Causes of Air in Well Water Lines and Their Solutions

Seeing is believing. If you notice sputtering and coughing faucets, irregular water flow, hiccups in water, and vibration or sounds in your water pipes, you have air in water lines. The air in water pipes is not related to water quality and will not affect your health; it is very irritating and can happen due to various reasons. If you notice air in your pipes, don’t worry as most of the time, you can identify the cause yourself and fix it.

In this article, we will discuss the causes behind air in well water pipes and how you can get rid of them. We are positive that you will identify the cause and implement its solution after reading this guide.

Causes of Air in Well Water Lines and Their Solutions

Water Pressure Tank – Air in your water pressure tank can cause sputtering at the faucets. It happens in old pressure tanks or bladderless water tanks. When the air is mixed in the water tank, it enters the pipes and travels to your faucets. When you open the faucets, you see water coughing out. Water Pressure tank issues will not resolve automatically after 2-3 minutes.

Solution: The most appropriate solution for this problem is to replace the bladder or get a new water pressure tank. Try replacing the pressure tank’s valve before looking for a new pressure tank.

Faulty Well Pump – A faulty well pump can also be the reason behind air in your faucets. Air will enter your plumbing system due to the vacuum forming in the well pump while it is running. Well pump issues are more common in above-ground well pumps as compared to submersible pumps as they are merged inside the water. Over-sized pumps can also be the issue behind air entering your water pipes. Sometimes air can be entering your pump due to a decrease in water table and drought.

Solution: You need to service your well pump and ensure that its size is according to the water table in your pump.

Loss of Water in Well – A reducing water table can also be the reason behind air entering your plumbing system. A decrease in water recovery rate is also a common cause for sputtering faucets. It usually happens when the well is taking too much time to recover. Imagine opening the tap in the morning and see it coughing.

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 and tap more water underneath.

Air Discharge in only Hot Water Taps – It is also possible that only the hot water taps sputter. It indicates that there is some issue with the water heater or the plumbing linked with it. It can happen due to the water heater heating water too much, resulting in skin burning, heater malfunction, or an explosion.

Solution: If you are going through the above scenario, turn off your water heater at once. Flush it out and check if sputtering has stopped. If it is working fine, relax. Otherwise, call for a certified plumber to check your water heater.

Plumbing valve

Plumbing Valves – Sometimes, bad plumbing valves can cause the air in water pipes. A poorly installed or a faulty valve is the culprit behind this. The valves start to take in air, and this air is then released in the faucets.

Solution: You will have to check all the valves one by one. Sometimes sputtering happens only in one place in your home. If this is the case, likely, the valves associated with that room or kitchen are not working properly.

Leaks in Well Piping – Leaks in the well pining can not only allow air to enter into your plumbing system, but it is also a hot point for sediment to enter inside. The situation is not good for well owners, regardless of where the leak is. It can be inside the well or outside. Outside leaks can also result in a reduced flow rate.

Solution: The best way to diagnose leaks in the well piping is to close down the main water supply to your home and check the pressure gauge. If the pressure falls slowly, there is probably a leak in the well piping. Identifying the exact leak spot may be a difficult and technical thing to do. You may need to call professionals to sort this one out for you.

Presence of Gases – It is possible that gases present in the well can cause sputtering in the faucets. The most common culprits, in this case, are methane, CO2, and hydrogen sulfide gas. All of these gases are present naturally in the earth’s crust and are also produced as a result of human activities. The safe limit for methane is 28 mg/L in water. Above this limit, methane can get explosive.

Solution: If you fear gases are contaminating your water supply, get your water tested. The best way to deal with methane is aeration. Aeration will kick out methane from the well water.

damaged water softener

Water Softener Problem – A faulty water softener can also impart air into your plumbing system. The main reason is a problematic valve. A leak in the brine tubing can also be the problem behind it. The air-check valves can also be working wrongly.

Solution: Check for holes in the brine tubing and check valves. You can use a sponge dipped in a foam of water and detergent. If you notice bubbles coming out, the air is getting in from that point. Replace the particular valve or piping.

Water Treatment Machines – Aerators are commonly used to treat iron, methane, sulfur, and manganese in well water. If the aeration devices are not properly managed, the air introduced in the water will not leave. Some filters use oxidation to remove iron from well water. Any fault in the installation or working of these devices can lead to air in water pipes.

Solution: Make sure your filters are properly installed according to the instructions given to them. Ensure that the drain/outlet is properly managed. It is often a careless installation that leads to such issues.

Removing Air from Water Pipes – A Temporary Fix

The above solutions will help you fix the solution permanently. It is possible that you may not have enough time to find the problem and want a temporary fix. The following steps will help you fix the sputtering problem temporarily in a short time.

  • 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.

The above strategy will help you kick out all the air bubbles in the water pipes and water pressure tank. However, it is not a solution to a faulty installation or malfunctioning equipment.

Also read: [Fixed] Water Well Frozen Pipes Solution & Prevention Guide

Final Words

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.

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