Your Guide to Dealing With Low Water Pressure

Water pressure is an often-overlooked part of plumbing, but it’s very important. The right level of pressure helps to keep you safe and make your home more comfortable. If you’re dealing with low water pressure, there are several steps you can take to address the issue.

How to Tell if You Have Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can be tricky to identify. In many cases, pressure gradually drops over time, so you might not notice any issues with your water pressure. However, there are often warning signs of low water pressure, including:

  • Water slow coming from faucets and fixtures
  • Taking a long time to fill up toilet tanks or get a glass of water
  • Dishes coming out of the dishwasher dirty
  • Washing machine taking a long time to run
  • Sprinklers not spraying water far enough
  • Water dripping out of shower heads instead of spraying

If you suspect you have low water pressure, you may want to get a plumber to measure your water pressure for you with a pressure gauge. Generally, water pressure in a residential home is supposed to be between 45 and 80 pounds per square inch (psi). Any water pressure under 40 psi counts as low water pressure, and anything below 20 psi is so low that your plumbing cannot comply with building codes.

Causes of Low Water Pressure

Once you notice low water pressure, it’s important to identify the issue as soon as possible. In some cases, water pressure can be caused by other plumbing issues that you need to address promptly. Potential reasons for low water pressure include the following.

Clogged Fixtures

If just one area of your house has low water pressure, it probably means you just have a clog in the fixture. It’s common for mineral buildup to accumulate in the tiny holes of a showerhead or faucet, and this can keep water from flowing at its proper rate.

Corroded Pipes

Over time, the material of your pipes can react with the minerals in your water. This causes bumpy corrosion to start growing on the inside of your pipes. Less water can make its way through the pipes, so your plumbing ends up with low pressure. Depending on where the corrosion is, this issue can affect one or more plumbing fixtures throughout the house. It can also cause some other signs like discoloration, strange tastes, and unusual smells in your water. Over time, corrosion can eat away at the material of a pipe enough to make it start leaking water.

Leaky Pipes

If you have a leak in your pipes, your water pressure will drop. This happens because water is getting wasted instead of flowing into your fixture. In situations where the leak happens due to a sudden breakage, you’ll notice that water pressure suddenly drops out of nowhere. If the leak is slow, you can have a gradual decline in pressure. To check for leaks, try turning off all your fixtures and then looking to see whether the water meter is still showing that your house is using water.

Partially Closed or Broken Water Valves

The valves that connect your home to the main water supply can run into some problems that affect your pressure. Sometimes, the cause of low water pressure is simply that someone bumped your shutoff valve handle and partially turned it into a closed position. At other times, low pressure can be from a faulty pressure regulator valve that’s incorrectly stopping the flow of water.

Water Supply Issues

If you’ve had a sudden drop in water pressure but you don’t see signs of a leak, check with your neighbors. When everyone on the block has low water pressure, it usually means that there is a problem with your water supply lines. Sometimes, a broken water main line can give an entire community low water pressure. Keep in mind that water supply issues can happen even without a break in the main line though. Some cities simply choose to supply water to residents at a lower pressure than you would prefer.

Poorly Designed Plumbing

In older homes, people occasionally run into issues with improper plumbing designs. If your home has been modified to add new fixtures, there is a chance that you might not have the right piping layout to provide water to all your fixtures.

Is Low Water Pressure a Problem?

Some homeowners are tempted to ignore low water pressure and assume it’s just a minor inconvenience. However, it’s important to recognize that low water pressure means more than just a less comfortable shower and more time filling up a glass of water. Many of your appliances rely on a certain level of water pressure to work correctly. Without enough water pressure, your clothes and your dishes might not be getting clean enough.

Things can become even more dangerous if your plumbing system isn’t up to code. When water supply pressure is low, pressure differences can cause wastewater to get sucked back up into your piping system. This isn’t a danger in most homes because your main backflow preventer will stop this from happening. However, if the backflow preventer is broken or improperly installed, low pressure can lead to bacteria in your drinking water.

How to Fix Low Water Pressure

If you’re dealing with low water pressure, the first thing you need to do is figure out the cause. Once your plumber has identified why you keep having issues, they can help you fix it. Depending on the cause, fixing low water pressure can range from a 30-minute task to a days-long construction project.

In some cases, addressing low water pressure is as simple as cleaning a shower nozzle or replacing a pressure regulator valve. Your plumber might also recommend replacing damaged faucets or other fixtures that aren’t working properly. Meanwhile, other situations might require you to repair a leak. For small leaks, your plumber can use epoxy to seal a crack in a pipe. For bigger leaks, replacing some of your piping might be necessary.

Unfortunately, some types of low water pressure are trickier to fix. Corroded pipes require either thorough cleaning or a complete replacement. Whether you have to replace your corroded pipes typically depends on their age and condition.

You may also need to replace your pipes if you have a poorly designed plumbing system that isn’t providing your home with enough water. Some homeowners who are still unhappy with their water pressure after all of these repairs may also want to install a booster pump to enhance the level of pressure they get from the main water supply line. For plumbing solutions, we are your go-to!

If you’re struggling with low water pressure, Ready & Able is happy to help you. Our team can identify the cause of the pressure problem and repair the issue. We also provide a variety of other services throughout Harrisburg. For emergency plumbing solutions, turn to us! You can count on us for help with heating, cooling, plumbing, and air quality. To schedule your service visit, contact Ready & Able today.

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