Air discharge at a tub spout (C) Daniel FriedmanFix Air Discharge from Faucets or Plumbing Fixtures - FAQs
Sputtering air from plumbing

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Questions & answers on how to diagnose & fix air coming out of faucets:

Here we answer common questions about the causes of air blasting out of faucets or plumbing fixtures and we describe how to diagnose and repair the causes of that annoying problem.

This article series describes the causes of air discharging from building water supply piping or plumbing fixtures or the sources of excess air in water pressure tanks, water supply piping, or other plumbing fixtures.

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Questions & Answers on Causes of Air Discharge from Building Plumbing Fixtures

Bladder type water tank (C) Daniel Friedman

As we said at AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES, if air blasts out of your faucets or fixtures we explain what's going on, why it's a problem, and how to diagnose and fix the trouble. Some air discharge or bubbling issues in building piping are not serious, while others could spell expensive trouble.

Recently-posted questions & answers about fixing air discharge at faucets or plumbing fixtures

On 2017-07-12 by (mod) re: causes of bursts of air coming from faucets


Probably one of the causes listed starting in the article AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES. Help me help you better by letting me know if you tried reading through that information or if you found it rough going.

On 2017-07-12 by Thomas

I have bursts of air coming out of my faucets. I have well water. What would cause this

On 2017-07-05 by (mod) re: random air in water lines

It sounds as if sediment may have clogged an air admittance valve or air volume control. Sediment clogging the pressure control switch can also cause the start up delay you described.

@Sean, Also meant to add that sometimes the pressure in the tank drops and we loose all water pressure for up to a minute before the pressure switch kicks on and the well starts to run.

On 2017-07-04 13:37:35.194993 by Sean

On well water. For the past 6 months or so we randomly get air in the lines. It'll occur for several days in a row to varying degrees then disappear for a couple weeks.

I can hear the pressure tank (80 gallon - installed Aug '16) filling up with air. The lines come in the house and go through two HD water filters. I've verified there are no leaks between the intake in the house and the pressure tank.

Also have installed a backflow preventer right where the line comes in the house. How can i check if i have a bad valve on the well? Not sure how deep it is. Another issue is since installed the new pressure tank (replaced a 20 gallon that was clogged with sediment) the hydrant which T's off of the line to the house doesn't have pressure if the well isn't running.

Only time we get water from the hydrant is if the well is running. Would installing a backlfow preventer on that line solve this issue?

On 2017-06-01 by (mod) re cold water looks muddy and water pressure is low


You will need help from an on-site plumber.

However I can suggest possible causes for what conditions you describe. The muddy water could be because the level of water in the well is quite low, or it could be that the well casing is damaged and the surface runoff is leaking into the will.

That mud or debris in turn could certainly clogged pressure control switch or strainers at faucets both of which would cause water pressure and pump operating problems.

Keep in mind that if sugars water is leaking into your well because of the damaged casing you will need that repaired because otherwise you cannot keep the well water sanitary - that is safe to drink.

On 2017-06-01 by Joyce Marcus

I am having a problem with my well. When you try to get cold water it looks muddy, the water pressure seems low, water won't go into the back of the commode. We have been having problems with the water before if it rains a lot the water looks a little muddy but it's worse now.

On 2017-05-31 by (mod) re: air in outside spigots, hoses sputter

I'd look for an air leak into the well piping or pump as discussed AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES. It's often the case that air entering the system doesn't sputter out at all fixtures uniformly; rather it'll follow the easiest exit passage.

On 2017-05-30 by Laura

I have air in the line on both of my outside spigots that causes the hose to sputter, but no air in the lines with the inside faucets. We do have a Iron Curtain, Water softener and are on Well water. The pressure tank does not loose pressure when all faucets are off and No sediment in the water. The water pressure in the house does not drop and we have not ran out of water. Any idea's or thoughts ?

On 2017-05-07 by (mod) re: heater won't give water from taps because of air


You should be able to open a hot water faucet at a nearby sink and run it until air stops coming out of the faucet and hot water follows.

Sometimes I also speed air removal from a water heater tank by opening the pressure/temperature relief valve during tank fill-up, but this can be dangerous in that if you fool with that valve and can't get it shut again you'll have to shut down the system for safety as well as to stop the leak.

If you've already tried those steps then there may be an external source of air in your plumbing system - as is discussed at AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES

On 2017-05-07 by Anonymous

Our water heater does not supply water from its taps because of air problem so,what to do

On 2017-03-13 by (mod) - fixing air discharge from water pipes vs fixing toilet flush problems


Air in water supply piping itself (that is, when there is not a continuing source of air being added to the system) will discharge naturally at faucets and that'll be the end of it.

If you see chronic air discharge at faucets then there's an underlying problem like one of the ones listed in AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES

About the bad toilet flush - that maybe a different problem - use the search box just above to search InspectApedia for FIX TOILET FLUSH to see more detailed diagnosis and repair steps

On 2017-03-13 by jose hernandez

i know i have air in the lines that connect too the facets and toilet the only thing is how do i fix the problem. for example when we flush the toilet only a bit of water comes out like a little pool. I turn off the valve and back on again then it gets full again this is a repeat action everytime someone goes to the bathroom.

On 2017-02-09 by (mod) - how to send photos or videos to InspectApedia for comment or posting

Sure. See our email at the page top or bottom CONTACT link.

On 2017-02-09 by Pat

Is there anyway to send you an email of a video I've taken of the water heater so you can hear the noise coming from it? Thanks!

