Low water pressure can be frustrating. Taking turns showering, or deciding to wash clothes versus starting the dish washer is not ideal for a stress free, efficient day. How long does it take to wash your hair with the trickles of water coming from the showerhead? If it’s not that bad yet, you may be headed there. Most homeowners call this low water pressure, and plumbers refer to it as low flow because of what causes it.
What causes low water pressure or low water flow?
The most common causes are of low water pressure are:
Corroded Pipes or Water Leaks
Other less common culprits that could be ruining your water pressure are:
Debris in the water - Mineral deposit build-up - Pressure regulators - Low pressure to the house - Water valves
Corroded or Rusting Pipes
Identifying what is causing the problem is the first step toward properly repairing it. Although, in some cases, you will simply have to troubleshoot the problem by exploring all of the possible causes. One of the most common causes of low flow is something in the water. If you have old iron pipes (galvanized), these clog with rust. The rust breaks loose and stops up aerators, valves, and other areas of restriction in the pipes.
Cracked or damaged water pipes servicing your home can cause water leaks. Water leaks can cause low water pressure because not all of the water is flowing to your faucet. Check your pipes for damage or leaks. You can have pinhole leaks that go unnoticed until it bursts. The leak could be in the main line or in your home. A trick to figuring out if you have a leak in the main pipe is to shut off the water valve in your home and mark down the meter reading showing on your water meter. Come back two hours later and read the water meter reading again. If the meter reading increases, then you have a leak.
You can try to diagnose your low water pressure probles on your own and test solutions to see if it resolves the problem. If you cannot correct the problem on your own then you are going to have to hire a professional plumber. There are also problems that you just cannot resolve on your own. Corrosion of your pipes, major blockage problems, or major leaks are all problems better left to the pros.
If you think you may have corroded pipes or leaks, call a Houston Home Pros today for a free estimate at 713-231-7826 or complete form fill by clicking below.
Less Common Problems can include the following:
Debris in the water
There a numerous way debris can enter your water system. There is a certain amount of algae in our water, and sometimes we get more than usual through the water supply. At times, the plastic pipe inside the water heater disintegrates, and pieces of plastic can plug fixtures. Another opportunity for debris to enter your pipes is when the water department works on their pipes, and rust or gravel can get into the house and plug up fixtures.
If the low water pressure is isolated to only certain fixtures, it may be a clogged aerator. If the sink faucet doesn't work well, take off the aerator (that little cylinder screwed on the end of the spout) and check the water flow without it. If the water flow is good, clean or replace the aerator. If the water flow is still bad, the problem is downstream.
If the pressure regulator goes bad and stops working, it may cause low water pressure in some or all of the water fixtures in your home. This is a plumbing repair better left to the professionals. A plumber can easily replace or fix a regulator at a reasonable cost to you.
Low Water Pressure from the city
You can test for low water pressure by buying a water pressure test gauge with a hose connection, and screw it on to a hose faucet. Test it with all fixtures in the house off. Fourty-five to fifty psi on the low side, and sixty is good. Your neighbors would likely be experiencing low pressure as well. If the pressure is low, a pressure boost system can be installed in the house, and this works pretty good.
Main Shutoff Valves
Valves can sometimes get accidentally moved or turned off without the homeowner realizing it. There is usually a main water valve in a home, and if it is not completely turned on, it will affect all of the water flow in the home. Be sure the main water valve is completely turned on if you are having a water pressure problem. Also, if the valve is built without a full size passage, it will supply less flow than a valve with a full sized passage. Your water heater also should have a main shutoff for the water. If it is restricted or partially off, you might get low flow for the hot water in the house.
Mineral Deposit Build-Ups
Over time, pipes can experience mineral deposit build-ups. These build-ups clog faucets and showerheads, preventing full water pressure. If you think this is the problem, try cleaning out the faucet heads and showerheads in your home to see if this alleviates the low water pressure problem. If this does not resolve the problem, then you may have to call a professional plumber to assess and correct the problem.