There's nothing more frustrating than getting a trickle out of your faucet or showerhead when you're expecting a strong stream. Low water pressure can make it a hassle to wash, clean, or do just about anything else with your home's water supply. Read along to find out what often causes low water pressure problems and the measures you can take to correct these issues.
A failing water pressure regulator is often the cause of many water pressure issues. This device is designed to reduce the pressure of incoming water to save water and prevent damage to your home's plumbing. While a failing water pressure regulator can cause water pressures to skyrocket, it can also reduce water pressure.
Mineral buildup is also another issue that could potentially cause water pressure issues. Over time, calcium, lime scale, and a variety of other contaminants can build up inside of aging steel pipes, effectively constraining the amount of water that's able to pass through. This buildup can reduce your faucet's powerful stream of water to a mere trickle.
Low water pressure issues can also occur at the municipal level. Your municipality's water distribution system may not be producing enough water pressure to overcome elevation or high usage issues. Low water pressure issues could also occur during peak usage times (such as the early morning or early evening), when demand for water in the entire neighborhood increases.
Pinpointing the Problem
In order to pinpoint the source of your low water pressure woes, you'll need to eliminate each of the above mentioned possibilities. You should start with the faucets and showerheads to make sure the problem isn't limited to a single fixture. From there, you can work your way towards the water main:
- Start by checking the aerator in each faucet. Make sure there aren't any clogs preventing water from passing through the aerator. For your showerheads, remove them and check for signs of mineral buildup in each one. Also make sure the flow restrictor is intact and in good condition.
- Check all of the shut-off valves at each fixture. Make sure they're all fully opened, as a half-opened valve can restrict water flow to a particular faucet.
- Have your local plumber perform a pressure test to rule out your home's copper or galvanized steel plumbing. If a blockage caused by degraded pipes is the main cause, then you'll need to have those pipes replaced.
- Don't forget to check for signs of water leaking from your indoor plumbing, as this can also cause localized water pressure issues. Also check for water leaks near the main water shut-off valve.
- Have your local plumber check and test the water pressure regulator. If the regulator is malfunctioning, it'll need to be replaced.
- If you have a water softener and it's equipped with a bypass valve, activate the valve to see if the water pressure increases.
Dealing With Municipal Issues
If you can't find the source of the low water pressure issues inside your home, then the problem might lie with your municipal water provider. It's a good idea to contact your local water provider and find out if there are any system-wide issues that have resulted in a recent drop in water pressure. You may also want to ask your neighbors if they are experiencing the same problems you're having.
There's usually not much you can do about low water pressure issues as the municipal level. You can, however, have your plumber install a water-pressure booster to bring your home's water pressure up to acceptable levels. You can also have your plumber readjust the water pressure regulator to increase your home's water pressure. To learn more, contact a plumber at a company like The Clean Plumbers.