On 2017-02-08 by (mod) air discharge after fixing a plumbing leak


I think I'd start by checking for a leaky, inadequately crimped or secured PEX connector, though steady water pressure with nothing running argues against that.

Are you sure the sound is running water as opposed to the noise of the water heater tank heating up? That's particularly common if the heater has formed scale.

On 2017-02-08 16:06:26.669912 by Pat

Hi !

This is an excellent site! We are on a well and have not had any problems until two days ago when we had to switch out a washer and noticed a leak in one of the cold water lines to it . We replaced the copper pipe with pex pipe and everything seemed to be fine .

We were trying to turn the pump back on we noticed a large gushing noise going into the hot water heater and it took quite some time before it filled back up . Now, when we turn the pump on an open any of the faucets we hear air coming out and occasionally some water will come out but then it dies back down . We check the pressure gauge on the tank and it was moving between 40 and 60 PSI . With nothing open, the PSI stays at 60 .

So I turn the pump off overnight and left the faucets open on the further side from the supply.

Still water will come out in spurts and you can hear air . The hot water heater still has water rushing into it for a few seconds and then cuts off . Since I have outside animals I was able to use the faucet outside and get water to their containers with no problem and the flow seem to be fine and consistent .

So what could be causing the rushing water in the hot water tank as well as the air coming out of the indoor faucets still ?

On 2016-12-23 by (mod) - air discharge at fixtures caused by bad well pump or other check valve


Thank you very much for posting this detail. It will help other readers to know that air in the water system may be traced to a bad well piping foot valve or check valve.

A failing check valve typically shows up as loss of pump prime if the pump is above-ground - like a one-line or two-line jet pump. But when the well pump is a submersible, it's under-water in the well, so loss of prime doesn't prevent the pump from operating.

But when there is a submersible pump combined with a bad check valve, water can drain back into the well from the building and from the well piping, moreso if there is a SNIFTER VALVE installed on the water system, or if there is a leak anywhere in the piping system. In that case excess air enters the well piping. When the pump next cycles on, that air is pushed up into the building's water pressure tank as well as into the building's water piping where some of it shows up as air discharge at faucets and other plumbing fixtures.

When a snifter valve is in use inside the well (on piping above the water level) (search InspectApedia for that term), a second air volume control in the building at the water tank is intended to vent out excess air pushed back into the water tank when the submersible pump cycles on. But if THAT device (part of the SNIFTER VALVE SYSTEM) malfunctions, then excess air won't be hissing out at the water tank and instead it'll blow out at plumbing fixtures.

For other readers: a snifter valve and the problems I described above occur particularly on submersible pump wells that use a snifter valve that in turn works with a water pressure tank that does NOT use an internal bladder. Bladder type pressure tanks don't want a snifter valve system installed. So if you convert an old bladderlerss tank to one that uses an internal bladder, AND if your well used a snifter valve, it needs to be removed.

On 2016-12-23 16:03:30.231783 by robert G

My mother had a recurring problem with the air in her water lines. 4" well approx 80' deep with a submersible pump. Tried the easy part first by changing the check valve at the pressure tank. That helped a little? Tried cleaning the screen with the Nu-well pellets, that helped a little.

The problem wouldn't go away compleyely and so we pulled the pump. turns out that the check valve in the pump discharge was malfunctioning. New pump installed and problem resolved.

On 2016-12-02 by Jeff

Why does my cold water tank make a hissing sound and why can I hear it sound like dripping into the tank(it only lasts a few seconds)? The psi is 26.

On 2016-11-14 by Anonymous

I just had my well pump replaced less than 2 weeks ago....after about 5-6 days, the water finally, the last 4-5 days the faucets/toilets are spitting a lot of air after several hours of non-use....obviously, something is leaking water and picking up air, is it more apt to be a shoe fitting o-ring or a defective new pump??

On 2016-08-02 by Anonymous

With your temporary water source pumping up into a cistern, I'd not expect air from that step to be entering the building piping; the cistern is surely open to the atmosphere at its top, right?

Your cistern level turns on the pump, but perhaps not until too late - allowing air to enter piping between the cistern outlet and the home. I'd thus start by checking the float operation, and if that doesn't solve the problem I'd look for an air leak in the piping.

On 2016-08-02 by freebrownies

Finding this website gives me hope about the air discharging from our taps. Here's the setup: 450' artesian well flows through upper pipe to cistern with a float valve.

Lower pipe from cistern comes into the house, through a check valve, then a filter, then an inline pump, which pumps water to a bladder pressure tank set for 30/60 on/off. This has worked for years without a problem, until last week the static pressure of the well dropped and we pumped the cistern dry.

When this happens I insert a 20' pipe down the casing with a foot valve on bottom and spigot on top. With hoses, I attach an electric pump from spigot atop the drop pipe to an alternate inlet on the cistern. This pump is plugged into an electronic float switch in the cistern (powers on when tank nears empty, powers off when full).

With this setup, we restored water to the home but now we have air every time we turn on a tap. It seems we just have air in the system but I'm not sure how to clear it. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may offer.

On 2016-07-21 by (mod) re: air discharge when water softener is in bypass mode

Anon this is probably a softener problem, perhaps with the injector tube or an air leak in the other softener tubing.

