We usually think of plumbing issue as having to do with how water is draining, but how well it’s coming out of our fixtures is a common frustration for homeowners as well. When a showerhead does not deliver a strong enough spray or a faucet takes forever to fill a sink or tub, it’s annoying. When your dishwasher or washing machine take a lot longer to run a cycle due to low water pressure, it takes more energy and causes more wear and tear on the appliance than necessary.
The average residential water pressure is about 40 to 45 pounds per square inch (PSI). If you feel like you’re dealing with low water pressure, chances are your pressure has slipped below this number. Routine activities such as showering, washing dishes, and flushing the toilet use an average of 300 gallons of water every day in American homes. We are dependent on this convenience and frustrated when it’s not available the way we want it.
If you only notice poor water pressure from one fixture, such as a shower head, it’s likely that the problem can be resolved by focusing on fixing that particular fixture or the plumbing pipes feeding it. Widespread water pressure issues that affect your entire house indicate a different problem. If your home water pressure seems low overall, the first thing to do is to narrow down the cause:
Before you start tearing into your plumbing, check with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing the same drop in water pressure. Contact your water supplier and ask if they are aware of, or working on, any issues with water supply in your neighborhood. They may be in the process of fixing a general water supply problem.
If you discover that you are the only house experiencing low water pressure, then it is time to start checking your house for the source of the issue.
It’s important for homeowners to know where their main house shutoff valve is. Unless you’ve had a plumbing emergency involving a leak or a burst pipe, you probably haven’t messed with this valve. It may be located outside, but they are usually located inside where the main water supply pipe enters your home. If it has a handle similar to one for your garden hose, it needs to be turned counterclockwise as far as it will go. If it has a lever, then this needs to be parallel to the pipe to indicate that it’s fully open.
The water meter valve is the second valve that controls the water intake to your house. This valve belongs to the water company, so most residents will never deal with it. Typically, they are difficult to reach, especially those that are located underground.
If there’s been work done on your house recently, especially if that’s when you started to notice low water pressure, you may want to contact your water company. Chances are the valve was not opened all the way after the work was complete.
Another common cause for water pressure problems is a faulty pressure regulator, if your house has one. A pressure regulator is a control valve that reduces the input pressure in your plumbing system so it remains at a safe level as to not damage your pipes. When the pressure regulator fails, you will notice the effect on all of the fixtures in the home, and it will happen rather suddenly. A water pressure gauge attached to the outdoor hose spigot can give you an accurate reading of your water pressure. This testing and replacement, if necessary, is best done by a licensed plumbing professional.
The most serious (and potentially expensive) reason for low water pressure happens when old, galvanized steel water pipes have become corroded to the point that water flow is significantly restricted. Because the corrosion is happening on the inside, you can’t see it, but over decades the pipes gradually close off, causing a drop in water pressure.
Clogs can occur far within the depths of your plumbing system, not just near fixtures. Even a small clog can reduce your water pressure. Because this kind of clog could be anywhere, and hard to find and clear without specialized equipment, it’s another circumstance where you will want to call a plumber.
Even small leaks can hamper your water flow. Always keep an eye on your plumbing pipes throughout your house, checking for leaks and damp spots (indicating a leak).
Sometimes, towns change their water regulations and water suppliers have to comply. Some towns or wells just have poor water pressure. If that’s the case, you may want to get a water pressure booster system. While you can install these systems yourself, you’d be better off calling a plumber who can make sure that it’s installed correctly.
After a thorough inspection to ensure you don’t have another plumbing issue going on that is causing your low water pressure, we can install a water booster system that will get your dishes clean, fill your sinks fast, and keep your showers comfortable and quicker. Contact us to learn how we can solve your water pressure problems.