Low water pressure can be a major annoyance. Often, the drop in pressure goes unnoticed at first because it lessens gradually. One day, you can take a satisfying but short 10-minute shower, and a month later, it takes twice as much time to rinse away the soap. Fortunately, most water pressure issues are quick to fix once you determine the cause.
A drop in water pressure can affect the entire house, or you may only have issues with a single appliance or room.
When you experience a loss of pressure in the whole home the issue is either going to be with the main water supply or it will be located where the water actually enters the home. If you are on municipal water, check with the water company to see if there are any known issues that could affect pressure in your area. If the problem is with the water company, you can install a pressure booster to mitigate the problem.
Sometimes the cause is at the point of entry for the water. A failed regulator, a leak, or an obstruction in the water main may result in lower pressure from every tap.
Galvanized Pipes or Fittings
Old galvanized pipes or fitting can also be the cause of a whole house low pressure. If you see a bit of red in your water when you first turn it on, you most likely have rust somewhere in your system.
Single Room or Appliance
When a single tap or appliance is affected, the problem is often caused by hard water. For example, if only your hot water comes out with low pressure, sediment in the hot water heater could be affecting the pressure. This could also be the case if only the bathroom sink tap is affected.
If low pressure is only affecting a single room or zone, such as only the second floor taps or the master bathroom taps, the issue is likely to be a faulty valve.
Often, a pressure issue can be fixed quickly simply by verifying that the valves that control the water supply are open and operating properly.
A broken valve or a valve that isn’t fully open can affect pressure. The main valve into the home affects the pressure in all of the taps. You can typically find the valve on the street side of your home where the water main enters. It may be in the basement, behind a toilet, or in a utility room. Turn on a nearby tap and then shut off the valve to verify that the water flow stops and the valve is working correctly.
Emergency Shut-Off Valves
Zone or room valves are typically located beneath a sink or behind the toilet. Simply verify that the valve is opening and closing correctly by first opening a tap in the room and then monitoring the water flow as you open and close the zone valve.
If the valve has an issue, a simple replacement is all you need.
The only way to verify that there really has been a drop in water pressure is to test the pressure as water comes out of your pipes.
You need a pressure testing gauge, available from hardware stores, to test water pressure. The method is simple — turn off all the water in the home and attach the gauge to a single tap. Turn on the tap and note the pressure reading on the gauge. If the pressure is between 50 and 75 PSI, then your water pressure is well within the normal range.
If the problem is a whole house issue, test a few different taps so you can rule out tap-specific problems.
If you are experiencing low water pressure in your home, it can often be the sign of larger problems beginning to develop. Call Moon Valley Plumbing, and we will get an experienced plumbing expert to help you resolve your problem.