On 2016-07-20 by Anonymous

I have a private well with a water softener. When the water softener is engaged we get a lot of air and salty water. when it is in by-pass we get a little air. Is this a well problem or a softener problem? Thanks

On 2016-07-16 by (mod)

I"m not sure why a bad pitless adapter seal would give air discharge only in winter;

If your system uses a submersible pump and is an older installation, there may be a sticking or failed air injector or air purge or air volume control on the system. Search for SNIFTER VALVE to read details.

On 2016-07-16 by Timmy Vallee

I have a private well for my home water supply. There are intermitant air blasts coming from all fixtures but only during winter months. I'm thinking there may be failing o-rings at the pitiless adapter. My uneducated guess. Should I ask NASA?

On 2016-07-04 by (mod)

The causes, Anonymous, are listed in AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES. You'll see a series of links to additional articles describing each air-discharge cause in more detail. Please take a look and let me know if that material is unclear or leaves you with questions.

On 2016-07-04 by Anonymous

I just recently I started to get small air bubbles in my faucet,what causes this

On 2016-06-26 12:42:31.649797 by (mod)

Perhaps a valve is closed somewhere

On 2016-06-26 05:35:49.191718 by James

water pipes are new from main to water tanks but have not use taps for 5 years. Now water cannot reach water tank. Is it possible there is a block some where.

On 2016-06-24 17:31:59.770037 by (mod)

I don't understand where you're seeing water bubbling and what valve you are discussing.

There should be NO leaks at a water heater tank nor at its relief valve nor at its plumbing connections.

Use the page bottom or top CONTACT link to send me some photos of the system, Mike and I may be able to comment.

On 2016-06-24 10:09:40.320128 by Mike P

danjoefriedman. Thanks for your reply but I can't see to find it.

On 2016-06-11 00:12:56.430850 by (mod)

Anon: this sounds as if air is being forced out of the new water heater tank - it should stop after a few minutes of running hot water.

But WATCH OUT: do not turn on an electric water heater before the tank is full of water - else it will be destroyed.

On 2016-06-10 02:03:26.358732 by Anonymous

we are putting a new electric hot water system in and its bubbling out of the top valve and has rusty water

On 2016-06-09 16:31:03.370902 by (mod)

Mike to have enough space for a detailed reply I repeat your question and answer it in a first-pass at



If I move that reply - as it's getting lengthy - to a separate page I'll include a forwarding link in the article AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES.

On 2016-06-09 11:05:50.057172 by Mike P - bubbles from well, not mechanically-produced: gases in well water

For question below I meant to write "bubbles are NOT mechanically produced."

We have very deep bedrock well - 385 ft deep. It produces 16 GPM. From the beginning the water has been full of small bubbles. I am almost certain the bubbles are mechanically produced as they occur when water is drawn directly from the well manifold before reaching any of the faucets and filtration systems.

There are so many bubbles when water is drawn from the manifold it is milky white, not just cloudy. It takes well over a minute for a 20 OZ glass of water to clear.

When the bubbles dissipate the water is crystal clear. If I put my ear to the glass I can hear the effervescence of the bubbles releasing. I don't believe there is a problem with the pump. The water pressure is outstanding and the entire water system is new. Again we have had this problem from the very beginning ~ 4 years ago. It seems most likely there are gases dissolved in the water under tremendous pressure and cold at 385 ft below surface

. The gas is not methane (won't ignite) and has no odor. It seems unlikely it is radon as we have been living here for 5 years with no ill effects. We have installed a pressure relief valve right after the manifold but I believe the water passing the valve does not have enough time for the gas to release at that point.

There is so much air/gas in the water that our toilet on the upper level of or home (highest release point) sputters as the gas is released through the toilet valve. Initially we thought the problem was related only to hot water but obviously the toilet does not run on hot water. I have read that installing a "holding tank" for the bubbles to release before water enters the water system may be one solution. I'd like to avoid that if possible as I have limited space in my mechanical room.

Would it make sense to install a pressure release valve at the upstairs toilet as that seems to be where the air pressure "wants" to release? Any other suggestions?

On 2016-05-05 00:36:39.615631 by Claude Robins

435' well, submerged 12 hp pump 6 yrs old worked perfect for 6yrs and beautiful tasty water now suddenly at times blows much air for short period. Bladderless galv. tank. Sometimes dirty water. Was having very small rocks pumped into the toilet bowl and stopping it up (The cutoff valve in the bowl). Neighbors wells are all o.k. and are around 300 ft.

On 2016-03-12 03:13:20.780055 by Misty

OK so here is what is happening it started out minor now I hear air in the pipes all the time in the toilet my faucet spurts then loses pressure will stop running completely for a while then I hear air again and can feel it when I put my hand under the faucet there are no busted pipes and we dug the well deeper 5 years ago I live over a under ground river that runs through the Ozarks so I don't think it's my well going dry

On 2016-01-07 00:58:09.211520 by (mod)

Fred, do you think that the apparent color difference could be due to differences in the color temperature of the lighting in the two rooms or differences in the color of surrounding paint or tile?

On 2016-01-06 22:13:52.782246 by Fred

My mom has five year old home and both tubs are white. When she fills one tub the water has a light green tint but the other tub does not.

On 2015-11-26 16:01:55.236767 by (mod)

Perhaps that's the highest location?

