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Fixing a blocked water pipe caused by trapped air

gices
(Level 1)
18 Dec 2014 21:47, updated
19 May 2009, published

It's very frustrating to open your taps and not get any water out of it. Now unless it's the draught season and the water authority board has decided to cut off water supply at specific times during the day, there must definitely be a problem with your water system. In most cases, if water is not coming out of your taps, it's because of an airlock. It happens when an air bubble gets trapped inside your water pipes and then creates a blockage, preventing water from flowing properly in your water system.

solving airlock

You can try some DIY tricks to fix the airlock in your house.

Solution 1

Step 1: Attach a hosepipe to the affected tap (tap where you're not getting any water) and attach the other end to another tap which is working fine (use a tap where there is direct feed from the mains water).
Step 2: Open both taps to allow the pressure from the working tap to force the air back out of the pipes. Leave to run for a few minutes.
Step 3: Turn off the air locked tap first and then the other one.

You may need to repeat this procedure a few times to get rid of the air lock.

Solution 2

If that doesn't solve the problem, then you can try to drain the water system down. You will need to turn off the water feed to your house. Locate the stopcock and turn it off. Then open all taps until all water has been drained down. After that, you need to open each tap only a little bit, let the water flow for a bit, then turn it a little bit more. Keep on opening each tap a little bit more until they are all fully open.

Solution 3

If you're still having problems with the airlock, then you can hire an air compressor to force the air bubble out. After plugging in the air pump, you need to put its hose to the affected tap and let air push the water back to your cold water tank. You will hear bubbles at the water tank to let you know that everything is being pushed back. After 5 minutes, you can disconnect the hose from the air compressor and you should see water flowing back from the tap.

Solution 4

As a last resort and if everything else above does not work, then you will need to call in a plumber. It can cost you on average £90 for a plumber to fix your air lock, so try the above methods before you call one.

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Comments (20)
Jo
Jo   (Level 1)
06 Oct 2009 19:15
0
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Recently we had no water coming out of the tap in our ensuite bathroom. The plumber rang the cold tap on the bath and it started working. But now our shower doesent work. But when you run the hot tap on the bath there is a loud tapping sound in the pipes.
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Alec
Alec   (Level 1)
10 Oct 2009 20:34
0
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Hi, The advice already given is great and really helpful but I have a mixer tap in my kitchen and I can't put a hose from one tap to the other. Have you got any advice on mixer taps? Thanks in advance.
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Maggie Healy
Maggie Healy   (Level 1)
15 Jan 2010 05:26
0
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Hi, I also have a mixer tap in my bathroom can't put a hose from one tap to the other. Have you got any advice on mixer taps? Thanks in advance.
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Guhan
Guhan   (Level 1)
04 Apr 2010 11:47
0
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I have garden pipe with air blocked I suppose. It happen when the gardener accidently punctured the the pipe when digging the ground. the main pipe was immediately closed and the broken portion was repaired. There is now water coming from all taps inside the house but no water fron the garden pipe. Please advice what to do.
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Early Bird Handyman
Early Bird Handyman   (Level 1)
06 Apr 2010 18:39
0
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You can turn the water off and then remove the pipe fitting from pipe shank under the sink and connect you hose on those pipes. It does the same job as going from tap to tap. A pain to do but should resolve problem (hopefully)
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Barry
Barry   (Level 1)
16 May 2010 14:22
1
Reply
Put the end part of your hoover to the tap outlet - turn on hoover and this will suck air out thus releasing the blockage - never fails.
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Replies (1)
siobhanki
siobhanki  (Level 1)
11 Oct 2011 16:14
I did this using a Vax Wet and Dry vacuum cleaner, and it worked perfectly! Thank you so much :-)
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Tony
Tony   (Level 1)
01 Jun 2010 11:54
0
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I have no hot water cylinder or header tanks as I have a Combi boiler, does this tap to tap meathod still work?
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Paul
Paul   (Level 1)
12 Jul 2010 09:28
0
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Just got rid of air lock.had same problem as other people with mixer tap in kitchen; bound up end of tap with gaffer tape turn on hot tap then cold keep firm grip on tap outlet. Worked great. Good luck
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Alfred Abela
Alfred Abela   (Level 1)
14 Oct 2010 15:17
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I got the kitchen tap is dripping water slowly while is open. It got airlock do you think it will come good if we leave it open for a day or two thanks
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B O'Grady
B O'Grady   (Level 1)
12 Nov 2010 13:20
0
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The plumber did exactly that and it worked - I was amazed as I'd tried inserting the mains water hose into the bath cold water tap and it failed to shift the airlock despite good water pressure.
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Darren
Darren   (Level 1)
16 Nov 2010 12:07
1
Reply
I woudn't recommend a hoover incase water goes into it, however I think it's a great idea and if you use a VAX wet n dry cylinder vaccum i bet it would really do the trick. well i'm going to try it tonight when i get home i'll let you know how it goes.
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Replies (1)
anonymous
anonymous  (Level 1)
05 Oct 2013 09:09

Having read the suggestion of using a hoover to create a low pressure to suck the water out, I just tried it and it worked in seconds. I took care not to get water in the hoover. My taps are such that it is difficult to attach hose pipes etc.

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Carol Lynch
Carol Lynch   (Level 1)
30 Dec 2010 12:23
0
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Hi I tried the hoover and it worked first time after days of no water, thanks.
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Sean
Sean   (Level 1)
31 Dec 2010 13:34
0
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Mixer taps are easier to fix and air lock, as mentioned before just cover the tap with your hand (or somthing else) open the hot then the cold with out letting any water come out of the tap. This blows the cold (mains) up through the hot and into the roofspace tank. As for a combi boiler or pressure system it should not have air locks because of the pressure.
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Chirag Patel
Chirag Patel   (Level 1)
26 Jan 2011 14:09
0
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I have a same problem of Air locking in pipeline. I am living at Sea Level but water coming from municipal is on hill. And so all water is going to trap in my pipeline. What will be the best possible way ? Which mecahnism you suggest? IS any instrument in market which extract the air only from pipeline and not water? Please help.. I am tired from air...
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Dave
Dave   (Level 1)
14 Feb 2011 08:08
0
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Rather than getting NO water I get an 'explosion' of water when I turn the kitchen tap on - happens every day - I assume it has something to do with an 'air' problem??
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Harry
Harry   (Level 1)
21 Apr 2011 05:32
0
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We have a mixer tap in both the kitchen and the bathroom, and an air lock in the hot water supply, which tap is it best to turn on? and do you need to leave any other tap running whilst doing this?
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Mark
Mark   (Level 1)
08 May 2011 16:03
1
Reply
After trying all sensible solutions with no luck I attached my hoover, turned on, problem solved!!!
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Replies (1)
anonymous
anonymous  (Level 1)
05 Oct 2013 09:09

I did the same. Brilliant.

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Waynester
Waynester   (Level 1)
29 Jul 2011 09:35
0
Replies
Solution 1 worked fine for me. It cleared the blockage within two minutes now i have two taps & a toilet working again. Many thanks.
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gerryt
gerryt  (Level 1)
25 Jan 2012 12:51
0
Replies
tried the above solution shown in picture at top of page with hose going from tap to tap it fixed it first attempt thank you
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Dodgey-Donna_Wilton
Dodgey-Donna_Wilton  (Level 1)
04 Oct 2013 23:44
0
Replies

Thank you great help tap now not banging ;-) who needs a man wen you can do it yourself lol thanks again helped a lot cheers xxxx

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