The kitchen sink is one of the most used fixtures in any household. That’s why it’s prone to several problems, including an airlock in the drain. This can lead to slow draining and damaging the plumbing system. 

While this issue may seem complicated, there are several ways to fix it. So how to fix airlock in kitchen sink drain by yourself?

To fix an airlock in the kitchen sink drain, you must address the issue by accessing the plumbing system underneath the sink. Then clean out the P-trap and the pop-up drain, which are common culprits for causing airlocks.

So, roll up your sleeves, grab a few basic tools, and tackle this problem head-on. Following some simple steps, you’ll soon have your kitchen sink back to its fully functional. 

What Causes Air Lock in Drain Pipes?

Air lock in drain pipes can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Improper Installation of Pipes

Improper installation of drain pipes can lead to air pockets or low points in the system where air can get trapped. This can prevent the smooth flow of water and create airlock situations.

  • Pipe Leaks

If there are leaks in the drain pipes, it can allow air to enter the system. Air entering the pipes can accumulate and create airlock situations, hindering water flow.

  • Pressure Change

Sudden changes in water pressure, such as high or low-pressure events, can disrupt the water flow in drain pipes. Rapid changes in pressure can cause air to be drawn into the pipes, resulting in airlocks.

  • Empty Pipes

If drain pipes are empty or not properly primed before use, air can enter the system and become trapped. This can occur when a drain system isn’t regularly used, or the pipe network has been drained for maintenance.

How to Fix Airlock in Kitchen Sink Drain

You can try several methods to fix the airlock. Here are a few options:

  • Method 1: Cold Water Technique

Step 1: Prepare an absorbent material, like a clean cloth.

Step 2: Position the absorbent material at the spout of the faucet.

Step 3: Block the cold-water spout with the absorbent material, allowing water to flow only through the hot-water spout.

Step 4: Turn on the faucet and let the cold water run through the sink drain.

Step 5: Wait patiently for a few minutes to allow the water to work through.

Step 6: Ensure no clogs or obstructions are in the drain as the water flows.

Step 7: If the water runs smoothly and there are no clogs, the airlock in the sink drain has been eliminated.

  • Method 2: Removal of Drain and P-trap

This method involves the removal of the P-trap and drain. Doing so can elevate the water pressure within the drain and eliminate any trapped air bubbles in the pipe. This action will restore the smooth flow of water through the drain. 

  • Method 3: Remove the AAV (Air Admittance Valve)
how to fix airlock in kitchen sink drain

Step 1: Locate the Air Admittance Valve (AAV) underneath the sink or cabinet.

Step 2: Inspect the AAV for any debris or obstructions, and clean it if necessary.

Step 3: Reinstall the AAV by screwing it back onto the drainpipe, ensuring a secure fit.

Step 4: Turn on the faucet and check if the airlock has been resolved. 

Here’s how you can install one:

Install Air Admittance valve in under 5 minutes 

  • Method 4: Blast Out 

Begin by loosening the pipe connected to the faucet with the max water pressure. This is to avoid water rushing out from the bottom. Repeat this procedure multiple times until the airlock is eliminated from the kitchen sink drain.

  • Method 5: Use a Garden Hose 

If water drains slowly, it’s likely due to a blockage or accumulation in the vent pipe. 

In such cases, use a hosepipe to flush out the blockage. If this approach proves ineffective, you can consider passing a drain rod through the manhole on the outside. 

  • Method 6: Use a Dime

Insert a dime into the aerator to obstruct the faucet’s spout. Turn on the cold water faucet to initiate a backflush, allowing the water flow to clear the airlock. The pressure generated by the backflush should push the air out of the system.

How to Prevent Airlock from Kitchen Sink Drain

To prevent kitchen sink drain airlock, you can take the following preventive measures:

  • Proper Installation

Ensure the sink drain is properly installed with the correct slope and angles. This helps in the smooth flow of water and prevents the formation of air pockets.

  • Regular Cleaning

Clean the kitchen sink drain regularly to remove any waste, food particles, or grease buildup that can lead to clogs and airlocks. Use a sink strainer to catch larger particles and prevent them from entering the drain.

  • Hot Water Flush

Run hot water flush periodically to help prevent any grease or soap residue from accumulating and causing blockages.

  • Install a Vent Cover 

If your sink drain doesn’t have a vent or if the existing vent isn’t functioning properly, you can install a vent cover. A vent cover allows air to enter the drain system while preventing debris and pests from entering. 

Precautions to Take

When fixing an airlock, taking certain precautions is important to ensure your safety and prevent further damage. Here are some precautions you should consider:

  • Before starting the repair, ensure you have all the required tools readily available. 
  • It’s essential always to use appropriate safety gear like eye protection and gloves.
  • When using equipment or tools, always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Don’t exert excessive force on the drain to prevent any potential damage.
  • Carefully unscrew the drain parts and  P-trap to prevent damage to any parts.
  • Have a bucket and some towels handy to catch any water or spills that may occur during the repair process.

When to Seek Professional Help?

Here are some situations where you should consider calling a plumber:

  • Multiple Affected Drains

If multiple drains in your kitchen or other parts of your home are experiencing problems, you need professional help.

  • Persistent Blockages

After trying all the DIY methods, if the drain remains clogged or the airlock persists.

  • Lack of Experience or Confidence

If you’re uncomfortable or lack experience handling plumbing issues, calling a professional is always safer. They’ve got the knowledge, tools, and expertise to identify and resolve plumbing problems effectively and safely.

Fix Airlock in Kitchen Sink Drain FAQs

How do I know if my drain is air locked?

If water is taking longer than usual to drain out of your sink, there’s a good chance air is trapped in the pipes. Another sign of an air-locked drain is gurgling or bubbling sounds from the fixture.

Can a blocked drain clear itself?

In some cases, a blocked drain may clear itself without professional intervention. However, it’s important to understand the underlying causes and the potential risks involved before attempting any DIY solutions.

Why do I hear air in my sink drain?

The sound of air escaping from your sink drain may indicate a ventilation issue in your plumbing system. The plumbing vents may be blocked, causing air to be trapped and released through the sink drain.


So, how to fix airlock in kitchen sink drain? By understanding the underlying causes, you can restore your kitchen sink drain. Let’s recap all the methods one more time: 

  • Cold Water Technique
  • Removal of Drain and P-trap
  • Remove the AAV
  • Blast Out 
  • Use a Garden Hose 
  • Use a Dime

If all else fails, consider calling a professional plumber. They have the expertise and specialized tools to tackle more complex plumbing issues. While this may incur additional costs, it ensures a proper and long-lasting solution.


Oliver aka Arannyk Monon is a versatile content writer, editor, and content strategist. He has been writing for the last 10 years to help people get the actual information that they are searching for on Search Engines. He has proven expertise in Kitchen, automotive, camera, hosting, and other technical topics.

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