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What Causes Air in the City Water Lines? You Might Be Surprised About It!

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Water supply is one of the most important basic needs to our hygiene, specially household in our daily routines such as doing the laundry, dishwashing, cooking and cleaning. That's why it is necessary for us to maintain a stable water supply. In my case, I always make sure that I get to pay my water bill in advance.

However, circumstance like water interruption, in regard to provider maintenance, is still not preventable. Recently I encountered air spitting from my faucet and vibrating noises passing off the water pipes while doing laundry. Worse, there are times when there is no water in the house.

Did the city cause this? Could it be one of the possible effects of the provider's water stem repair services? Even if the maintenance was done far from your home, it can cause air to enter the city water lines. The presence of air inside may be the reason why faucets in our homes make vibrating and spitting noises.

To determine if this is the cause, ask your neighbors if they are experiencing the same issue. If not, you may have to contact a plumber to fix it. If their faucets have the same issue, it means that there is air in the city water lines.

What Causes Air in the City Water Lines (and a Few Tips on How to Fix It!)

If you have determined that air has entered the city water lines and are causing all these problems, you may be wondering how air got into the water lines. What causes air in the city water lines? Listed below are some of the factors that may influence the air volume in our house water lines and a few tips on how to fix it.

As a home owner, hand tools should come in handy in such situation. I usually prefer adjustable pipe wrench because it suits to a variety of nuts, bolts and pipes.

1. Loose or Broken Valves

Our household plumbing system has two service valves: the main water which bring out the unused resource and the drainage or sewer which takes away the wastes from the toilet and sink. You may have to learn that they are different kind of valve, the most common are the gate and the ball. (see link below).

water supply home pic

Service Valve Diagram

You have to check if these valves are loose or broken because if they are, they are sucking in air from the outside creating low pressure zone inside the pipes. Make sure that the packing nut on the top of the valve is tight and the valve itself is secured from air intake.

gate valves components

2. Condition of the Water Pipes

You may have to check the materials used as well especially the type of the pipe. Remember that the pipe may have been changed from time to time if you were residing in a particular location for decades already. The change in pipe diameters may cause variations in flow velocity, this will eventually create low pressure area in the pipes and this may cause your fixtures to release a small amount of water.

If this is your case, I recommend you to do a "Pipeline Video Inspection". It is a non-destructive test that require you to visually review your household plumbing system and determine the condition of the pipeline diameter. This will help you decide whether to have your pipelines repaired or completely renovated.

Another possible reason is the corrosion of steel-typed pipes that has left unchanged over decades. This is rather the most serious case wherein low pressure water occurs which causes the pipe to deteriorate gradually. This will not only produces air in the water line—it restricts the flow of water as well.

Unlike the first one, the only solution for corroded pipes is to change the entire system with new materials. I highly suggest you to use Cross-linked Polyethylene or PEX pipes, not only it is low cost and easy to install but is also extremely versatile and best for retrofits.

pex tubing

3. Decomposed Drainage or Sewer

Materials in the drainage are most likely prone to decomposition which may lead to the growth of undissolved air and wastewater gases trapped in the high points of the pipeline. If this is the cause of issue of air in your water line, there's no need for you to replace the wastewater pipes manually as it may ruin your house and landscape and in return, spend more than what's expected.

One of the best solutions for this issue is a method called as Pipe Bursting. It is a trenchless sewer repair technique where an entirely buried old sewer pipelines are replaced with new ones.


The process is called "launching and receiving pits" wherein the new materials push through while breaking the former pipe. Operation equipment are consisted of an expander, pulling rods and machine, a retaining device and a set of hydraulic power pack.


4. Water Level

Increased level of water inside the pipes is the most common cause of air in the water lines especially in pump-generated water system. Bernoulli's theorem express that an increase in the movement of the fluid occurs coinciding with a decrease in pressure. The issue mostly originates from the demand of water on the wellspring.

This case is the easiest to address since you'll only need an additional extension in the pipelines in order to slow down the speed of the water.

5. Use of Water Heater

Not all household have water heater. If you have one at home,  you should know that the use of a water heater might be another cause of air bubbles in the water lines. This is because it can cause small pockets of air to break through various locations.

Purging your water tank annually is the best way to remove unwanted air in your hot water supply. It also keeps your fixture performing free from noise and disturbance.


If the issue does not come from the causes listed above, there's a possibility that the air in the water line is caused by sediment build-up and air bubbles trapped inside the pipes due to the lengthy highway stem repair services of the water company. These sediments and air will eventually clog your household pipes after some run, causing some of your fixtures to release no water at all. Make an attempt to contact the water provider and let them know the issue; most companies dispatch technician to resolve the problem.

It is necessary to have your household water lines checked at least once or twice a year to avoid damages and preserve its good working condition. If you notice any severe impairment in the pipelines, consult a plumber at your earliest convenience.

Did you learn from this guide? If you have some questions or other suggestions, feel free to ask me in the comment section below!

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