Low water pressure can make even the simplest tasks difficult and inefficient, from taking a shower to washing the dishes to using your sprinkler system this summer. There are a number of causes that can lead to this frustrating problem. Sometimes it’s caused by something as straightforward as running two plumbing fixtures at the same time, other times it may be an indication of a more serious problem.
Below is a list of various causes of low water pressure:
- Clogs. Over time mineral deposits can form and clog faucet aerators and showerheads. Try removing fixtures that are experiencing low water pressure; rinse off or replace the clogged or corroded screen and parts of the device. For a more thorough cleaning, try soaking faucet aerators and showerheads in a vinegar and water solution to dissolve mineral deposits. If this does not solve the problem, contact a professional plumber.
- Corrosion. If your home has older pipes, they may have become corroded, restricting the water flow. Contact a professional plumber to diagnose and fix this problem.
- Home Elevation. Home water pressure can be affected by the height of a property in relation to other buildings. A home located on the top of a hill may receive reduced water pressure in comparison to a property situated at the foot of the hill. Contact a professional plumber. He/she will be able to diagnose the problem and offer solutions.
- Home Valves. The two main valves on your home need to be turned on the “on” position. One valve is located in the meter box and the other is located near the hose bib, often at the front of your home. If by accident they get slightly or completely turned off, you can experience water pressure problems. Check these valves to make sure they are turned “on” the entire way.
- Inadequate municipal water supply pressure. You may have inadequate water pressure coming from the municipal system from which you get your water. Contact a professional plumber for solutions; he/she may be able to install a booster pump to solve this problem.
- Peak Usage Periods. Most people (along with their neighbors) have the same routine everyday, from taking showers to watering the yard. Due to these high hours of water usage your water pressure may be low. If you find yourself in this situation you may want to alter your schedule a bit.
- Hot water pressure. If your hot water pressure is noticeably worse than your cold water pressure, the problem may be due to the sludge build up in your water heater. Water heaters should be drained annually to reduce this build up. This simple service, which increases efficiency, saves you money in utilities, increases the volume of hot water available and extends the life of your water heater.
- Pressure Regulators. A pressure regulator, a bell-shaped device usually located below the front hose connection of your home, regulates the pressure of water coming into your home. The manufacturer typically presets these so they don’t need to be adjusted, however, sometimes a pressure regulator goes bad and needs to be replaced. This job is best left to a professional plumber, as doing the replacement incorrectly can lead to even more water flow problems.
- Recent home changes. If you are having inadequate flow to the entire house, say since adding a new plumbing fixture(s), you may need to increase the size of the main supply pipe from the water meter to the house. Call a plumber to diagnose and fix this problem.
- Water leaks. Any damage to a pipe that results in a leak, big or small, will result in lower water pressure. You can check to see if you have a leak by reading your water meter before you go to bed at night and then again in the morning before using water. The following are also signs of a leak: low water pressure, high water bills, damp patches on floors and walls, hissing water sounds or unusual plant growth. Call a plumber if you have a leak and get it fixed immediately!
Keep in mind a professional plumber deals with these types of problems every day. In most cases, they can easily diagnose (much easier than the average homeowner!), what is causing your low water pressure problem and fix it, alleviating that frustrating problem!