Experiencing Low Water Pressure at Home? Here’s Why

Experiencing Low Water Pressure at Home? Here’s Why

If it is taking forever to fill a bathtub, if you have to exasperatingly stand under the shower for an infinity to get the shampoo out of your hair, or if your washing machine is taking much longer to run a cycle, you are experiencing a reduced water pressure. While it can be extremely annoying to watch a thin trickle of water run of your faucets, the problem could be far bigger and may be affecting your entire house. Here are a few common causes of low-water pressure to help you root out the issue.

Failing Pressure Regulator

A faulty pressure regulator is one of the most common causes of low-water pressure. A pressure regulator is a control valve that adjusts the pressure of the water coming from the main supply line so as to save your pipes from damage. If your pressure regulator malfunctions, you will notice a sudden pressure drop across all fixtures at home. Test whether your pressure regulator is functioning as intended by attaching a water pressure gauge to the outdoor hose spigot located in close proximity of the pressure regulator. Ideal meter reading should be between 52 to 75 pounds per square inch. Anything lower should ring an alarm. You can either replace the faulty regulator yourself or get a professional to do it for you.

Too Much Usage

If you are experiencing low water pressure only at certain times of the day or on certain days, chances are that there is a higher-than-average demand for water in your condo for those periods.  Having multiple plumbing fixtures on at the same time can place an unusually high demand on the water supply, which can cause fluctuations in the water pressure. If you have many appliances on at the same time, you will notice lower water pressure in each. This problem can be solved by scheduling activities that use water separately. For instance, if you are doing laundry, you might want to wait before using the dishwasher. Staggering your water use throughout the day helps to maintain pressure at each fixture.

The Main House Shutoff Valve is Only Partially Open

If you are the only one on the block with a low water pressure, perhaps your main house shutoff valve isn’t open all the way. The main shutoff valve is located near where the main city supply pipe enters the home. This valve is located either inside the house or outside, depending on the weather condition. While this valve is seldom touched, itcan be left partially closed, especially after a repair work, which will inevitably cause a drop in water pressure. If you are experiencing low water pressure at home, it is prudent to check the main house shutoff valve, especially if some kind of repair has been recently done to the system. If your main shutoff valve is a gate valve fitted with a wheel-like handle, check if the handle is fully turned in the counterclockwise direction. On the other hand, if the shutoff valve has a lever handle, make sure that the handle is parallel to the direction of thepipe.

An Issue with the water supplier

Before you start checking valves and pipes for potential issues, it pays to ask around your neighbors if they are facing the same issue. Perhaps the problem is coming from your water supplier. Call up your water supplier and report the issue as well as ask if they are doing anything to get it fixed.

Debris Built-up

If you receive hard water, which contains calcium, magnesium and other soluble minerals, it is common to see the built-up of minerals inside pipes. Mineral deposits clog up your pipes like arteries and cause a hinderance in water flow. The rate of deposition increases if you have lead or galvanized steel pipes because debris clings to the irregular material. Mineral deposits can eventually clog the small spray holes in a shower head as well. This issue can be fixed by periodically removing the showerhead or aerator and cleaning out the minerals. To prevent debris from accumulating, you need to install a water softener that helps to neutralize the minerals and prevents mineral built-up.

Corroded Plumbing

How old is your house? That’s most probably how old your pipes are. Did you know that all pipes have an expiration date? Copper pipes last for 50 years while galvanized steel ones only have a lifespan of 20 years. When galvanized steel water pipes are corroded to the point that they begin to hinder water flow, you will experience reduced water pressure. While you cannot see the corrosion since it is happening on the inside, the eventual buildup of corrosion and scale can completely close off the pipes. If your pipes are corroded, the only solution is to seek professional help to re-pipe the system with new copper or plastic water supply piping.

Faulty Fixtures

If only a few fixtures are experiencing low water flow, it means that they need to be repaired. Be it a faulty aerator, a shower diverter valve, or a spigot, your plumber can help you change the fixture that is causing trouble.

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