It’s that time of the day again. You’re excited because of your successful day, except you’re tired. All you desire is to jump into a hot shower or relax in your bathtub as you unwind. But every time you turn on your water, you can’t help but get frustrated at the weak dribbles coming out of your plumbing fixtures rather than spraying out at the speed and volume it typically should.
Unfortunately, it’s not just your shower; it’s with your water flow in your kitchen tap, the dishwasher, and just about every other plumbing fixture. Since you’re determined to enjoy your living experience, you decide to fix the main culprit for all the low water pressure you’re experiencing.
To fix the issue, you first need to understand the cause.
Here are eight reasons why you may be experiencing low water pressure in your house and how to fix them
1. Is your water pressure low?
If you’ve just moved into a new location, it could be that the water pressure in your previous location was above the average. That would mean that you’re not experiencing any low-pressure issues; rather, you were just used to water with a higher pressure. To test if that’s the case, use a water gauge connected to a hose faucet when all your water-using appliances are turned off.
A 40 to 50 pound per square inch (PSI) is the average home water pressure. If your reading slips below this number, you could be dealing with low water pressure. A gauge reading of 50 to 60 is fairly good. A reading of 80 and above may be too high and unlikely to be the case if you’re experiencing low water pressure. If you have below-average water pressure, you can now proceed to the next steps.
2. Is the low water pressure an issue with your supplier?
First, before you start turning the water valves, disconnecting pipes, and turning your house upside down for the source of low pressure, ask around if your neighbors are experiencing the same issue. It could be that your supplier is suddenly experiencing water supply issues, more people are connected to the supplier causing the shortage, or something beyond your house.
If your neighbors have the same challenge, chances are, your low water pressure is beyond your control. In that case, you can contact your water supplier to alert them and learn what they’re doing to solve the issue. Of course, if they’re working to resolve the issue, you’ll have to sit with it.
3. Closed valves
Every house has a main valve from where you can regulate water into the house. If you experienced a burst faucet or pipe, the valve would be the best place to shut off the house water. For most homeowners, the valve is rarely used unless in case of an emergency. You’ll be shocked to know that this valve will also determine your water pressure. If it’s not opened all the way, then your water pressure will be low. Opening the valve (turning the handle clockwise as far as it can go) will ensure you get the maximum water supply into your house, especially if the water supply from your supplier is already low. Also, check to ensure that the meter valve isn’t shutting water into your house as well.
4. Your pressure regulator is broken
If you have a pressure regulator for your house, it’s time to give it a check. Once you’ve already tested the pressure of the water coming into your home from the main valve, it’s time to take the pressure regulator to a test. Using a gauge, test the reading of the water from the pipe closest to the regulator. If it’s lower than the reading of your regulator, you may need to replace the pressure regulator.
5. Consider your pipes, are they clogged?
If you’ve already identified the cause of the low water pressure, there’s no need to check on your pipes. But if everything else is in check, consider your water pipes carefully. Clogs (even from the small elements) may block the piping reducing the water pressure. The problem is the clogs can be anywhere in the pipes, even beneath your house.
While it may be arduous to know exactly where, a plumber will do so very quickly. The last thing you want is digging up and pulling pipes that you may not put back together. Besides, connecting water pipes requires proper care to avoid contamination and loose connections that may leak and damage your floors and house. As such, it’s advisable not to try unclogging pipes on your own. In such a situation, the plumber will determine if to remove the pipes and clean them; in some extreme cases, new water pipes could be needed.
6. Pipes are leaking
Leaks in your water pipes can be one of the major causes of low water pressure. They will prevent water from getting into your faucets. The worst case is when your underground water pipes are damaged so that the water drains in the ground, which makes them harder to identify. Checking if any of the pipes in your home are damaged is quite simple. Turn off all your faucets and take a reading of your water meter. After two to three hours, take the reading on the water meter. If the two water readings vary, there’s probably a leak. Talk to a plumber who can quickly determine the leak and fix it.
7. Your pipes are corroded
When installing water into a house, most people fail to consider the lifetime value of water pipes. They use easily available and affordable pipes, such as galvanized steel pipes, which corrode fast. The possibility of these pipes corroding increases with the age of the house. While you may not be in control of this if you bought or renovated an old house, corroded pipes may be the reason why water pressure is low. Once a plumber identifies that your pipes are corroded, you may need a re-piping.
8. Faulty faucets
If you’ve done all your checking and the water pressure remains low, it could mean a problem with your faucets. This may only be the case if you experience low water pressure when using one (or a few) fixtures. If the pressure is low for all plumbing fixtures, this may not likely be the problem. A blockage or clog in your plumbing fixtures will shut the water flowing out of the equipment. It may take simple cleaning of the buildup to enhance the water pressure. For stubborn buildup, replacing the plumbing fixture will solve the problem.
Like millions of people in Canada, you might be experiencing low water pressure. The good news is you don’t have to continue living this way. For most people, low water pressure is caused by the small things you may disregard. Identifying the cause of low water pressure in your home is the first step to diagnosing the problem. Now that you know what may be causing low water pressure in your house, it’s easier to perform the diagnosis yourself. Fortunately, you may be able to fix some of the causes on your own, but for others, you may need to contact a plumber.