Normal water pressure is something we do not appreciate until we experience the frustration of turning on the faucet to a whole lot of nothing. Low water pressure can cause even the simplest of tasks to take two to three times as long to complete. Sometimes the problem is just the result of running more than one plumbing fixture at once, other times it can be a warning sign with more serious underlying causes. If taking a shower, washing the dishes or doing the laundry has become an ordeal due to the low water pressure in your home, you may benefit from one or more of the following tips.
Likely Causes and Tips to Return Your Pressure to Normal:
• Clogs in Your Supply. Your problem may be your fixture itself. Faucet aerators and showerheads can become clogged over time with mineral deposits. Removing the fixtures and rinsing or replacing clogged or corroded screens may fix your problem. Try soaking faucet aerators or showerheads in a solution of vinegar and water for a more thorough cleaning.
• Corroded Pipes = No Flow. In older homes, corrosion may be restricting the water flow in your pipes. You will need to contact a professional plumber to diagnose and address this issue.
• Is This Water On? There are two main valves that supply the water to your home. Sometimes they are accidentally nudged closed or turned off completely. Locate each one, one will be close to your meter box and the other located near the
hose bib often at the front of your home, and check to ensure that they are turned on.
• “Water Jams”. Do you notice your water pressure is only low during certain times each day? Many people stick to the same routines and you may be experiencing low pressure because you and your neighbors are all trying to use water at the same time. If you know your neighbors well, ask them if they are experiencing the same issues. You may be able to solve the problem simply by altering your routine.
• Hot Water Pressure Low. If you are only experiencing problems with your hot water pressure, you may have issues with buildup in your water heater. Minerals and sediments build up over time in your water heater and can restrict water flow. Draining your water heater, once a year, will reduce this buildup.
• Remodeling Your Home? If you have remodeled your kitchen, bath or added a plumbing fixture to your home recently, you may need to increase the size of the main supply pipe from the water meter to your home. This issue will cause the water pressure to decrease for your entire home, and you will need a licensed plumber to diagnose and fix this problem.
• Pressure Regulators. A bell-shaped device located below the front hose connection of your home regulates your water pressure. These pressure regulators are often preset by the manufacturer and do not need to be adjusted, however; they do sometimes go bad and need replacing. It is best to leave this job to a professional plumber. Incorrect installation can lead to water flow issues later.
• Water leaks. Anytime you experience a leak you will notice changes in the water pressure in your home. You may also notice unusually high water bills, damp areas on walls and floors, hissing noises, or abnormal plant growth. A simple way to check this is to read your water meter when you go to bed at night and again first thing in the morning. If you see water was used overnight, contact a licensed plumber immediately. If left untreated, leaks can cause substantial damage to your wallet and your home.
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!