Possible Causes of Low Water Pressure in Your House

Low water pressure is a huge bummer for any homeowner. It’s terrible to step into your shower only to have it dribble water on you, and it’s no good for washing dishes either. No matter how you slice it, having a water pressure issue causes major problems. And if you have one, fixing it is probably the only thing on your mind.

If you’ve been dealing with low water pressure in your home, have hope! While it’s no fun at the moment, there are plenty of possible reasons the pressure could be low, and not all of them require major intervention. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the common culprits and explain how to fix them:

What is Water Pressure?

Water pressure is, as you may have guessed, the force with which the water exits from its source. A good way to envision differences in water pressure is to think of showers. Different showers have different water pressure levels. For example, if you go to a nice hotel, you might notice that the water is hitting you with more force than it does in your own home. This is because the shower head and plumbing system in that hotel are designed to deliver greater water flow.

Water pressure can be influenced by a variety of factors. Some of these factors are:

  • The size of the opening the water moves through
  • The volume of water being released
  • Pressure regulation mechanisms in your plumbing
  • Your utility provider for water services

In general, the water pressure at a home should be between 45 and 55 pounds per square inch (PSI), but it can go as high as 80 PSI. If the pressure starts to dip too far below 40, you may have an issue in your home.

If you notice that your water pressure is low, then you should try to diagnose the problem before calling a plumber. Low water pressure problems can often be solved, or at least diagnosed, without assistance from a professional.

Water Shutoff Valve May be the Reason for Water Pressure Problems

Damage potential: None

Is professional help needed: No

You may never have interacted with them, but your home has valves that control the flow of water into your home. Typically, there are two primary shutoff valves for your home, one inside your house and one located outside near your water meter. Occasionally, one or both of these valves can end up partially closed, either from an inspection issue or a failure to fully open it after maintenance.

If you’re experiencing low water pressure, these two valves are the first things you should check as they have the simplest solutions. All you have to do is locate the valve in your home and open it all the way, then do the same with the valve by your meter.

To open the valve, just twist the shutoff valve to the open position, or twist it left several times (what you need to do will depend on the specific valve handle type). In some cases, the valve can become stuck in a closed position. Should this happen, call a plumber to have them replace your valve.

Debris Buildup May Cause a Decrease in Water Pressure

Damage potential: High

Is professional help needed: Yes

Sometimes, minerals in your water or other obstructions can enter the pipes into your home. If this happens, there is little you can do unless you are a professional plumber. Usually, you can tell your pipes are clogged by turning on a tap. Clogged pipes typically produce water at the normal pressure for a brief period of time and then start to sputter.

If you find out you have a pipe clog that is causing low water pressure, it’s time to call a plumber. Once they get there, they can diagnose the specific problem and determine how intensive of repair is required. We highly recommend that you do not wait on hiring a plumber for these types of clogs, as the pipes can burst, corrode, or contaminate your water supply if left unattended.

Pressure Regulator Issues Can Affect Water Pressure

Damage potential: Low to moderate

Is professional help needed: Sometimes

Some homes are equipped with pressure regulators that set the water pressure within the home at a single consistent level. This is usually a bell-shaped device that is located near the hose connector in your home. A good way to identify if a pressure regulator is the culprit is to turn on a faucet in your house. If a pressure regulator is an issue, the water flow will likely shift between high and low pressure with little to no transition time.

Once you find the pressure regulator in your home, you’ll need to locate the screw at its end. If the pressure is too low, rotate the screw clockwise to increase the pressure. Make sure to do this gradually and test the water pressure while you modify it.

In some cases, the pressure regulator can simply wear out. When this happens, the pressure in your house will shift either too high or too low for no apparent reason. If your attempts to adjust the pressure using the regulator end in failure, then you may need to call a professional to fix the regulator or install a new one.

Plumbing Leak Can Lead to a Loss in Water Pressure

Damage potential: High

Is professional help needed: Yes

Pipes don’t last forever, and if you’re in an older home, there’s a chance that your pipes may be corroded or leaking for some other reason. It’s difficult to determine if a leak is a specific reason, but you can check for wet areas in your yard or in your home to try to identify one.

Ideally, you’ll catch a leak before it causes water damage to your home. If you test all the other well-known causes of low water pressure and come up empty, it may be a leak that is causing your issue. As soon as you suspect a leak, you should call a plumber for an emergency job. Leaks or pipe corrosion may require you to replace large sections of your plumbing, which is absolutely a job for a professional and not a DIY project.

Water Restrictions May Force a Decrease in Water Pressure

Damage potential: None

Is professional help needed: No

In some places that are experiencing extreme droughts, such as the southwestern United States, utility companies may install a restrictor into the main line that limits the flow of water to houses that are using more water than allowed. If this is the case, you may need to talk with your utility company and arrange a plan to use less water so you can have the restriction eased.

Let Your Local Mr. Rooter Fix Your Low Water Pressure Issues

If you’re struggling with low water pressure in your home, and you haven’t been able to fix the issue on your own, there’s still hope. Our experienced plumbers have the skills needed to replace corroded pipes, install new regulators, fix shutoff valves, and clear pipe clogs.

Whatever your problem, you can trust Mr. Rooter to fix it. All of our work is guaranteed, so we promise you’ll be satisfied with the solutions we provide.

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