When you’re looking forward to a shower, you want to stand under a soothing torrent… not a measly little trickle. So it can be incredibly frustrating to turn on the shower only to discover you have no hot water pressure in your home.
Whether some or all of your taps lost pressure suddenly or you’ve been dealing with this annoying problem for some time, our plumbers at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa have some advice to help you figure out why it's happening and how you can get it back.
Before we get started, please note that water heating systems can be dangerous if you’re not experienced in their repair and maintenance. Our trusted professionals at Mr. Rooter have the know-how and tools to diagnose your problem and safely get your system back in perfect working order so you can enjoy your showers again.
Why Do I Have No Hot Water Pressure?
Our heating systems are something we use every day, but most people don’t know much about how they actually work to bring hot water out of our taps at a decent pressure. Hot taps should have the same pressure as cold, so if you notice a significant difference between the two, there’s something going on that needs to be addressed.
Heating systems can be surprisingly complex, so there’s many possible reasons why this is happening. First, let’s look at the most likely causes.
Partially Closed Valve on Water Heater
If your cold water pressure is fine but your hot isn't, a partially closed valve is a likely cause. Your hot water heater has a shut off valve that can become partially closed. Good news about this issue is that it’s a very simple fix—twist the valve back to its fully open position and your hot pressure should come roaring back.
Partially Closed Main Water Shutoff Valve
If both your hot and cold pressure are low, your main shut off valve could be partially closed. This valve is capable of shutting off all flow into your home and it is generally located near the front of your house. If you don’t know where it is, check near your water heater, usually in your basement or inside your garage.
If it’s not inside, you may need to check the “water meet” box, a buried box on your property near the street. A Mr. Rooter plumber will be able to assist you in locating this box if necessary.
Sediment and Limescale Buildup
While this is especially an issue for homes with hard water, it can affect any hot water tank. Since your tank is constantly heating water, it’s susceptible to developing limescale build-up on the inside walls. Over time, the interior walls of the tank corrode and sediment flakes off of the sides and settles at the bottom, where it can make its way into the hot pipes. This causes a blockage, causing your hot pressure to fall.
Bent Water Supply Lines
If you have a tank-type system, it is likely fitted with an accordion-style copper pipe which is susceptible to bending. If the bend is severe enough, it will strangle the flow and cause you to have no or weakened hot pressure.
This one is pretty simple: if your hot faucet or showerhead is clogged up, water can’t pass through it properly. If this is the case, you won’t have any cold pressure either and you may even be able to see visible signs of buildup around the faucet or showerhead. The clog might be deeper in the pipe, but pipes that bring water into your home aren’t as susceptible to clogs as pipes that bring wastewater out.
Faulty or Incorrectly Configured Pressure Regulator
While pressure regulators are generally used in commercial buildings, sometimes they are installed in homes as well (especially houses that sit on low ground). If your house has a pressure regulator, it’s possible that it is not functioning properly or has not been correctly installed and configured. If that’s the case, there will be inadequate pressure throughout your entire home.
Wrong Sized Lines
Sometimes when water systems are installed incorrectly, supply line sizes may be significantly smaller than those of the main supply. This is bound to decrease pressure because volume is naturally reduced when it moves into a smaller pipe.
Cracked or Broken Pipes
A lack of pressure is sometimes related to cracked or broken pipes, which is a serious problem that can cause a lot of damage in your home. If water is leaking out of your pipes before it ever reaches your faucets, the pressure will probably be decreased throughout your home, not just in one fixture.
How Do I Increase My Hot Water Pressure?
Now that you know some possible reasons why you have no hot pressure, you’d probably like to know how you can resolve the problem and get it flowing again.
The first (and possibly most difficult) step is to diagnose the problem. By this point you might have a pretty good idea what’s happening with the pressure in your home, or you might have no idea which one of the above problems applies to your system.
Our team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa has dealt with all types of pressure loss. We’ll be able to troubleshoot the issue (or issues) that you are dealing with and suggest the best course of action for getting the pressure back up to a comfortable level.
Depending on your home’s specific needs, here are some possible solutions to your pressure woes.
Check For Leaks
If your lack of pressure is due to leaking pipes, they need to be taken care of as soon as possible. Check for damp spots on your carpets, damp marks on your ceiling or drywall, or visible moisture on your walls.
You can also check your toilet for leaks, as a leaking toilet can impact pressure in other fixtures. If your toilet mechanism is leaking, it will not stop water from flowing from the tank to the bowl. Put a few drops of food colouring in your toilet tank and leave it alone for a couple of hours without flushing. If you see coloured liquid seeping into your toilet bowl, you’ve got a leaking toilet tank.
Your water bill can be another telltale sign of leaks. If your usage hasn’t changed but your bill has increased, hidden leaks are likely to be the source of your problem. You can also check for leaks by turning off all flow to the house and reading your water meter. If the dial is still spinning, water is flowing and you’ve got a leak.
Replace Your Hot Water System
Hot water systems don’t last forever. Depending on the type of heater that is installed in your home, you can expect it to last about 11 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced. As your heater ages, the inside of your tank becomes corroded, pipes bend, and sediment builds up to a point where it must be replaced.
Flush and Clean Your Hot Water Tank
If you have a relatively new heater that’s still well within its normal lifespan, it may be able to get back in working order again with a good flushing out and cleaning of the interior to remove sediment and limescale buildup.
Tune or Replace Your Pressure Regulator
If you have a pressure regulator installed in your home, it may need to be adjusted to the correct settings. While that sounds simple, it can be difficult to get it set to just the right place for your home’s pressure and will likely require an experienced plumber. In some cases, the regulator may be worn down or broken and need to be replaced entirely.
If your pressure issues are related to pipes that are the wrong size or pipes that are old and degraded, you may need the pipes to be replaced entirely. But, don’t panic—pipe replacement doesn’t have to be a nightmare that involves digging up your yard.
Mr. Rooter employs a trenchless repiping method in which we use hydraulics to break up the old pipe and then run the new pipe into the space that is left behind. This method is far less invasive than the old-fashioned way; moreover, having new, perfectly functioning pipes will save you a lot of money in the long run.
What’s the Difference Between a Storage vs Tankless Heater?
Since you are experiencing a lack of pressure in your home, it may be time to consider a tankless water heater if you don’t already have one.
Traditionally, heaters are huge tanks (or storage heaters) that are constantly heating water so it is ready and waiting when you turn on the hot tap. This naturally uses a lot of energy, which means a higher energy bill. It also leaves your pipes susceptible to filling up with sediment and limescale from the corroded interior walls of the tank.
As the name suggests, a tankless heater does away with the tank part of the system. Instead, the tankless heater creates hot water on demand by pulling cold water through the pipe, running it through a heat exchange, and pumping the hot to your faucet. Since it only heats the amount you need right at the moment you need it, a tankless heater saves a lot of energy.
Consider the benefits of making the swap. Tankless heaters are:
Energy efficient, saving you money on your energy bill
Last longer than traditional heaters
Take up a lot less space than a tank
Increases your property value
Decreases the risk of damage
Decreases the chance of issues that can cause a lack of pressure
Mr. Rooter Will Get Your Water Pressure Roaring Back to Life!
No one enjoys the experience of getting into the shower only to find a trickle where there should be a waterfall. But having no hot pressure isn’t just annoying, it can also be a sign of serious issues with your system that will cause greater damage if left untreated.
Stop suffering from a lack of pressure when all you have to do is call Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa! Our team of licensed plumbers provide 24-hour emergency services, and our pricing is always an upfront flat-rate with no overtime fees.