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What's Wrong With A Sputtering Faucet? Some Tips For You To Remove Air From The Hot Water Line.

by Albert Lucas on Jun 08, 2021

What's Wrong With A Sputtering Faucet? Some Tips For You To Remove Air From The Hot Water Line.

What's Wrong With A Sputtering Faucet?

If your faucet sputters only now and then, this is probably normal and harmless, 'cause aerators and some other devices are used to reduce water usage and these may sometimes get clogged and cause faucet sputters. In most cases, sputtering faucets, irregular water flow and vibrating pipes indicate that there is air in your water lines. Many people think that is not a big deal and ignore it. But persistent and continuous sputtering may indicate more serious issues in your plumbing or with your water heater.


Clogged Aerator Causes Sputtering Water

The aerator on the tip of your faucet filters the tap water and as a result, bits of debris such as dirt and sediment can collect behind it and clog the aerator over time. This results in sputtering when you turn on the faucet. The amount of debris coming through your pipes may increase occasionally due to water main breaks or material dislodging from plumbing joints.

Cleaning out the aerator monthly can prevent sputtering in most cases. Most aerators can be removed by turning them counterclockwise. Once removed, clear away debris with soapy water, rinse the aerator and replace it on your faucet.

Damaged Valve Cartridge

When cleaning the aerator doesn't fix the sputtering, then you may have a problem with your faucet's valve cartridge.Refer to your owner's manual to determine how to remove your valve cartridge from the faucet assembly and then replace it with a new one. Because valve cartridges can appear similar, take your old one with you to the hardware or home improvement store to ensure you have the right replacement.

Air in the Water Lines

What causes the issue is frequent water supply interruptions due to maintenance or other activity. When the water supply is cut off for a certain period this may allow air to enter the water supply system. If plumbing is old or if you are using a boiler then it would be more susceptible, and the problem might be harder to deal with. A boiler means installation and water flow that are prone to be affected by water supply cut-offs.

Faulty Water Heater

Sputtering from hot and cold water taps that occurs even when you've replaced valve cartridges and cleaned aerators, can sometimes indicate that your hot water heater is overheating. You better call a plumber to check and repair.


Some Tips For You To Remove Air From The Hot Water Line

As a starting point turn off the main water supply valve. Slowly turn on and run all the taps in your house. Do not open them to the full extent but only halfway. This might solve the problem by removing all air pockets. If the house has more than one floor, then start at the top one. Along with the taps, you should flush all toilets. Once all faucets have been running for some time you can shut them off and unwind the aerators. Make sure to clean them out of any particles, like sand, for example, and then wind them back on. If you have faucet water filters it would be best to remove them before the procedure.

Another method for getting rid of an airlock is by pressing on the faucet with your thumb and holding it tight. Then turning the hot water full-on and very slowly turning on the cold water. Wait for a minute, then turn off the cold water, release the faucet from your grip and let it run for a few seconds. It will probably run cold but that is because of the cold water going up through the pipes. What happens is that the mains pressure is pushing the water back into the pipe all the way through the plumbing and unblocking the airlock.

Of course, today most faucets are with the so-called “mixers”, it works on a mixer as well, but only if there is no non-return valve inside it. The non-return valve will not let water back up the pipe and sabotage this entire procedure. Some mixers are made with non-return valves and some without, so you just have to know or check yours. If there is no valve, then you can try it and see how it works.

Grip tightly on the spout of the faucet, turn on the hot water, and gradually move toward the cold water. Once it has run for a few seconds, start going back to the hot water, again very slowly. Again, let it run for a few seconds and then turn it off.

However, the issue might be in the hot water tank, which would imply having to empty it. By emptying it you will not only remove any air but also any residues or sediment. This procedure is usually done once a year but if the problem is more persistent it can be done twice a year.

Shut off the power source to the heater and let it cool. Whilst it is cooling the tap should not be used or left open. Using the drain tap you can empty the tank after it is cooled but have in mind that it is better to use a hose instead of emptying it in a bucket, for example, because you will not have to close and open the tap and facilitate air going in again. At this point the cold-water feed is open so water will be running. If you run it a bit longer you will flush out all sediment from the tank. You can now close the drain valve and once the tank is full turn the heat on.


Finally, Do not underestimate the hidden dangers posed by sputtering faucets, try using the tips above to get rid of air in the hot water line. Or check the possible causes of sputtering faucets and repair them well in time.

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