Trapped Air in Water Lines (Signs, Causes & Solutions) 

Knowing you have air trapped in your water lines may not seem like a huge issue, but it can cause major inconveniences and issues over time. The pipes in your house can shake violently and the water in your faucets can come out inconsistently. All of these make it difficult to do basic tasks like taking a shower or washing dishes. 

Air can get trapped in water lines after a recent remodel or maintenance of your pipes. Flushing out your pipes system should get rid of all the trapped air bubbles and the water flow will return to normal. If this does not work, you likely have a faulty valve or cracked waterline somewhere in your home.

Understanding the basic signs of air trapped in your pipes can help you catch on to the main issue early. Which can save you extra work and damage in the future. Follow along to learn about these signs or air in your pipes, the reasons these could happen, and a few tricks to fix the issue on your own!

How To Know You Have Air in Your Water Lines? 

There are a handful of signs you can look for that identify air in your water lines.  They are all very easy to spot, even for the brand-new homeowner. If you happen to notice all of these signs at the same time, then you certainly have an air problem in your plumbing system!

Your Water Comes Out Bubbly

One of the first things you may notice is water from your faucets coming out bubbly. So instead of a streamlined flow of water coming from the faucet, the water just gurgles out. You will be able to clearly see large pockets of air being pushed out of the tap alongside the water.

Bubbly Water

 It is normal if there are a few bubbles right when you open the faucet. But if the water steadily comes out like this, there is certainly air in your pipes! This could also happen with just one faucet or multiple across the house.

You Hear Hissing or Popping 

Along with the bubbly gurgles of an air-filled pipe, you may hear the hissing and popping of this air escaping from the tap. This is the sound of the slight bit of pressure released when the air is released. This is one of the more noticeable signs of air in your water lines, as the noise can be a bit startling if you do not expect it!

Similarly as with the bubbly water, if you hear a single pop or a little hissing when your first open the faucet that is completely normal. A small bit of air can get trapped in the water line when you turn the tap on an off. You should only get concerned if this sign is consistently happening in one or more faucets.

Irregular Water Flow 

Seeing water come from a faucet in irregular spurts is another classic sign of air trapped in your water line. It may seem similar to bubbly water, but instead of the air and water coming out together they seem to take turns! You may see water flow for a second, then slow to a dribble for a few more, then start up like normal again.

This sign is also very noticeable in a shower, where the water will seem to pulse the water in random intervals. If you notice a single faucet or several in your home do not seem to have consistent water flow, you likely have air in your pipes. Especially if you hear the popping and notice bubbly water alongside the irregular flow.

Vibrating Pipes 

Finally, there are vibrating pipes. This is the most severe sign of air in your pipes and means you have a serious problem. If there is enough air leaking into your waterline that the pressure causes the pipe to shake, there is either a major leak or a combination of leaks somewhere in your home.

Usually, you will be able to hear the metal pipes shaking first.  Or you may even see your faucet shake like it has been thrown in a blender! Both are displays of major air pockets in your water line. You should try your best to no longer use that faucet till the issue is fixed. This prevents the pipe from shaking so much is breaks.

What Causes Air To Get In Your Water Lines? 

It is relatively common to have air get into your water lines. The most common explanation comes from recent plumbing work, where air can easily sneak into the pipes. More serious explanations come from cracks in your pipes and valves. Let us look at all these possibilities to find which one relates best to you!

Plumbing Maintenance 

One of the most simple explanations for air in your water pipes is due to recent plumping maintenance! As plumpers open, fix, remove, or replace pipes in your system pockets of air can get trapped inside. These air pockets will escape through your faucets with sputtering water for a short time.

Plumbing Maintenance 

If the signs last longer than a few days after the maintenance, then this explanation is not what caused the air to get into the pipes. Poorly fitted pipes from the recent efforts could explain the constant air. But if this is the case you will need to get it checked out again. But if this could be the issue you can let the problem resolve itself after a bit of time.

Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodels are similar to plumbing maintenance in that air can easily get trapped in pipes after being opened up. If you notice a few of the signs of air trapped in your waterlines after a recent remodel, this is likely the cause. Fortunately, the air pocket should find its way out within a few days.

