What To Do About Airlock In Your Plumbing System

image of a homeowner delaing with airlock in plumbing drain

Sink drains that are slow to drain and toilet flushes that are incomplete are both classic indications of airlock issues. Airlock in plumbing is typically caused by insufficient free-flowing air within the plumbing’s vent system. If you think that your plumbing system has this issue, you should schedule a professional plumbing inspection to avoid further plumbing problems.

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What Are Airlocks?

What are airlocks? Airlocks are pockets of air that get stuck within the drain lines. They often occur when vent pipes are blocked. These blockages cause air to get stuck in the pipe and create an airlock that impedes the flow of water and causes a host of additional plumbing issues.

Signs Your Plumbing System Has An Airlock

image of an alarm clock in toilet depicting a slow or incomplete toilet flush and airlock

Given that you can’t exactly see what’s going on in your plumbing system’s drain lines, there are other things that you will need to do to determine whether an airlock is responsible for your plumbing problems. Following are several ways to verify that your problem has an airlock:

  • Your Drains Are Sluggish: If you find that the drains throughout your home are slow-moving compared to their normal drain times, this may be due to an airlock. If there is any air trapped within the plumbing system, you might hear bubbling or gurgling sounds from your toilet.
  • Your Toilet Flush Cycle Is Incomplete: If flushing your toilet does not lead to a complete flushing cycle and water continues to move around the bowl before slowly exiting, this can also be the result of an airlock. You might hear gurgling noises in your sink, shower, or tub.

In each of these cases, the most likely cause is an air vent that’s become blocked. If you happen to live in an especially cold region, during the winter, moist air that moves in and out of the air vent at your roof can freeze at the entrance, and the frozen matter can accumulate until the vent is entirely sealed. There’s also the possibility that small birds have built a nest at the opening of this vent, and this can also completely restrict airflow here.

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The Sump Pump Has An Air Lock

image of a sump pump and sump pump pit

If your sump pump develops an airlock, this can cause serious issues that wind up being incredibly costly to fix. If this airlock winds up restricting the pump’s ability to move excess water away from the foundation of your home or your basement floor, you may wind up experiencing foundation damage or flooding. Drilling relief holes in the plumbing’s discharge hose are one possible solution. To make sure that the problem has been fixed, pour water into the basin or crock and verify that the airlock has been resolved.

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Dealing With Especially Stubborn Airlocks

If you resolve them quickly, airlocks in plumbing drain lines aren’t exactly a serious issue. However, you may find that some airlocks are much easier to get rid of than others. Airlocks that are more difficult to clear out will likely require professional plumbing service. If you have an airlock in your plumbing system that’s especially stubborn, get in touch with plumbing professionals who are experienced in resolving problems like these. They’ll clear out your stubborn airlock fast and can even make sure that the entire plumbing system is working as it should.


Frequently Asked Questions About Airlocks

Is it possible to get an airlock in a drainpipe?

If there are multiple slow-moving drains, you might have an issue with the system venting rather than a single, isolated blockage. Imbalanced pressure within the pipes can create vacuum forces and airlocks that impede proper drain functioning.

What sounds do air-filled pipes make?

image of a homeowner holding ear and listening to air trapped in plumbing pipes

Pipes that are noisy due to trapped air will vibrate and make rapid ticking sounds. These noises can be both annoying and loud. If you increase the velocity of the water in your pipes for a short period of time, you may be able to quiet them down.

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How can a plumber get the air out of my waste pipes?

image of a plumbing removing airlock from water pipes in a home

To eliminate air from waste pipes, plumbers usually start with the faucet that is nearest to the shutoff valve, and then they will work their way to the faucet that’s farthest away. Each hot and cold tap will be opened to approximately the halfway point so that the air can travel out. They’ll also flush all of the water from your toilets as well.

How do water pipes get airlocks?

The primary cause of airlocks in pipes are air pockets that flowing water traps so that the water can no longer flow freely. Moreover, pipes for cold water have lower pressure than hot water pipes do and thus, hot water pipes are the ones that often get airlocks.

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Can pipes be damaged by trapped air?

More often than not, having air trapped in your water pipes won’t cause significant plumbing damage. After all, its just air. However, when air gets trapped, it can cause some irritating issues such as excessive noise in the walls.

Is it possible for an airlock to self-correct?

There are times when airlocks self-correct, but it certainly isn’t worth the risk to wait and see if they do. When the air gets stuck in the central or hot water heating system, airlocks develop. Vapors get caught at the highest point of pipework given that water is denser than the gas within the system.


Get Superior Plumbing Solutions By Calling Robinson Plumbing

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Call Robinson Plumbing today, one of Lehigh Valley’s most trusted plumbing services. We have a comprehensive suite of plumbing services that we provide including drain clearing, water heater replacement services, water leak repairs, toilet repairs, and more. We always offer our clients options and help them make informed decisions concerning their plumbing repairs. This means that you can choose the best option for your budget and your home.

Are you experiencing a major plumbing issue after hours? No problem! You can trust Robinson Plumbing to help. Just take advantage of our 24-hour emergency plumbing support. We’ll get the job done right and fast, and best of all, we’ll do it at an affordable cost.

We’re proud to offer the most competitive prices and the best workmanship in all of the greater Lehigh Valley area. Our plumbers are licensed and experienced, and they’re committed to ensuring your satisfaction. We also back our work up with reliable guarantees. Call Robinson plumbing now to request a free, hassle-free estimate.

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