On 2015-11-25 00:22:06.871093 by Cliff

why am I only getting air at the farest bathroom from the jet pump

On 2015-11-02 00:20:30.601045 by (mod)

With city water I would be looking for

- a leak in water piping
- bacteria in the water heater (if "air" appears only in hot water)
- city water supply including air (ask the city if that occurs)

On 2015-10-31 13:59:43.677797 by teresa

new hot water heater put in. Thought air in water lines in the house was just a new tank put in. We turned on all at the same time all faucets, all air out. Well, now it's a year later and we still have air in lines, mostly in the mornings. We have city water. What is going on and how to fix.

On 2015-10-18 15:26:11.279682 by Dave

My well is pushing out air at my faucets what should i do to get the air out.

On 2015-10-13 18:21:12.337067 by Here We Go Again

Awesome site! I have a deep well jet pump that will not stay primed unless it is sucking water through the tubing that is normally connected to the air volume control. If I hold the line underwater and cover the opening with my thumb, it loses prime. No visible leaks above ground. I am thinking impeller or housing damage. Please let me know what you think.

I installed a new foot and check valve a few months ago when the old foot valve failed and the well seems to be holding water just fine.

On 2015-10-02 18:30:19.168077 by ROXANN


On 2015-09-02 20:15:29.944651 by (mod)

Check the well: if water level is dropping below the foot valve your need a tail piece at the well piping end. If water is not dropping below the foot valve then there is either a leak in the well piping or a snifter valve or air volume control is misb ehaving.

On 2015-09-02 18:11:21.828664 by Brian Washburn

During dry late summer months there is a small amount of air in the well water line lasting less than a few seconds when the pump activates. The well is 45 feet deep with a flow of greater than 20 gpm. The pump is approximately 12 feet below grade. The water level in the well casing is approximately 6 feet below grade and does not drop when the pump activates. Any suggestion.

On 2015-07-26 16:41:42.753056 by (mod)

Even when a pump is exceeding the well flow we should not see air being pumped: the risk is destruction of the pump.
for two approaches to protecting the pump and fixing the problem you describe.


On 2015-07-26 12:03:21.964633 by Leslie Thibodeau

My new pump draws water faster then my well can recover. so I get lots of air . Is there a bleeder valve that I can install to relive the air an d get jest the water. I never had this problem untill I had to chang my 25 year old Meyers jet pump. My e- mail is Please let me know . Thanks!

On 2015-07-26 11:27:02.363453 by Leslie Thibodeau

I have a shallow well and my pump failed . I never had this problem with my old 1/2 hp meyers shallow well pump . the new pump that i have is a selfpriming pump that my well can not keep up and now I get a lot of air in my water system . Is there a kind of bleeder valve that could remove all the air that i get a t the faucts?

On 2015-06-03 21:43:21.243040 by (mod)


The article AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES includes our best guess at the common sources of air discharge from plumbing fixtures. If you think the problem is at the pump I'd look closely for a leak in the water-handling portion of the pump and its impeller system and pipe connections. I wouldn't assume the pump has to be replaced but if the impeller is damaged or the impeller housing is cracked you will at least need to replace that assembly.

Air leaks into piping can be hard to spot as spraying a soap solution won't do much. What I often do is to add a second tight hose clamp at any of the suspect plastic fittings.

Keep us posted.

On 2015-06-03 16:53:42.791500 by Renee Wiedinger pump check valve vs other air sources

We have been having a problem with excessive air in the line. Sputtering and spitting sounds at the faucets, hissing sounds within the pipes, foamy looking water coming out of the faucets (very fine bubbles in water that comes out of faucet - clears & is potable when left to sit a minute). We have backtracked all lines to the well & cannot locate any area that appears to be taking in air or leaking. All switches have been checked & appear to be working properly.

The check valve going to the pump was cleaned and appears to be functioning properly also. The problem appears to be starting at the pump itself. We are at a loss for the cause & are hoping that we don't need to replace the entire pump.

Reader Comment:

(Nov 15, 2012) Jim Rotella said:
I couldn't have asked for a better or more complete diagnostic of my problem concerning air escaping my fixtures. I now have an excellent guide from my shallow well and submersible pump through the pneumatic pump tank and to the fixures. Thanks for the education.

(Apr 21, 2015) Wayne said:
Just wanted to say what a well written article this is. Get it? "Well" written! Thanks!

Question: Air bursts coming out of plumbing, & my well pump won't shut off

I have a 3/4 Hp 120v single line shallow well pump for my house. The well head is located about 50ft from pump. I also have a well mate water pressure tank with good pressure in it. I have live in this house for 3 years and have had no problems with water supply or pressure to the house. I have check the pump pressures in the past being 30psi for pump to turn on and 53psi to turn off pump.

I can hear the pump run while taking a shower as its just on the other side of the wall. and normally the pump will run once and shut off while the shower is still running. It was normal up until 2 days ago.

Now my pump with come on and will not shut off while the shower is running. Also I am getting air busts out of every fixture. I have turned down the off pressure to the pump to 45psi and this seems to help sum. I can hear the pump cavitating and the cavitation and air busts seam to be worse the higher the pressure goes higher.

I have a check valve in the supply line to the pump about 10inchs from the pump. I have no drop in pressure after 4hrs of running no water. My question is where is the air coming from? Could my pump be going bad and cavitating that much air into my system? Or does there have to be an air hole in my pipe somewhere between my pump and foot valve? or could my well low on water? How do I diagnose this problem? - Thanks Derek

Reply: deteriorated well flow rate, well piping leak, or other?

Derek, regarding your question about well pump not shutting off:

The air bursts coming out of your plumbing suggest that either the well flow rate has deteriorated (the pump is getting ahead of the rate at which water flows into the well) or there is a leak in the well piping (air leaks into the piping when the pump is not running).

