can a bad pressure tank cause air in water lines

Can a bad pressure tank cause air in water lines? You are likely to worry about it when you have a faucet that coughs and sputters or water flows unevenly.

The truth is that the air in water lines would not directly impact the water quality, but it can always be extremely annoying to deal with the issue.

Water flowing unevenly and making noises as it travels through pipes is frustrating, right?

So, it makes sense to know what causes air in water lines low pressure and if a bad pressure tank is to blame.

Turns out, a bad pressure tank can certainly lead to trapped air in water lines , but it can also happen due to other reasons, like a faulty pump, loss of water, etc. 

What Causes Air in Water Lines?

what causes air in water lines

Lack of proper plumbing venting is a typical cause of air buildup in water pipes.

The proper venting of pipes is necessary to allow air to escape as water is being transported through the pipes.

It is possible for water fixtures, such as faucets, to sputter and spit if not properly vented. But other things can also go wrong. 

Low Water Pressure

Reduced water pressure from trapped air can also make it harder to do things like washing dishes or having a shower.

Changes in water pressure can also lead to air being trapped in pipes.

Pipes can get clogged with air when the water pressure changes.

A water main’s on/off switch, or the activation of a washing machine or dishwasher, are a couple of examples of actions that can cause this. 

An Important Consideration

As water is removed from a plumbing system, like when a toilet is flushed or a sink is drained, trapped air can also form.

Pipes can develop more serious issues as time passes if the air is allowed to remain trapped in them. 

Trapped Air in Water Pipes Causing Plumbing Issues

trapped air in water pipes

Also, plumbing fixtures might be harmed by trapped air. For instance:

  • Air trapped in a hot water heater might cause the element to overheat and break.
  • If air is trapped in a water pump, it may cause it to short cycle and eventually break down.
  • Pipes may vibrate or become noisy due to trapped air, causing additional wear and tear over time.  

Can a Bad Pressure Tank Cause Air in Water Lines?

Well water systems cannot function properly without pressure tanks, which store and release pressurized water to control water pressure.

A buildup of air pressure in your plumbing system may be the result of air in the water pressure tank.

Tanks several decades old or lacking a bladder are more prone to this problem than newer tanks.

Any air that finds its way into your water tank will be distributed throughout your home with the water.

This will reduce the tank’s pressure and hence the water pressure throughout your home.

Fact: If you turn on your faucets and water coughs and does not flow smoothly for more than a couple of minutes, know that you have trapped air in your water lines. 

Additional Problems Caused by a Bad Pressure Tank

A bad pressure tank can lead to air bubbles in the water lines, which can cause spitting from faucets and other water fixtures.

air bubbles

Additionally, you may develop other problems, such as:

  • Short cycling of the well pump
  • Low water pressure
  • Damage to the well pump itself

That is why fixing a pressure tank as soon as possible is crucial for keeping the water system in good shape and avoiding costly repairs. 

How Do You Fix Air in a Water Pressure Tank?

For starters, take every step possible and never allow air to accumulate in the water pressure tank in the first place.

As soon as you discover any, you must take action to prevent further damage and restore normal water system operation.

Fortunately, there are a variety of remedies to this problem, from simple fixes you can do yourself to more involved ones that may necessitate calling a plumber. 

Check the Air Pressure

Improperly adjusted air pressure is one of the possible causes of air trapping into the water storage tank.

It is possible to correct it by checking the air pressure in the tank.

Disconnecting the well pump’s power and releasing the pressure by opening a faucet is all that is required.

tire pressure tester

Finally, you should get a tire pressure tester and examine the level of air in the container.

Two pounds per square inch (psi) below the pump’s cut-in pressure is where you want to have it set.

You can adjust the pressure by adding or removing air through the valve if it is excessively high or low. 

Install an Air Release Valve

Putting in a valve that lets air out of the tank is another option for addressing the problem of trapped air.

Air release valves are small devices typically located at the highest point of your plumbing system, usually on the top of a well.

air release valves

A buildup of air pressure can be avoided in the pressure tank thanks to the valve’s ability to vent the system.

Fact: It is not difficult to find and install air release valves, as most hardware stores stock them or you can order online as well. 

Keep an Eye on Leaks

The plumbing system should be checked for leaks if the air is still present in the water tank after regulating the air pressure and adding an air release valve.

When there are openings in the system, air might get in and get sucked into the pressure tank.

Leaks can be found by looking for moisture or water around any plumbing fixtures that are easily accessible.

Another possible method is to use a pressure sensor to detect any areas of the system where pressure is falling, thereby revealing a leak. 

Get a Check Valve

Putting in a check valve is another approach to stop air from getting into the pressure tank.

A check valve is a device that restricts water flow in only one direction, avoiding the possibility of backflow into the plumbing system.

get a check valve

When there is backflow, the air is sucked into the system, which might lead to a vacuum in the pressure tank.

Fact: The well or water meter is a common place to put a check valve because this is where the water supply first interacts with the plumbing system. 

Replace the Pressure Tank

If you have already tried those solutions and your water pressure tank still has air in it, it might be time to get a new one.

Damaged or worn pressure tanks can disrupt the system’s airflow after some time.

Changing the tank can fix the pressure and stop any additional leaks in the pipes. 

Other Issues Causing Air in the Water Lines

A bad pressure tank can certainly be a factor to consider, but other issues can also lead to a buildup of air in your water lines.

For instance: 

Faulty Well Pump

faulty well pump

Broken well pumps are the most prevalent cause of air in your water system.

Well pumps can create a vacuum while operating, which can cause air and water to be sucked into your pipes at various points in the pump cycle if the pump motor or casing is broken, damaged, or old.

As opposed to submerged models, well pumps are less likely to suck in air when mounted above ground. 

A well pump that is too tiny for the well system would not only waste water but also suck air from the well.

In order to determine and fix the problem, it may be necessary to bring in an expert. 

Loss of Well Water

If air is being sucked into your water lines by your well pump, the well water table may be to blame.

If your well’s water table drops too low, your plumbing system’s water recovery rate may suffer.

loss of well water

You may have a problem with your well if your faucets sputter during times of heavy use, such as the evenings, but settle down in the mornings.

Well water pumps can be temporarily submerged further into the aquifer to address a problem with a low well water table.

Fact: You will need to engage a contractor to dig deeper into your well at some point if you want to increase the amount of water you can draw from it, or the well could dry up eventually. 


Can a bad pressure tank cause air in water lines? Yes, it is possible that a bad pressure tank is responsible for trapped air in water lines.

But, it could also be due to any faulty pump or loss of well water.

You can take various steps to prevent and fix issues related to your pressure tank that ultimately leads to trapped air and other plumbing problems.