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How to Find the Cause of Low Water Pressure

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 1:37pm

If you notice a loss of water pressure in your home, chances are a plumbing problem is the culprit. Naturally, you’ll want to find the cause, so you can hopefully get it working properly as soon as possible. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as trying to rinse shampoo out of your hair or wash dishes when the water pressure is too low. Here are a few tips that may help you find the cause of low water pressure, so you can get things back to normal sooner rather than later.

Check the Faucets

Sometimes, there is debris plugging up the screen of the faucet that is producing the reduced pressure. If you remove the aerator by unscrewing it and then soak the clogged screen in vinegar for 10 minutes, any sediment should be removed.

Open the Main Shut Off Valve

If the main shut-off valve that supplies water to your home is partially closed, then the water pressure will be affected. This valve is typically in your basement near the water tank, or under the water meter where the main water line enters your house.

Do You Have a Pressure Reducing Valve?

If the low water pressure is happening with every faucet in the house and your home has a pressure reducing valve or PRV as part of the plumbing system, then it might not be set properly. This adjustment should be made by a licensed plumber.

Check the Water Softener

If your home has hard water and you have a water softening system installed, it may be the cause of the low water pressure. If you try bypassing the water softener and the water pressure increases, then it’s safe to say that the softener is the problem and you should call a professional plumber for adjustments.

Check the Neighbourhood

If a city crew is doing some type of water maintenance work in your neighbourhood, the water pressure for some houses might be affected. If a water main has broken or if a nearby fire hydrant is being used, then your water pressure may be lower.

Is It Cold Outside?

If it was a frigid winter night, and water lines ended up freezing, then your water pressure could be affected. If it is frozen lines, then the pressure loss might be gradual rather than all of a sudden.

Is It Only the Hot Water?

Broken or damaged water heaters can affect water pressure, but it will only be evident when you use the hot water. If you have low pressure on the hot water only, check the shut off valve near your water heater to make sure it’s completely open. If it is still open and can be ruled out as a cause, call your plumber for help.

Hidden Water Leaks

Hidden water leaks have the potential to cause a great deal of water damage, raise your bills and lower your water pressure. The water that’s being lost through the leak has a negative effect on your pressure. If you want to try a quick home test, you can shut off the main water valve and record the reading on your water meter. If it has increased after a couple hours, you know water is being lost somewhere. Call your plumber to locate and repair the leak.

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