If it were a pipe leak and given you've got a one-line jet pump, you might eventually find the pump loses prime and you get no water at all (don't let the pump keep running dry or it may be damaged).

But unfortunately I suspect that the well flow rate has deteriorated.

Check to see if the water pressure continues to drop after the pump has turned itself off and when you are NOT running more water in the house. If so there's a leak in the piping or a bad check valve or foot valve.

Take a look at our diagnostic suggestions at WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING

If not, bad news, lost well water.

Question: air discharge in plumbing traced to well piping leaks

I got same problem last time it turned out to be leak in the threads on the pipe between he well and intake side of my pump having problems again about a month still cant figure it out might have to call a well pro. - Shu


Thanks Shu. Indeed leaks in well piping between the well and the building can introduce air into the piping. We've added this tip to our sources of air discharge at fixtures.

Question: air out of fixtures - artesian well feeds holding tank pumped then into building

I have been getting air out of my fixtures for the last month. My system is "unique" I have a artesian well that constantly drips water at a low volume/pressure into a underground holding tank then a shallow well jet pump sucks that out of the tank and fills an old bladder-less tank. Normally when my underground tank is full my runoff line drips out the excessive water, but lately my jet pump has not been cycling on and off it seems like it is just pumping water somewhere and running my underground tank empty, if I unplug my pump the tank will fill and runoff after 2 hours or so.

I have replaced my pump and my air volume control with very little or on change. When I unplug my pump and turn it back on after 2 hours it runs fine and with good pressure for a few hours and reverts back to staying on and sucking my underground tank dry. Got any Ideas? - Devin Snyder


Devin I'd check for a leak on the water supply system piping. Start looking carefully at the piping between the water storage tank and the building. I'm guessing that your shallow well jet pump is located in the building where it pressurizes a bladderless water pressure tank.

A leak in water piping on the inlet side of the jet pump can suck air into the water lines when the pump is drawing water from the storage tank.

Or of course there may be some other snafu we haven't thought of. Keep us posted - what you find will help other readers.


(Dec 26, 2011) ray said:

well shut down no water pressure pump will not run
think it might be the pressure switch did check the fuse both look good


Ray, at another web page we made some suggestions about testing the pressure switch = also see WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR

Question: air in the deep well system only shows up at one hot water faucet

(Mar 21, 2012) Jerry said:

I, too, have air in my deep well system but it only shows on ONE hot water faucet. 5-8 seconds of blowing air with little water. Not noticable on the cold side or in the adjacent bathroom fixtures. Can a faulty hot-water faucet be the cause.? I've had the entire system examined and no one can find the problem. Rust filter tank, water softener and well pump all check out.


This makes me think that the problem is in the hot water tank and piping and perhaps the closest hot water fixture.

Question: air from flushing toilets, taking a shower, turning on faucets,

(Apr 21, 2012) Tara said:

Hi, We have air coming from our pipes. We experience the air from flushing the toilets, taking a shower and turning on faucets. It happens on a daily basis although not every time we run the water. We had our bladder tank replaced in August because the well pump would cycle on when there was no water running in the house. The plumber said we had a bad tank and valve, so he replaced both the tank and the valve.

That seemed to fix the problem of the well pump running when it shouldn't; however, ever since the plumber did his work we now have air in our lines. The plumber's only response was that he would have to pull the well pump up to investigate. That seems extreme to me. The plumber did not respond to any further contact I tried to make with him, so we've just been dealing with the air in the line hoping it would correct itself. Thank you.

(Oct 5, 2012) SUZ said:

I have the same problem with periodic Air - Water spurting from ALL faucets, but then there is NO Water at all..anywhere in the house. This could go on for an hour or as little as a few minutes.

My Husband thinks it is because we have more people in the house, but even on days, we may do only 1 Load of Laundry and 1 Shower..there it is all over again.. What could it be? We have a Well And a Water Softener of course.


Tara, This sounds like an air volume control that is intermittently sticking, perhaps a float type. What valve was replaced by the plumber?

Suz: the correlation with increased air in the plumbing system when there are more people using water argues for a problem with the air volume control or air loss at the pressure tank, or both. Your water tank is losing air and the AVC is not restoring it.

If your well uses a shifter valve and is also low on water, perhaps due to heavy usage, the condition you describe might be explained. Take a look at Richard's comment just below.

Question: well system full of air, hissing found at well cover near the pitless adapter

(June 25, 2012) Richard H. said:

My well/water system in my home is full of air. My well water is low PH, acidic. It does not like carbon steel. The well is about 180' deep, and the pump should be at about 140'. The water level in the was at 100', but has not been checked recently. My well pump is 1 HP, 2 wire. My bladder tank is a 60 gallon size. The well switch is set at 40-60 PSI. The tank pressure is about 2 PSI less than cut in pressure. I still have air pressure in the tank and no water at the air valve. I was told by the plumber that replaced the current pump, about four years ago, that he installed a check valve on the pump side of the pitless adapter.

I can remove the well cover and it sounds like a hissing noise, probably near the pitless adapter, so you would assume a leak. Last night I tripped the pump breaker and isolated the pressure tank from the house. The pressure gauge read about 50 PSI. If there was a leak back to the pump, the tank should bleed down over night. It didn't. The gauge was still at about 50 PSI. I opened the supply valve to the house and tripped the breaker on.

