Low water pressure is a common issue that can affect daily tasks in your home. From sluggish washing machines to disappointing showers, low water pressure can make your everyday chores a hassle. This guide will help you understand what causes low water pressure, how to troubleshoot low water pressure, and most importantly, how to fix low water pressure.
What Causes Low Water Pressure?
Low water pressure can stem from various sources. It might be due to municipal water supplies, issues with the water meter valve, or the pressure reducing valve. Another common issue is blocked supply piping or partially closed shut off valves.
Here are the primary culprits:
Municipal Water Supply
Occasionally, the source of low water pressure isn’t in your home but originates from the municipal water supply itself. Your local water municipality controls the pressure of the water delivered to your home, and it might be set too low. Sometimes, this could be due to ongoing maintenance or repair work. It’s always a good idea to contact your local water department if you notice a sudden drop in water pressure.
Pressure Reducing Valve
Your home’s plumbing system includes a pressure reducing valve, or pressure regulator, to protect against overly high water pressure, which can damage your plumbing fixtures and appliances. The pressure reducing valve does this by lowering the pressure from the municipal water supply to a safer level for your home. However, if this valve is not working correctly or is set too low, it can cause low water pressure in your entire home.
Shut Off Valves
Shut off valves control the flow of water into your home. They are typically located near the water meter and where the water line enters your house. If these valves are not fully open, they can restrict the water flow, leading to low water pressure. This often happens after plumbing work if the valves are not opened back up completely.
Your home’s supply piping can also cause low water pressure. Over time, these pipes can become corroded or clogged with mineral deposits, leading to a narrowing of the water pathway and hence, a decrease in water pressure. Similarly, leaks or damage to the water pipe can also cause a drop in water pressure.
How to Troubleshoot Low Water Pressure
If you’re wondering “what’s wrong with my water pressure”, here are steps to troubleshoot low water pressure:
- Check Your Pressure Regulator: A faulty pressure regulator could be causing the issue. The normal household water pressure is between 50 psi and 80 psi. Use a water pressure gauge to check if it’s within this range.
- Check Your Water Meter Valve: A partially closed water meter valve could also be the culprit. Make sure it’s fully open.
- Test Pressure in Your Home: Check the pressure in your home by timing how quickly your kitchen sink fills a gallon jug. It should take about 6 seconds.
- Check the Plumbing Fixtures: If only specific fixtures have low pressure, the issue might be local to those fixtures.
How to Fix Low Water Pressure
Once you’ve identified the cause, here are steps on how to fix low water pressure:
- Open Shut Off Valves: Ensure all shut off valves are fully open to allow maximum water flow.
- Clean Faucets and Showerheads: Remove and clean your faucets and showerheads to clear any blockages that might be causing low water pressure.
- Adjust the Pressure Regulator: If the water pressure is below 50 psi, you can adjust the pressure reducing valve to increase it. Do not exceed 80 psi, as this could damage your plumbing.
- Replace Supply Piping: If your supply piping is old or corroded, you may need to replace it to increase water pressure.
How to Prevent Low Water Pressure
Prevention is better than cure, and here are some ways to prevent low water pressure:
- Regular Maintenance: Regularly clean your faucets, showerheads, and plumbing fixtures to prevent blockages.
- Inspect Your Pipes: Have a professional regularly inspect your water supply pipes to catch any problems early.
- Install a Water Pressure Booster: If you constantly struggle with low water pressure, consider installing a water pressure booster to maintain consistent pressure.
The Bottom Line
Low water pressure can be a nuisance, but it’s usually fixable with a little time and effort. If you’ve tried all the above and are still wondering “what’s wrong with my water pressure”, it might be time to call a professional. At Scottco, we’re always ready to help with all your plumbing needs in Amarillo, TX.