see air bubbles coming out.
9. Water Treatment Machines – Many filters such as aerators and oxidation filter rely on air pocket to oxidize contaminants like iron, methane, sulfur, and manganese. Any fault in these machines will increase the amount of air in well water.
Solution: Make sure your filters are properly installed and have no leaks.
Removing Air from Water Pipes – A Temporary Fix
- Turn off the main water supply valve completely.
- Open all the water connections in your home. Make sure you open the water connections for your dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances using a fixed water connection.
- Turn on the main water valve you closed before opening the faucets. Keep the faucets running for 10-15 minutes or until you a steady stream of water coming out from the taps. Wait for a couple of minutes after seeing a steady flow of water.
Also read: [Fixed] Water Well Frozen Pipes Solution & Prevention Guide
The air in water lines is not a big problem. As you have read, most of the problems can be fixed without calling a professional. However, well owners must get their well water tested annually to keep a check on its quality.