The pump ran once the water pressure dropped, but the line was full of air, lots of air. Once the pump ran for awhile, the air noise went away and the pump then reached pressure and shut off. The house lines are still full of air. I assume there was a built-in check valve on the pump. If so, could this have failed, causing water to run back to the pump? Maybe the check valve at the pitless adapter is bad too, or can't hold that amount of water in the pipe. I'm kind of lost trying to figure this out.

Reply: check the snifter valve

Richard, search InspectApedia for "snifter valve" or for the article titled "How to Find & Repair the Water Tank Air Volume Control Device " - hissing could be at that device if one is installed in your well.

I agree with the test you performed, but a check valve in the well piping could prevent pressure from falling in the system.

I'm guessing (from afar with little info) that there is a snifter valve in the well that allows makeup air into the system but there is no vent to remove excess air from the system at the pressure tank - that snafu can occur when an older bladderless water tank (that used a snifter valve and vent at the water tank) is replaced with a new internal bladder pressure tank while forgetting to remove the snifter valve on the well piping - that will keep injecting excessive air into the system.


Dec 14, 2012) Altitude Problem? said:

I had to replace amixing valve faucet in one bathroom yesterday and since then the jet pump goes on & off every 10 mins.Ihave purged all air from the lines to no avail.I supect a problem with the 40 gall blue tank next to the pump.There is water in the pressure tank,but I am not sure if I need to introduce air to correct this problem.Please advise.Altitude here is 6500 Feet.Thanks,Mike B


Altitude - Mike B.

I can't figure how changing a mixing valve on water supply piping would trigger a rapid cycling of the water pump unless you left a leak flowing somewhere. But about adding air, and short-cycling well pumps,

take a look at the two diagnostic articles in the Related Links section at the end of this article, titled




Question: Air discharge from faucets - second opinion

(Dec 20, 2012) cornelius said:

I would appreciate a second opinion. I have been having off and on air discharge in my faucets. I have a well and also municipal water supplying my property. The well has a submersible pump and a tank similar to a Wellmate. The tank is less than a year old, I don't recall the size. The pump is 1.5 hp. The municipal water is only pressured on the town's end. The only pressure it would get from my side would involve the tank.

My property is like a rental and has 8 full bathrooms, plus a few extra sinks being supplied. Not sure if that info is important. The discharge has been in faucets, toilets, and showers so it shouldn't be a fixture or aerator issue.

I have shut the valve off just outside my tank on the section of pipe that feeds my property. Leaving only the pipe that is connected to the pump open. In about one hours time I have only seen a pressure drop from about 50psi to maybe 48 or 47psi, and most of that was right after I shut off the valve.

With only municipal water supplying the property right now I don't have air discharge. But no pressure drop from the tank is leading me to believe the check valve between my well and pump is fine. Is there any other isolating I could do that would give me an idea of a leak in the pipe from the pump or the foot valve at the pump?

I have on occasion been successful by allowing the tank to refill fully before opening the valve up. Then after a power outage it may go back to air discharge. It's possible it doesn't even require a power outage. I do also have to cut off the connection between the municipal line and my well from time to time as I have a pool, and when it needs water if the well is running it often leads to sediment in the pool water.

You may also want to know that all pipe is pvc as I live in a tropical climate and there is no issue with freezing. I have had leaks in the pipe heading into the well before but generally it would short cycle when that was the case. Thanks.

I just noticed after re-opening the valve from the tank that when the pump is on and the pressure is rising there seems to be an addition of air in the pipes. I have two concerns regarding the well. First, that we are coming off a very dry year where I live, secondly we had a massive earthquake that was reported to have raised a large amount of actual land an entire meter. So, I'm concerned about the well being either dryer(lower) or the pump being raised in comparison to the well water.

Or worst of all that the aquifer is losing water since the earthquake. I didn't bring those issues up first as I wanted to see if there wasn't more local ways to isolate and diagnose. Obviously there could be air entering through other means and I would be gracious to hear how I can figure out which means exactly. Thanks, again.

Question: spurting water, poor water pressure or flow, air discharge at some taps or fixtures

(Jan 23, 2013) John Smith said:

Mobile home on well, we have almost no cold water and hot water spits and sputters when running only at the kitchen sink any idea why it has been this way for months

(Jan 29, 2013) Evelyn j said:

We have spurting water and air at the hard water tap but not the other taps. The hard water line is the first line off from the well and this line goes straight up. When the power goes off all the taps have spurting issues for a while so this is different.

This issue with the hard water tap occurred once before about eight weeks ago and then quit after a few days. We were away for six weeks and turned the water off to the house. Have been home for four days and yesterday would have been a higher water usage day, but the spurting only started this morning. The hard water tap worked fine at ten last night. It seems like the bladder tank is working fine. Any suggestions re likely cause?

(Mar 4, 2013) Jason said:

I have air that surges out of my cold hard water faucet's. Started happening shortly after a Culligan Water softener was installed. Called Culligan and they see the softener has nothing to do with it. Thanks for help 

(Mar 25, 2013) Matt said:

I have a simIar problem. About 30 seconds after my well pump cuts on at 40 psi there is spurt of air. Shortlt after that spurt the tank rebuilds pressure and everything is fine. The spurts though are a problem in the showers and at appliances in home. The Problem started after I replaced the old water tank And the joints seem tO be air tight. Cut in is 40 cut out 65 and psi in tank set at 38. What would the reason for the air in lines?


