9 Causes of Air in Water Lines from a Well (+How to Fix)

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Air in water lines from a well might be caused by a faulty well pump, air in the pressure tank, a lack of water in the well, water heater issues, the presence of gases, and leaks in the well piping.

Irregular water flow, sputtering faucets, and vibrations in the pipes are all signs of air in well water lines.

Our water treatment experts have put together this guide to the most common causes of air in water lines from a well system.

9 causes of air in water lines from a well (+how to fix)

〰️ Your well Pump is Drawing in Air

If the well pump loses its prime, it might draw in air instead of water. This can occur due to a malfunctioning check valve, an incorrectly sized pump, or a leak in the suction line. The National Ground Water Association says you should contact a water well system professional to address well pump issues, which will help you save money and time in the long run.

πŸ“‰ There’s a Drop in the Well Water Table or Water Level

A drop in the water level in your well may happen during periods of drought or when the well is overused. This can cause the pump to draw air into your plumbing system. Monitor your well water table – you can use the NWIS Mapper to find depth-to-water measurements for wells in your area – and arrange for your well pump to be lowered if necessary.

🚱 Your Water Pressure Tank is Waterlogged

If the pressure tank in your well system is waterlogged, it can affect the pump’s efficiency and cause air to enter the system. To address this issue, drain and re-pressurize the tank, or replace the tank if it’s old and faulty.

πŸ”© Your Well Was Incorrectly Installed/Maintained

Incorrect installation or poor maintenance could cause issues that lead to air in your well water lines. Hire a reliable well contractor to inspect your well and advise on any repairs or maintenance that might need to be carried out. Schedule annual servicing to ensure your well stays in good condition. Follow the CDC’s advice for testing your water if any part of your well system is replaced or repaired.

Water well maintenance

⚠️ There’s A Leak in Your Well Pipes or Casing

Leaks in your well piping, check valve, foot valve, drop pipe, or well casing, could cause air and sediment to enter your plumbing. To detect a leak, the EPA says you should check your water meter before and after two hours of no water use. If the meter changes, there’s probably a leak. Contact a plumber to repair or replace sections of your well system.

πŸ“ˆ You’re Pumping Too Much Water

If your well water demand is too high, it can lead to excessive drawdown, causing air to enter the well system. The USGS says that the effects of excessive drawdown can be “short-lived or last for decades”. You may need to adjust your water usage or install a larger well pump if needed.

Illustration of excessive drawdown from well can cause air to enter

πŸͺ  The Well Screen is Clogged

The well screen is responsible for filtering out debris. It can become clogged over time, reducing the flow of water into the well and causing air to be drawn in. Regular maintenance and cleaning can prevent this issue. Water research experts at Pennsylvania State University recommend replacing a deteriorating screen to prevent damage to the well pump.

πŸͺ¨ There’s Sediment in your Water Heater

Air discharge only from your hot water faucets is likely caused by an issue in your water heater. If your heater isn’t flushed regularly, sediment can accumulate in the bottom of the tank, creating a barrier between the heating element and the water. This can lead to overheating and the release of air bubbles.

Water heater element with limescale buildup

♨️ Your Well Water Contains Dissolved Gas

Dissolved gasses like carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane may cause air bubbles in your well water. These gasses are naturally present in the earth and may leach into your water from soil seepage. Get your water tested to determine whether a dissolved gas is the problem. You might need to ventilate your home to address the airborne gas (see the CDC’s guide for methane in well water for reference).

πŸ”– Final Word – When to Hire a Pro

You can try temporarily relieving the effects of air in your plumbing system by turning off your main water supply and opening all your home’s faucets and fixtures. Switch the main valve back on and let cold water flow out of your faucets for 15 minutes, or until water flows steadily from your faucets without sputtering.

But nearly all cases of air in a water line from a well need to be professionally diagnosed and repaired. Unless you’re an experienced plumber, our advice is to hire a pro. Consult the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) to find licensed well contractors in your area.

  • Jennifer Byrd
    Water Treatment Specialist

    For 20+ years, Jennifer has championed clean water. From navigating operations to leading sales, she's tackled diverse industry challenges. Now, at Redbird Water, she crafts personalized solutions for homes, businesses, and factories. A past Chamber President and industry advocate, Jennifer leverages her expertise in cutting-edge filtration and custom design to transform water concerns into crystal-clear solutions.

2 thoughts on “9 Causes of Air in Water Lines from a Well (+How to Fix)”

  1. Avatar for Jennifer Byrd

    Our new well is artesian. The pressure drop to the surface releases the gas. No taste or odour. The 1 micron filter disperses the bubbles and they rise and clarify the water in a few seconds.

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