How to Install an Air Chamber
A air chamber is a section of plumbing pipe that absorbs pressure or air from the water lines. The general purpose for the air chamber absorbing pressure and air out of the pipes is to prevent water hammer. Water hammer is a loud noise made within the water pipes when air gets trapped inside of the pipes. By installing an air chamber, the water pressure and air that normally sits inside of the pipes will be absorbed directly into the chamber.
Locate the main water shut-off valve to the home. The main valve is usually outside of the home. Turn the valve off with an adjustable wrench.
Open the faucets to the area that requires the air chamber until all of the water has run out of lines. Leave the faucets open. If the area in need of the air chamber is the commode, turn the supply valve off to the commode, and flush the commode until all of the water is out of the tank.
Locate a section of the water supply pipe that is above the water shut-off valve for commodes. Measure and mark the pipe 3 to 4 inches above the shut off valve with a pencil. For sinks, measure 3 to 4 inches below the faucet handles and mark the pipe. Make another mark about 2 inches below the first mark with the pencil.
Cut the pipe across both marks with the pipe cutters. There should be a 2-inch gap between the two sections of pipe. Clean the end of the cut pieces of pipe off with a clean rag. Spread a generous amount of pipe glue around both ends of the pipe and inside of the T-fitting. Slide the top of the T-fitting onto the top section of water pipe with the middle opening of the T-fitting facing out toward you. Insert the bottom section of pipe into the bottom end of the T-fitting.
Spread a generous amount of pipe glue into the middle opening of the T-fitting and around the short pipe nipple. Insert the short nipple into the middle of the T-fitting. Measure a section of pipe that is about 6 inches long and mark it with the pencil. Cut the pipe with the pipe cutters. Clean the ends of the pipe with the rag.
Spread the pipe glue around the end of the pipe nipple and around one end of the 6-inch pipe. Insert the section of pipe into the nipple. Spread the pipe glue around the other end of the 6-inch pipe and inside of a pipe elbow. Slide the elbow onto the end of the pipe with the threaded section of the elbow facing upward.
Spread the pipe glue inside of the elbow and around the threads of the reducer. Screw the reducer into the threaded elbow until it is tight. Use an adjustable wrench or a small pipe wrench to tighten the reducer if necessary. Measure a section of pipe that is about 1 foot long, and mark it with the pencil. Cut the pipe with the pipe cutters. Clean the ends of the pipe with a clean rag.
Spread the pipe glue around one end of the 1-foot section of pipe. Slide a pipe cap over the end of the pipe. Spread the pipe glue around the other end of the pipe and around the inside of the male end of the reducer. Insert the pipe into the reducer. The air chamber is now complete. Wait about a half-hour for the glue to dry inside of the pipe.
Turn the water faucets back off for sinks and turn the water supply valve back on for commodes. Turn the main water supply valve outside of the home back on with the adjustable wrench.
Turn the faucets on if it is a sink and let the water run for about 10 minutes and then shut the faucets back off. When the faucets are shut off, the excess air from the water pressure will absorb up into the air chamber. For the commode, wait for the tank to completely fill up. Flush the commode and wait for the tank to refill. Once the tank refills, the excess air will also absorb back into the air chamber.
- "The Outdoor and Indoor Home Repair Guide"; Creative Publishing Co.; 2006
- MiMi: Plumbing Air Chambers
- The air chamber installation process is the same for PVC pipe and copper tubing.
- You can also purchase pre-built air chambers.
- Ensure the sections of pipe and pipe accessories have been installed correctly with plenty of glue. If not, the pipe and the pipe accessories will leak.
Kevin Mclain has more than 20 years of automotive, home improvement and landscaping experience. He has been writing for various online publications since 2002. Mclain has U.S. Army certification in automotive maintenance and repair, among more than 15 additional certifications related to the automotive field.