Jason, they're probably right in that a softener would not normally introduce air into the water system piping; and if there were a leak that let air in, I figure it would probably let water out - you'd see a water leak.

Can you confirm that your system is on a private well?
Have you checked the air volume control?


Sometimes I see this problem when there is a submersible well pump that used a snifter valve as part of the air volume control system- that approach has an air inlet on the well piping inside the well that needs to be removed when changing over to a captive air tank. There may also be an above ground air volume control to be removed.

Question: water supply stops, then continues, lots of air in water

(May 30, 2014) Melissa said:
Just moved into new home about a month ago. Water pressure has been fine, other then occasionally the water would be coming out of the faucet, stop for a couple seconds and continue on. We recently had a UV system installed due to bacteria in the water.

Now all water sources (sinks, tub, toilets) have a LOT of air in them - mostly air is being pushed out of the faucet and we did notice a few spurts of the water were brown in color. Our well is 112' deep and the previous owners had it fracked within the past couple years (their complaint was low water pressure). Could we be out of well water?


Hi Melissa,

Your well could be running low - the fact that the well was hydro-fractured suggests that it has a history of running out of water.

As it's a deep well, probably using a submersible pump, a second source of air could be an old snifter valve on the well piping inside the well (something to ask your well repair company about if they pull the well piping), or the companion vent and air volume controls back at the pressure tank could be allowing excess air into the system.

Unfortunately, given the history you cite I speculate it's the first problem

A very rough diagnostic might be the following: if you see that your water is not air-filled and seems more normal after the well has rested over night (or longer, giving it time to recover), that'd suggest a low flow rate problem in the well .

Other problems such as a leak in well piping can also cause this trouble (though less likely)
A more accurate check would be a well flow test.

One more thing: some hydrofracking companies warrant their work (promising an increased yield) - but I don't know for what period. Something to check into.

Keep me posted.

Question: sputtering faucets when toilet is flushed - air blamed on washing machine, municipal water supply

7/24/14 Christina said:
sputtering faucet and toilet when flushed in upstairs bathroom. We have municipal water supply - no well. We have bled the pipes but problems return. We think that old washing machine could be culprit but previous owners had no problems.(we stay in touch.) Interestingly, this condition is mostly noticed right after a moderate rain storm - but on other occasions as well. PLEASE help.



I'm not sure how a washing machine could insert air into a building water supply.

Have you checked or tried replacing the pressure regulator for the building?

Reader follow-up:

Thanks Dan, we had a new pressure reducing valve installed by a plumber. It reduced our pressure to a safer level, but the problem continues. Another plumber suggested that when the valves of an old washing machine open and close the water, it can create an air pocket. We will try to replace the washer but what if that doesn't work. What is left…what don't we see? I contacted our water co. and they suggested to open all faucets….bleed the system….been there…problem comes back.


On municipal water supply this is a tough one Christina - I'm continuing to think about it. If the air problem shows up ONLY after running the washing machine then indeed the plumber may be on to an answer. So let's try opening faucets, bleeding air, and leaving the washer off for a day or so. Let me know what happens.

Have you confirmed that no neighbors have problems with air in their water supply?

(Aug 5, 2014) Christina said:

Ok so far no air. Ran 5 loads of laundry….no air. We are expecting storms tonight so I will see what happens in the morning. Some thoughts in my mind.

Heating system in the house is baseboard/boiler….the system seems to be air bound a lot. we had a plumber bleed the system but I don't think that it was done there anyway that air from the heating system be forced back through the pressure reducer into the water supply with changes or shifts in humidity? i.e. during storms?

We have three maid o mist air purgers which were replaced but i also heard that if the system is plumbed incorrectly air can actually enter into the air release valve. If the systems are truly seperate meaning air can't enter the supply through the heating pipes then this would be irrelevant.

Also the ice maker for the fridge has this weird connection to the copper pipe. could this somehow be involved. I must say that after the next big storm I am anticipating a lot of air. I don't know why but somehow (I'm thinking now changes in humidity or barometric pressure) heavy rains bring this problem on. Thanks for your time.

(Aug 6, 2014) Christina said:

no rain last night… air



about the air bound heating system see the diagnostics and suggestions at

(Aug 11, 2014) Christina said:

No rain……no air.

Question: pressure drops, pump kicks on, no water pressure, then air comes out. When water returns it's dirty

7/28/14 Myles said:
I am having my pressure go from 50 to 30 then the pump kicks in but no water pressure comes up then it goes below 30 to 20 or 15 then air comes out, as soon as I shut the water off the pressure comes up slowly.

When I turn the water back on dirty water comes out for a few seconds then clears up but again in sputters for a long time especially the tapes furthest away from the tank. Should I turn on all the tapes to see if I can get the air out of the lines I just drained it this morning and re charged it I put in 50 lbs, is that to much?


Myles I think you are describing a well running out of water.


(Aug 13, 2014) martine parry said:

anyone know why the water level has risen in the pipe that lets air out of the system when the shower pump has been running? Anti-gravity loop is there and then a pipe that rises with a screw on the top to shut it off if need be. I can't screw it tight as the air will then be trapped and kill the pump - this is how my previous pump died.

Water level has risen recently so now it leaks water continually. Any connection with water pressure as a result of a radiator leak and need of a new valve on upstairs radiator? Thanks for advice.




9/1/14 dan said:

with no water in the cold water tank what should the pressure be help

9/2/14 Anonymous said:

fine air bubbles in water after having been used for a while

9/2/14 Thomas E. Wyant said:

Air leak is at kitchen faucet ONLY. I do not hear it at any other faucet. I have water well.