Bathroom Remodel

The air usually gets trapped this way when the water supply has been shut off and the excess water drained. This makes the pipes only full of air. So when the water is returned both elements must find their way out. If the shaking pipes and bubbly water last a few days, the recent remodel is likely not the case and there is an issue elsewhere.

Cracked Water Line

Now onto the more serious causes of air in your water lines, crack in your pipes. This could be a result of faulty maintenance or remodeling, but it could be many other things as well. If a cracked water line is the cause of the air in your pipes, you will likely have all the signs listed earlier that last a long while.

Cracked Water Line

It is important to get a cracked water line fixed as soon as possible. Even if only a little bit of air leaks into your pipes, it can cause the crack to grow larger over time. Which will lead to more damage costs and increase your water bill significantly.

Faulty Valve

Another more serious explanation for air in your water lines is a faulty valve somewhere. Or really any crack or break in seals within your pipes can lead to air being sucked into your system. A check valve specifically can suck in the air and create negative pressure in your pipes and well.

Faulty Valve

One of the biggest signs that a faulty valve is an issue is the reduced water pressure. You can usually notice in when you use any of the faucets, but you are also able to see it on your water pressure gauge. You will need to call a professional to help with this problem. As there is no easy way to tell where the faulty valve is in your home.

How To Get the Air Out of Your Water Lines? 

Luckily, if the air in your water lines is only a minor issue it is very easy to fix on your own! If you do these steps several times and the air keeps creeping into the lines, then you will need a professional’s help. But try out these easy steps to let all the air out of your lines and get your faucets back to normal.

Step 1: Turn Off Water Supply 

The first step in dealing with any pipe-related issue is to turn off the water supply. There will be a main water supply valve somewhere in your home. The water supply valve could be outside, in a basement, in a garage, or a supply closet. Once you find it, switch the valve to its offsetting.

This will allow you to flush out the pipes but starting from square one. The water supply valve acts as a reset button. Allowing you to safely work on the pipes without exacerbating the issue. Once the water is off, it is time to get the air out of your pipes!

Step 2: Turn All Your Faucets On 

Once the water valve is off you will then turn on every faucet in your home. Yes, every single one! It does not need to be full force, but enough to let the water and air be pumped through. So sinks, showers, dishwashers, and washing machines should all be turned on for a few minutes.

This will encourage all the air to escape from the pipes. As long as the issue is not a crack in the pipe or a busted valve, all the air will be allowed to get out and the issue should soon be over! You will want to keep all of these water connections on until the water stops flowing.

Step 3: Wait For Water To Run Out & Flush Your Toilets

As you are waiting for the water to run out you will also need to flush all your toilets too. Any device that is connected to the water system should be run for a little bit while the water valve is shut off.

This process should not take more than ten or so minutes. Once the toilets are done flushing and there is no more water coming out of any of the faucets, you can move on to the final step. 

Step 4: Turn Your Water Back On

The final step is to turn the water valve back on. Once the normal water pressure has returned, you will let the water run through your facets for another ten minutes. Ideally, this process has pushed out the air bubbles and the water returns to normal.

If the water flow is normal in all of your faucets, then you have successfully removed all the air from your pipes. But if the bubbly water and shaking pipes continue, then you have a cracked pipe or a busted valve. At this point, it is time to call a plumber.

When Should You Call a Plumber?

If you have pipes that violently shake when faucets are on and have tried everything to release the trapped air from your water line, it may be time to call a professional. Often air in the water lines will fix itself or need a simple kickstart from you. But if you have followed this list and it does not help, you have a major leak issue.

Usually, calling in a plumber to take a look at the issue and spend time fixing it will cost you about $200. However, if you have a large cracked pipe in a difficult-to-reach space, the price will go up significantly. The price depends largely on where you are and how problematic the issue is.

Do not feel ashamed about needing to call a plumber! If you have done your best effort, the problem is likely out of your skill set. Being able to identify the signs of trapped air in your water as well as some measures to fix it will set you leagues ahead of others. That way when you do call the professional you are very certain their help is worth the cost.


Having air trapped in your water lines is not something to over-stress about. Often it is just a minor burp in the pipes that will stop on its own. However, if the signs of trapped air are constant you should call in a professional. Minor problems can be fixed on your own! However, if you have tried everything and the pipes still shake, it is time to call in some help!

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