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How to Clear an Airlock in a Hot Water System

Troubleshooting Guide: Clearing an Airlock in Your Hot Water System

Dealing with an airlock in your hot water system can be frustrating, especially when it disrupts your daily routine. Fortunately, resolving this issue is often simpler than it seems. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to clear an airlock in your plumbing system, ensuring your hot water flows smoothly once again.

Understanding the Problem:

An airlock occurs when air becomes trapped within your hot water pipes, preventing water from flowing freely. This can lead to reduced water pressure or even a complete loss of hot water in affected faucets or fixtures. Common signs of an airlock include sputtering or spurting water, particularly when only hot water is turned on.

Identifying the Cause:

Several factors can contribute to the formation of an airlock in your plumbing system. These may include recent maintenance work, changes in water pressure, or even the design of your piping system. Understanding the cause can help prevent future occurrences.

Resolving the Issue:

Clearing an airlock typically involves a straightforward process that can be done without professional assistance. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Locate the Affected Fixture: Begin by identifying the faucet or fixture experiencing the airlock. This will help you focus your efforts on the specific area of the plumbing system.
  2. Turn Off the Water Supply: Before proceeding, it’s essential to shut off the water supply to the affected fixture. This prevents further water loss and allows you to work safely.
  3. Prepare Your Tools: You’ll need a wrench or pliers, a cloth or towel, and a bucket for this task. Having these items on hand will make the process smoother.
  4. Open the Faucet: Once the water supply is off, open both the hot and cold water taps on the affected fixture. This helps release any remaining pressure in the pipes.
  5. Check Other Fixtures: If multiple fixtures are affected, repeat steps 2-4 for each one to ensure thorough clearing of the airlock.
  6. Access the Airlock: Locate the highest point in the affected piping system, as air tends to rise. This may be near the hot water tank or at the highest point in the plumbing layout.
  7. Bleed the Air: Using your wrench or pliers, loosen the fitting or valve at the highest point to allow air to escape. You may hear a hissing sound as the air is released. Keep a cloth or towel handy to catch any water that may also escape.
  8. Monitor the Water Flow: Once you’ve bled the air from the system, check the affected fixture(s) to ensure a steady flow of water. If necessary, repeat the process until the airlock is completely cleared.
  9. Turn On the Water Supply: Finally, once you’ve confirmed that the airlock is cleared and water is flowing smoothly, turn the water supply back on and close the taps.

Professional Assistance:

If you encounter any complications or are unsure about performing these steps yourself, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified plumber for assistance. They have the expertise and tools to address more complex airlock issues safely.

Preventing Future Airlocks:

To minimize the risk of future airlocks, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Regularly flush your hot water system to remove sediment buildup.
  • Ensure proper installation and maintenance of your plumbing system.
  • Avoid sudden changes in water pressure, which can contribute to airlock formation.


Clearing an airlock in your hot water system is a manageable task with the right knowledge and tools. By following these steps, you can restore normal water flow to your fixtures and enjoy uninterrupted hot water once again. If you encounter persistent issues or require professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced plumber like EcoFix Plumber for help.

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