You probably know what to do when the water you’ve used in your home can’t find it’s way out due to clogged drains or some other issue. But what do you do when the water pressure in your home is low? Low water pressure means that you’re getting less than the average water pressure of 40 to 45 pounds per square inch (PSI).
When your household uses water for washing dishes, showering and running the washing machine, you don’t think about where the water is coming from. As a result, you may not know how to troubleshoot low water pressure problems.
Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is here to help. We’ve compiled a list of 10 possible causes for low water pressure in your home.
1. Water Supplier Issues
The first thing you should do if you experience low water pressure is to check with your neighbors. If they are also having low water pressure, the issue is likely with your water supplier. If the entire neighborhood or community is experiencing low water pressure, it’s likely due to an issue with the municipal water supply. This isn’t something that you can fix on your own and will require the help of your municipality or city.
Water main breaks and other issues can cause low water pressure for an entire neighborhood. In this case, you’ll need to wait until the problem is resolved by the water company. But if you’re not impressed with their response time, you can also contact your local city or town hall.
2. Your City Has Introduced New Regulations
In some cases, your municipality may have introduced new water conservation rules that are affecting your home’s water pressure. This is especially common in areas that are prone to droughts.
If that happens, you may have to shop for a water pressure booster system. Although these systems are relatively easy to install, you may want to consult with a professional to make sure it’s installed correctly and won’t damage your home’s plumbing.
Sometimes, you may be required to get an inspector. If that is the case, hiring a licensed plumber to install the booster system is your best bet.
3. The Main House Shut Off Valve Isn’t Fully Open
If your house is the only one in the neighborhood with low water pressure, it’s time to check your home’s main shut off valve. The shut-off valve is usually located near where the water line enters your home. This can be inside or outside your home.
It’s possible that the shut-off valve isn’t fully open, which would restrict the flow of water into your home and cause low water pressure. To fix this, check the type of handle the shut off valve has. If it’s like a lever, simply turn the valve until it’s parallel to the pipe. However, if it looks like the handle you would use to turn on a hose, then turn it counterclockwise until it’s fully open.
4. The Water Meter Valve Isn’t Fully Open
There’s another valve that controls the flow of water into your home, and that’s the water meter valve. This valve is usually placed near the main shut off valve and may be located underground.
If the water meter valve isn’t fully open, it will restrict the amount of water flowing into your home and cause low water pressure. Although most homeowners do not tamper with the water meter, if you’ve had work done on your home’s water line, it’s possible that the contractor accidentally closed the valve too much. To fix this, simply open the valve by turning it until it is fully open. You shouldn’t have to use too much force to open the valve.
5. Failing Pressure Regulator
A pressure regulator is supposed to adjust the water pressure coming into your home so that it’s safe for your plumbing system. Over time, the pressure regulator can become worn out and no longer function properly. When this happens, it can cause low water pressure in your home.
If your home doesn’t have a plumbing regulator, you may skip this section. But if it does, a failing pressure regulator could be to blame for your low water pressure. Luckily, there’s a simple test you can do to check if your regulator is the issue.
First, attach a water pressure gauge to the outside hose spigot closest to your pressure regulator. Turn the water on and check the reading on the gauge. If it reads lower than what the regulator is showing, then your regulator is likely failing.
If your pressure regulator is failing, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. While you can do this on your own, it’s best to hire a professional as it can be tricky to properly install a pressure regulator.
6. Clogged Water Pipes
Clogs are not just found under drains, but they can also form in your water pipes. Over time, mineral deposits and corrosion can cause a build-up on the inside of your water pipes. This can restrict the flow of water and cause low water pressure in your home.
If you have an older home, it’s more likely that your pipes are clogged. But even if your home is new, it’s still possible for pipes to become clogged. The only way to know for sure if your pipes are clogged is to have a professional plumber take a look.
Using chemicals on water pipes is definitely not the way to go. Not only are they bad for your pipes, but they can also be harmful to your health. The best way to clear clogged water pipes is to have a professional plumber do it.
7. Your Pipes Are Corroded
What material are your home’s water pipes made of? If they’re made of iron or steel, then there’s a good chance they’re corroded. Over time, the water flowing through your pipes can cause corrosion, which will lead to a build-up of rust. This can restrict the flow of water and cause low water pressure.
While copper pipes can last up to 50 years before they start to corrode, iron and steel pipes only last about 20 years. Brass pipes are known to last up to 70 years. So, if your home has iron or steel pipes, it’s more likely that they’re the cause of your low water pressure.
Older homes are more likely to have iron or steel pipes. But, if you live in an area with hard water, your home’s pipes could corrode faster than normal. The only way to know for sure is to have a professional plumber take a look. Corrosion can also be more likely if you’ve made an addition to your home. If you didn’t expand the branch lines in that section of your home, then the pipes are being overworked and are likely to corrode quicker.
8. You Share Pipelines
Shared pipelines are more common in rural areas. If you live in a rural area and have low water pressure, it may be because you’re sharing pipelines with your neighbors. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can cause some problems.
If one of your neighbors uses a lot of water at once, it can cause the water pressure in your home to drop. This is because there’s only so much water that can flow through the shared pipeline. Also, if your neighbor’s home is higher than yours, they may be getting all the water pressure, leaving you with little to none.
The only way to know for sure if you’re sharing pipelines is to check with your local water company. They should be able to tell you if you’re on a shared system. If they confirm that you are, there’s not much you can do about it. The best thing to do is to adjust your routine so that you’re not using as much water at the same time as your neighbors.
9. You Have a Water Leak
A water leak can also cause low water pressure in your home. If there is a water leak somewhere in your plumbing, it could be causing water to drain from your system, resulting in low water pressure.
Look around your home for any signs of wet spots or water damage. If you see any, it’s possible that there’s a water leak. Once you find the source of the leak, you can repair it and hopefully restore your water pressure to normal.
To fix a leak, turn off the water to your home at the main water shut-off valve. This will prevent any more water from leaking out. Then, you can repair the leak and turn the water back on. Tie a rubber patch over the crack and attach it to the pipe using a pipe repair clamp and electrical tape. This is only a temporary fix, so you’ll need to call a professional plumber to make a permanent repair. You should also be aware that, for your water pressure to be affected, you may be dealing with more than one leak.
10. You Have Faulty Fixtures
A low water pressure that affects all your plumbing fixtures is most likely caused by an issue with your main water supply. But, if you only have low water pressure in one or two fixtures, the problem is probably with those specific fixtures.
The first thing you should do is check to see if the aerators on your fixtures are clean. The aerators reduce the volume of water flowing through your fixtures without reducing the pressure. Over time, sediment and minerals can build up in the aerators, causing low water pressure. Unscrew the aerators from the affected faucets and clean them. Screw them back on and check the pressure.
If the aerators were the problem, your water pressure should be normal now. But, if it’s still low, there may be an issue with your fixtures themselves. You’ll likely need to replace them. You can buy new fixtures at your local hardware store. Be sure to take the old ones with you so that you get the right replacements.
Contact Us if You Need Help With Your Low Water Pressure
If you’re still having trouble with low water pressure in your home, give us a call. Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing has been in business for over 30 years. Our certified plumbers are experts and will be able to quickly diagnose and fix the problem. Contact us today at 812.425.8435 to schedule a service!