People rely on water for almost all activities in the house, from showering, running the dishwasher, and cooking to watering the garden. Reduced pressure causes water to flow slower than usual, creating inconveniences. With inadequate water pressure, it will take longer to fill up a cup, run the washing machine, and rinse off soap or shampoo during a shower. The insufficient water supply could mean a problem within the plumbing system. When ignored, it can cause significant issues in the future. Here are some possible causes of low water pressure at home and how to address them.
1. You Haven’t Fully Opened the Shut-Off Valve
If you recently moved into a new house or you had some plumbing repairs and the water pressure is low, chances are that the main shut-off or meter valve could be partially closed. You can locate the main shut-off valve in the basement, crawlspace, or the interior wall where water comes in from the meter. If you find a lever-like handle, turn it until it’s parallel to the pipe. For the wheel–like handle, turn it counter-clockwise for as far as it can go.
You will see the shut-off valve on the main water supply pipe serving your house near the water meter. Open it all the way. If you open the valves but the water pressure still seems low, you could be dealing with broken valves, and you should seek professional assistance.
2. Too Much Water Demand
Shared pipelines among multiple houses can cause reduced water pressure. You can solve this issue with a bit of coordination. For instance, if your neighbor takes a shower as you wash your car while someone else runs the dishwasher simultaneously, the water pressure will decrease. Try experimenting and changing your routine so that you use the water when most of your neighbors aren’t using theirs. Alternatively, if the issue seems quite unbearable, you can ask for a separate supply.
3. Faulty Plumbing Fixtures
Showerheads, faucets, and other fixtures might get clogged over time, restricting water flow. If only a few areas experience this issue, remove the showerhead, and clean out any visible sediment. For showerheads with a filter, take it out and clean it. Alternatively, soak the showerhead in a bowl of water and vinegar, leave it overnight, rinse it thoroughly in the morning, and reattach.
On the faucet, unscrew the aerator and scrub the dirt buildup with a soft brush dipped in vinegar. If the problem persists, seek professional help. It’s worth noting that some fixtures have flow restrictors aimed at reducing water consumption. If you live in an area that has low water pressure, the restrictors can worsen the problem. Check the manufacturer’s manual and remove the restrictor to see if it will fix the issue.
4. Clogged Pipes
If you’re using hard water, the minerals may build up and form limescale, slowing down the water flow. Clogged water pipes are another cause of low water pressure. You should never attempt to clear pipe clogs with chemical cleaners. They will corrode the pipes, causing more damage. Instead, call a professional plumber to advise you on the best course of action.
5. You Have Corroded Pipes
If you live in an old house and begin to notice reduced water pressure, you might be using the old galvanized steel water pipes. After 20 years, such lines start to erode to the point of restricting water flow. The water pressure reduction is usually gradual. Installing additional bathrooms or washing machines in such a house, however, overworks the piping and leads to quicker corrosion. The only solution for corroded lines is to re-pipe. Consider installing new copper or plastic pipes that are resistant to rust.
6. The Pressure Regulator Is Failing
Pressure regulators stabilize the force of the water getting into your house to keep it at a standard range. A faulty regulator can either lower or increase the water pressure. You will then notice a sudden change in the water pressure in all fixtures in the house.
Not all homes have pressure regulators, but if you have one, attach a water pressure gauge to the outdoor hose spigot next to the pressure regulator. Keep in mind that the recommended water pressure should be between 52 and 72 pounds per square inch, so if it’s below this range, then the regulator is faulty. While you can replace the regulator on your own, seek professional assistance if the task seems daunting.
7. There Are Leaks in Your Water Pipes
Leaking pipes within your house can also reduce the water pressure. Leaks divert water flow and also damage your property. Common signs of a water leak include musty odors, wet spots, and water pooling in the basement. You can try fixing minor leaks on your own. Turn off the water supply, dry the leaking pipe, wrap a rubber patch on the leaking spot, and fit it into position using tape and a pipe repair clamp.
8. Bad Plumbing
If you have done some additional plumbing or renovations, improper installation can cause reduced water pressure. An amateur plumber can use the wrong pipes with too many joints and bends that lower the pressure. If the plumber installs a half-inch line to the water heater, this can also cause low water pressure.
It’s good that you always work with experienced technicians from reliable companies in case of plumbing issues. The right plumber will assess the entire system, the branch lines, and the water demand to determine the correct piping for your house.
9. There Could Be a Problem at the Source
If you make all of the above adjustments and the water pressure is still low, the municipal supply could be an issue. Sediment buildup, leaks, corrosion, and clogs in the city system can cause reduced water flow. If your neighbors are also dealing with the same problem, call your supplier and inquire whether your supplier is aware of the issue. Sometimes, the state can also change the water supply regulations, and your supplier will have to comply. You need to buy a pressure booster system to achieve sufficient water flow and pressure in such a case.
Struggling With Persistent Low Water Pressure Problem? Seek Professional Help
Plumbing is a very complex system, and there are various reasons you might experience reduced water pressure. Note that the plumbing system is interconnected, so a problem in one part can affect the entire system. Diagnosing the exact cause can also be a very daunting task, and trying to fix the issues by yourself is time consuming. It’s therefore essential that you have a plumber address such matters. The earlier you fix the water pressure issue, the less damage there will be.
If you notice a sudden drop in your water pressure, reach out to Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We offer heating systems and AC installation, repair, and tune-up services. Our company also provides touchless faucets, drain cleaning, leak detection, and water heater and plumbing repair services. You can even reach out to us for indoor air quality, energy audits, and duct cleaning in Tucson, AZ, and the nearby areas. Get in touch with us now and book an appointment.