Dan: if the tank is open to the atmosphere the pressure will be zero on the pressure gauge (technically, 1 ATM)

Anon: fine air bubbles may indicate an air leak in the well piping

Thomas: follow the plumbing piping in your system; it may be that the easiest path for excess water tank air to follow upwards from the tank happens to be to the kitchen.


(Sept 1, 2014) dan said:
with no water in the cold water tank what should the pressure be help

(Sept 1, 2014) Anonymous said:
fine air bubbles in water after having been used for a while

(Sept 2, 2014) Thomas E. Wyant said:
Air leak is at kitchen faucet ONLY. I do not hear it at any other faucet. I have water well.


Dan: if the tank is open to the atmosphere the pressure will be zero on the pressure gauge (technically, 1 ATM)

Anon: fine air bubbles may indicate an air leak in the well piping

Thomas: follow the plumbing piping in your system; it may be that the easiest path for excess water tank air to follow upwards from the tank happens to be to the kitchen.


(Sept 3, 2014) russ said:
I have air in my water system. It sounds and feels like air is entering from the well, which has plenty of water over the submerged pump. while pump is on, and well cover is off, I can see/hear no signs of air getting in.
the pump and line to the house was installed new 2 years ago. I've bled the air from the pipes by opening all faucets, spigots, appliances but it comes back.


Look for a well pipe leak or a snifter valve that ought not be there.


(Sept 8, 2014) Jennifer said:
I have municipal water, and after a major rain storm, I heard hissing coming from toilet after it flushed, then from the faucet. I continued for about 6 hours, and then stopped. Originally thought it was a water main break in the town, but then next day, it has continued, in all faucets, and showers? What should I be looking for, no well? Thanks


Jennifer I suspect that the hissing sound is either water running in pipes - perhaps from a running toilet, or, worse a small leak in a water pipe somewhere. If it's the latter you'll find it when water stains show up on a ceiling, wall, or floor.

I'd start by carefully checking each toilet to see if one of them is running. See


(Sept 9, 2014) Shane said:
We have a cistern with the pressure tank and pump in the house. Why does air get in the lines when the cistern gets low?



most likley the water level falls below the pick-up point in the cistern and the pump pulls a mixture of air and water - which can of course damage the pump.


(Sept 15, 2014) Anonymous said:
only our kitchen faucet sputters. over time it has become worse. the rest of the house seems fine. What could be wrong?

(Sept 21, 2014) Karen said:
I have occasionally noticed in the past a small air burst when water starts coming out of faucet or when flushing toilet but recently well seems to be running low/dry and now water comes out sinks etc...but in 1 bathroom when you try to flush toilet there is a loud sound like a motor boat and barely a trickle comes into the tank. What is going on?

(Sept 26, 2014) Anonymous said:
Hello, my well casing seal cover looks like it's ready to come off. Either the casing is dropping or the cord piping is rising? What do you think?


(Oct 2, 2014) mninspector said:
it could be frost heave pushing on your electrical conduit , this can occasionally push your well cap off or suspend it above the casing.


20 January 2015 Anonymous said:

I have water treatment equipment and have been experencing air in the water. Our technician looked at the system an said nothing was wrong. we had a plumber look at our water pump. He couldnt find anything wrong and suggested we turn the water treatment system off for a few days.

We did this and had no problems with air in the water. After 3 days we turned the water treatment system back on and started having air in the water again. Also now we have experienced our water turning dark pink/purple from the chemicals in the water

It takes an hour running the water to get clear water. Our technician insists it is not the water treatment system. Does anyone know what coud be wrong?


I would be looking for a leak in the water system piping, often between the water pressure tank and the well foot valve.


20 January 2015 Lisa said:

adding to the comment/question below. This problem with air in the water only happens at night after midnight. Never during the day.


One could ask if there is not a leak in well piping somewhere. Watch for a drop in water pressure when the pump is not running and no water is being used in the home.


Mar 7, 2015) richard fortin said:
I ve just run out of water in the middle of the winter and I suspect a pipe burst underground because a bit of sand and dirt came through the faucet. wehn i prime the line from the well it runs and dies off. because a digger at -35 is not viable I intend to connect a sump pump at the well to the main line to the house pump and even if the line is perforated it should maintain a small water pressure and when the main pump sucks the water it will not suck air. Now water from this installation is not for drinking but showering and dishwasher use unless i find dirt. if that's the case then I don t think there is anything I can do until spring. Any other ideas

(Mar 17, 2015) mike said:
I am new to this house but looking at the check valve it sits vertical on the pipe how does that work


Mike I'm not sure what check valve on what pipe we're discussing. Some but NOT all check valves work in any position; others require proper horizontal positioning to work. Is this water supply, drain, what? Is the check valve a spring-loaded type or a gravity type? If you like use our email found at CONTACT to send me some photos.

Question: sputtering air at faucets, air bursts in our home.

(Apr 4, 2015) Dede mccaffery said:
My kitchen sink faucet water is sputtering when I turn on the faucet... Why is this? How can I fix it?

18 May 2015 Susie said:
We have air bursts inside our home


Dede please take a look at AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES and let me know if questions remain or if any of that is unclear.


If you are referring to air coming out of faucets, take a look through the suggestions in the article above. That's a good place to start diagnosis. If you have further or specific questions don't hesitate to ask.


Continue reading at AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES - home, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.





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