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Is your bathroom faucet taking forever to fill a sink or bathtub? Is your dishwasher or washing machine taking hours to run a cycle? Are you struggling to wash off that shampoo because of the dribbling water? All these can be attributed to having low water pressure in the house.
The issue is easier to deal with if only one of your plumbing fixtures such as a sink faucet, a water heater, or a shower head has low water pressure; you can fix it easily — probably on your own. But, if you’re experiencing widespread low water pressure in the house, it could indicate a bigger problem.
When your home water pressure is low, the first thing you should do is narrow down its probable causes. If the low water pressure problem is not addressed immediately, it could affect your quality and pace of life. Every task, including showering, washing dishes, or doing laundry will add to your frustration.
That’s why it’s important that you understand the cause. In this post, we will look at several possible causes for a loss of water pressure in your home and what you can do to solve the problem.
One of the most common causes of low water pressure in a house is leaking pipes. These leaks divert the flow of water. Generally, such leaks are easy to identify by the sound the pipes make or moisture in that area. If you’re unable to pinpoint the exact area of the leakage, you should begin by shutting off all water taps in the house and recording the water meter. If it still shows increased usage, there’s definitely a leak.
Solution: Once you’ve identified the source of the leak, you can seal it yourself. If you’re unable to do so, you may want to take the help of a licensed plumber.
Read more: How to fix a leaky kitchen faucet
Generally in most homes, there are two shutoff valves — the water meter valve and the main shutoff valve. In case of low water pressure, check to see if one of these valves is closed or partially closed.
Solution: A water meter is usually placed on an exterior wall of the house, in the garage, or in the basement. Make sure the valve handle is fully open and parallel to the water pipe.
Locate the main shutoff valve and spin it counterclockwise to open it. If there’s a lever, make sure it’s parallel to the pipe.
Buildup in plumbing pipes
Blocked pipes affect a house’s water flow the most. Old metal pipes, especially old steel pipes, are prone to corrosion buildup and may even break down over time. If you live in an older home, corrosion buildup, debris, and mineral deposits within the pipes may lead to low pressure.
Solution: Make use of plumbing chemicals to remove the mineral or debris buildup. But if the pipes have corroded completely, they will need a replacement. This is a complex task — best left to the professionals.
The issue is quite serious; it can lead to massive damage, sometimes bursting pipes and flooding. Replacing plumbing pipes may cost you more than $10,000 but it’s worth the cost. Keep in mind that corroded pipes can cause a lot of health problems too.
High water demand
Some homes may not be able to handle a high demand for water. For example, running the dishwasher or a washing machine and showering at the same time may lead to low pressure.
Solution: The best solution is to coordinate with your fellow housemates regarding water usage. The idea is to alleviate any strain on the water supply. For example, you can use the dishwasher at night when no one is showering or cooking. And, you also get to save money on your utility bills by running appliances during non-peak hours.
Broken pressure regulator
Pressure regulators, as the name suggests, help to maintain a good water flow — neither too high nor too low. A broken regulator will make your entire home’s water pressure drop suddenly.
Solution: If you suspect a broken pressure regulator, a good way to confirm this is by attaching a water pressure gauge to an outdoor water spigot.
It’s definitely damaged if the water pressure is below the recommended threshold of 52 to 75 pounds per square inch. It’s important that you call in a professional to replace the broken pressure regulator with an exact model.
Read more: Exterior spigot replacement
Faulty faucets and plumbing fixtures
If there’s low water pressure only in a particular plumbing fixture, the problem is easy to solve. The sink or faucet may be clogged or in need of a new aerator.
Solution: You can easily fix faulty fixtures by giving them a good scrub. This will help dislodge any dirt or buildup. Remember to change the faucet aerators once a year and clean them regularly.
Read more: How to unclog kitchen sink
Inadequate water supply line
A large-scale home remodeling whereby you’ve installed additional water fixtures after the house was built, can compromise the main water supply line. There’s a good chance that the mainline may be insufficient to meet your water usage demand.
Solution: Calling a plumber or contractor is a good idea. They will verify the size of your main supply line to see if it’s causing the low water pressure.
Low water pressure can affect your day-to-day life. Your washing machines or dishwasher will not be able to function properly, the tub will take longer to fill up, and showering will become a time-consuming chore. Such a situation can create a lot of stress. And, needs to be avoided at all costs. We hope this blog will help you do just that!
Read more: Essential home plumbing maintenance tips