What Causes Low Water Pressure?
- Plumbing Services
Water pressure problems are far more common today than they were years ago. There are several reasons that could be causing low water pressure in your home.
Sediment or limescale can build up in faucet aerator screens and behind shower heads. Simply unscrew the faucet aerator or shower head and soak in white vinegar overnight, then scrub with a small brush.
Water shut-off valves are not fully in the “Open” position
If you recently turned off your water supply while on vacation or while plumbing work was done, it’s possible that your water supply valves are not fully open. It’s possible to experience drastic reductions in water pressure or flow rate, even if the valve is closed by as little as a quarter-turn. Start by checking the valve next to the water meter, then any main water line valves. If your flow rate issue is limited to just a few sinks, make sure the point-of-use valves in these areas are fully open.
New plumbing fixtures
Have you recently replaced a plumbing fixture, or added something new to your plumbing system? It is possible that your plumbing system might not be enough to handle your increased flow rate needs. If you suspect that a new plumbing feature might have caused low water pressure, contact a licensed plumber to discuss your options.
Scale build-up in pipes
Natural minerals in water will eventually build up and coat the insides of pipes. Over time, this mineral (scale) build-up will continue to form, and your pipes will continue to narrow. The amount of build-up present in your hot water pipes will depend on three main factors. These are the age of your home, the hardness of your water, and the temperature of your hot water. If you live in a very hard water area, or if your home is more than 30 years old, you might want to consider speaking with a licensed plumber to determine if your low water pressure is due to limescale build-up.
Poorly performing/old water filter or softener
Water treatment equipment that is not sized correctly for your home, or that has old or worn out media, can contribute to low water pressure in your home. To test this, simply place your water softener or filter on “by-pass.” If you have a cartridge-type filter, replace the cartridge. You might find that this simple change is enough to increase your water pressure to an acceptable level.
You have a leak
A leak anywhere in your home’s plumbing lines will result in a reduced flow rate to your faucets and showers. A simple way to test for leaks involves keeping all of your faucets off for three hours. Check your water meter at the beginning of the three hours, and again at the end. If the water meter moves at all, you will know that you have a leak. A licensed plumber will be able to find and repair the leak.