Is your shower suddenly running at a slow trickle? Does it take an eternity for your washer to fill? Then you may be experiencing the inconvenience of low water pressure problems.
First of all, if your neighbours are having the same problems as you, then the problem is probably not specific to your home, and you will need to call your city or town’s public works department and ask them to investigate.
For example, just a few days ago, my wife came home from my daughters’ school and saw a large bulldozer and about 3 trucks with a half dozen men on the parkway in our front lawn. It turns out that there was a main water leak in the street line and thus was causing low water pressure in the house as well as structural problems for the street and concrete curbing.
If the problem doesn’t appear to be widespread in your area, then the circumstantial evidence shifts back to you in that if you are the only one with the low water pressure problem. Then there is likely something wrong with the pipes and valves that bring water to your home.
If you have been living in your home for some time now and are suddenly experiencing water pressure problems, there are a number of possibilities. There could be a leak in one of the water pipes leading to your home, or something has clogged your valves or pipes.
In older homes with galvanized steel piping, copper repiping is a common upgrade that many homeowners face. Over time, the steel piping rusts and builds calcium deposits, thus shrinking the pipe’s flow rate.
No one likes dealing with low water pressure issues. Calling in a professional will often give you drastically better results than fixing problems yourself.
Why Is My Water Pressure Low
When your entire neighbourhood is experiencing low water pressure issues, you can opt to install a water pressure booster in your home in such a case.
However, when the problem is localized to your home, you’ll need to look deeper to investigate the causes of low water pressure in your house.
- Debris in Your Home’s Pipes.
Numerous types of debris can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing system. One common issue faced by many homeowners is tree roots.
Tree roots naturally grow toward pipes. The pipes provide an abundant source of water, nutrients, and oxygen trees require to survive.
Tree roots, dirt, and sand – even in small amounts – can cause significant blockages in your plumbing.
- Water Pipe Leaks.
Even a single leaking pipe can cause serious water pressure issues in your home. Another unfortunate side-effect of a leaking pipe is the significant increase in your utility bill.
Even if your faucets are turned off, and your dishwasher isn’t running, the leak will continue to flow. In the event of leaking pipes, you will definitely want to call in a skilled professional.
- Corrosion and Mineral Deposits.
This is especially a problem for homes with iron galvanized piping and older homes. However, Angieslist.com points out that even though steel or galvanized pipes should last you up to 20 years, eventually, corrosion will build up inside the pipes.
This effectively narrows the pathway water has to go through your home’s system, reducing your water pressure overall.
- Issues with Your Home’s Two Main Valves.
Tim Adams of Homeadvisor.com tells homeowners to be aware of two main valves: the customer and home valves.
These valves need to be in the “ON” position at all times if you want correct water pressure in your house. If they are even slightly turned away from this position, there can be a significant decrease in water flow.
- Incorrectly Set Pressure Reducing Valves.
As defined on Inspectapedia.com, there are situations in which the normal municipal water supply pressure exceeds 80 pounds per square inch (psi).
In these cases, a pressure reducing valve is necessary to prevent the water pressure from your home from reaching dangerous, pipe-bursting levels.
However, if this valve was installed incorrectly, your water pressure could be considerably lower than it should be.
Ways to Fix Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure problems may be easier to solve if they are localized, which means that only a part of the home is affected.
For example, only the showerhead might be affected, or only the faucet over the kitchen sink has low water pressure. If this is the case, then a part of the pipeline for this particular area is more than likely clogged, or there could be a leak.
You may want to dismantle the faucet or showerhead to see if a washer or rubber gasket restricts the flow of water. I’ve also found that if you have hard water or have the utility company shut off the water in your area when you go back to turn on faucets and such, there is a lot of gunk that gets passed through the lines.
In faucets or showerheads, this stuff gets trapped in the screens and gaskets and needs to be cleaned out properly to restore water flow. If the problem is not so obvious, you may need to enlist the services of a plumber to check the pipelines.
There are many causes for low water pressure in the house. Some you can troubleshoot yourself, and the others are much more complex and require a high degree of training to repair properly.