Opened a faucet and heard loud noises? The loud hammering is caused by air trapped in the pipes, so how do I remove air from my water pipes? The easiest and least costly methods will be listed first.
A frequently asked question upon hearing the sound of a hammering when opening a faucet is: how do I remove air from my water pipes? There are a couple of solutions that are effective and cost-free. More involved techniques may involve a visit from the plumber.
What Causes Hammering and Air in the Pipes?
What is a water hammer? Sometimes the terms “water hammering“, and “air in the pipes” are used interchangeably, however, knowing which one is the cause of the rattling, knocking, or pounding will result in the appropriate remedy to resolve the problem.
How Do I Remove Air From My Water Pipes: Easy Remedies to Stop Knocking Pipes
The steps below should answer the question: How do I remove air from my water pipes?
This typically presents itself as a loud noise resembling a machine gun firing rapidly. When water is under extreme pressure the potential for leaks, flooding and burst pipes are greatly increased. Most modern homes will have a thermal expansion tank installed near their water heater.
These expansion pots/chambers regulate the hot water pressure coming into the home. Building codes in most cities require they be installed in new construction. If the home is older, it is highly recommended one is installed. They can be found at home improvement stores.
Mineral deposits accumulated over time can prevent the air chambers from doing their job. Sometimes these air chambers need to be replaced. An air chamber is a capped piece of pipe that is installed behind walls or appliances to regulate water pressure.
- Turn water off at the main.
- Remove the air chamber.
- Clean the inside by scraping gunk or replace the piece if it is beyond cleaning or damaged.
Hammering can also be caused by loose pipes in basements that knock against each other once a faucet is opened. The pressure of the water running through the pipes will force violent movement that could cause them to burst.
Reinforce support for the pipes by attaching straps, or reinforcing wood supports.
Warning: Do not use galvanized straps on copper pipes since the two metals are highly reactive.
Hammer Arresters and Air in the Pipes
Arrestors are effective if the above steps don’t work. They serve to regulate the air in the pipes and are meant to be installed as close as possible to the point where the hammering occurs. For those who are not comfortable using a blow torch, a plumbing service is highly recommended.
Air in the Pipes – As its name implies, the culprit is air trapped in the pipes. Air can be trapped when there is accumulation in the strainer/aerator and too much water force.
- Remove aerators from all faucets (start with offending faucet first), clean and replace. Turn water back on and see if the problem is resolved. If not, go to step 2.
- Start at the highest point (second floor or farthest distant faucet), and work your way down turning faucets (hot and cold), showers and bathtub faucets on. Flush all toilets. Turn everything off starting at the top. If the problem is not resolved, go to step 3.
- Leave indoor and outdoor faucets open half way. Turn water off at the main and allow the remaining water in the pipes to exit. We call this ‘bleeding the lines‘. Turn the water back on and allow the faucets to continue draining until all sputtering and chugging are done. Once the water runs smoothly, turn faucets off.
Hopefully, the question of how do I remove air from my water pipes has been answered for your particular situation in the free and easy steps mentioned above. If a plumbing job is required, consider getting as much information as possible from the helpful folks in the plumbing department and consider doing it yourself. A blow torch may seem intimidating at first, but it is easy to get the hang of things with a bit of practice.
Resources and Related Articles
- Water Hammer / Noisy Pipes: Cause, Effect, Solution – One Project Closer, LLC
- Corrosion of Mixed Metal Fire Sprinkler Systems – Copper Development Association Inc.
- Let the Natural Handyman help you take the bite out of water hammer!!