low water pressure

Common Causes of Low Water Pressure And How To Fix Them

Jun-2020 / 6 min read

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Nothing can beat the feeling of a nice refreshing shower after a long day. The best showers have decent water pressure and a comfortable temperature along with your favourite scent. But can you imagine what it would be like to deal with a weak trickle of water for your shower? It’s sad and honestly quite frustrating.

Low water pressure does not just affect showers. It can happen to any part of your house from your kitchen tap to your flushing toilet. While you can learn about these things before moving in, there are ways you can lose strength over time. Let’s tackle the common causes of low water pressure and see how you can troubleshoot it in your home. 

Why Do I Suddenly Have Low Water Pressure?

If you don’t typically experience low water pressure, there are several possible reasons. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Was there water work recently done around my neighbourhood or my city?
  2. Did I get repair work recently done? Did it affect my water? 
  3. What kind of water do I have in my area? Is there white limescale around my shower and faucet?
  4. Is there any climate-related news that might affect my water?
  5. Am I competing with other people for my water supply?

These 5 questions cover the most common reasons for water pressure suddenly decreasing. Let’s go through each one and learn how these things can affect you. Since water pressure in homes ties closely to supply, any changes in your outside environment like droughts, multiple tenants, and “peak” hours for water usage can also decrease your pressure. 

Your home maintenance can also affect your pressure. Moving the water valves, corrosion in the pipes or scale build-up can all contribute to weak pressure. The first dictates how much water enters you home and the last two are blockages that prevent the water from reaching you. 

These things happen, and fortunately for you, this problem does not have to be permanent. With a bit of effort on your or your plumber’s part, you can go back to enjoying strong showers and can fill up your pots and kettle in no time. 

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Common Causes For Low Water Pressure

The common causes of low water pressure are the lack of water supply, poor pumping facilities, plumbing problems, and small water mains. Sometimes even with proper maintenance, you have to adjust to changes in your surroundings. You may have to reroute your water system or something similar, but these changes rarely happen. 

How Do I Know If I Have Low Water Pressure?

The most obvious way to know is if you feel a shift in how you go about your home. Is the shower weak? Does it take longer to fill up your kettle? Pay attention to these small things. 

If you are new to a neighbourhood or home and the pressure is weaker than what you are used to, you need to test it. Pressure varies on location and water system in the house. You can buy a water pressure gauge from the hardware store and test the strength inside your home. 

If you do not want to use a water pressure gauge, try filling up a bucket. Turn the water on fully and time how long it takes. If it goes way beyond 30 seconds, you have low pressure. Water flow is a strong indicator of the pressure in your home. 

What if your hot water is weak, but your cold water is strong? The pressure problem is internal. It lies in your heating system. Cold water usually comes from the water main, while the hot water comes from the cylinder you have at home. You can fix this by adjusting your boiler settings or cycling the water through your system. You can read more how to check the pressure of your boiler here

How Do I Fix Low Water Pressure In My House?

These common causes of these problems are not impossible to handle. You can take care of them yourself with a little bit of know-how. However, whenever you are in doubt, do not hesitate to call a professional. PlumbingForce can help you with plumbing-related blockages or major pipework. Here are steps you can take to inspect the reason for your pressure problem and how you can deal with it: 

Check The News

Look for water-related incidents online and see if they affect you. Any kind of water line repair, pipe replacement, or maintenance could make the water supply weak in your area. If your problem is because of this, there is little to nothing you can do until they finish. 

If you still experience pressure issues after their repair, contact your local water company and ask if the low pressure is a long-term problem. When they tell you it is, you can invest in a better pump for your system.

Check Your Water Valves

There are two valves you should keep an eye on, the main water meter valve and the main house shutoff valve. Both of these valves should be fully open. The water meter valve is the water company’s responsibility. People rarely touch them because this is how the water from the supply pipe enters your home. The supply pipe is usually outside of your house. Go out and see if they are fully open. 

How do you know if it is fully open? Check the handle. If it is open properly, the handle should be parallel to the water pipe. When it is not in the right position, you can get a plumber to do it or use an adjustable spanner and adjust it. 

No problems with your water meter valve? Try the main house shutoff valve. It should be completely open as well. You can find this around the basement. Unlike the water meter valve, this could change more often. If you need to cut off your main water supply for repairs around the house, this is where it happens. Check to make sure it is fully open. If it isn’t, adjust it accordingly.

Check Your Pressure Regulator/ Pressure Reducing Valve

The pressure reducing valve (PRV) should solve water pressure problems, but can also be a source of them. PRV is for areas that have high pressure in water. If the force is too strong, it can damage your pipes and central heating system. When the PRV does not work, it can prevent your water flow. Contact your local plumbers at Plumbingforce and replace your PRV to go back to business as usual. 

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Check For Blockages

Now, when you only experience issues in some regions of your house, it might not be a pressure problem at all. Try to check all sources of water. Is it slower in the kitchen tap versus the faucet in the guest bedroom? If the answer is yes, you have scale build-up. 

Limescale is common in hard water. The type of water you receive depends on your location. You can ask your water company about the kind of water or test it yourself. Hard water is not necessarily bad, but they come with their challenges. Scale build-up can happen to any item or appliance that uses water regularly. You can install a scale inhibitor as it enters your home. They add small doses to reduce the limescale in your system.

Blockages are not limited to scale. If every faucet has the same problem, it could be the corrosion of your pipes. Old homes tend to have untreated pipes, and rust can develop. By the time you notice this problem, it is probably too late. You need to redo the plumbing inside your home. If you see rusty valves in your radiator, you can try to add a magnetic filter, but that cannot take back the existing damage. 

Check For Leaks And Similar Plumbing Damage

Go around your house and see if there are leaks or plumbing problems. There could be water damage behind large furniture or boxes. A pipe leak can happen anywhere. So how does a leak affect the water in your faucet? A leak means less water, therefore weaker pressure. 

Pipes are one of the things you cannot correctly repair leaks on your own. Cut off the water flow by turning the main house shutoff valves. Make sure to get a professional plumber to inspect and repair the busted pipe or pipes. If the problem comes from the water main, call your water company instead. Learn more about preventing water leaks here

What Can You Do To Prevent Low Pressure?

You do not have to experience low pressure to create a system that prevents it. You can avoid water pressure by adequately maintaining your system. Annual maintenance can go a long way with your pipes. You can also include the limescale remover and magnetic filter just to be sure. When your pipes are clean, and the pressure is adjusted correctly, you should have no problems with low water pressure. 

Is Low Water Pressure Dangerous?

Low water pressure is nowhere near as dangerous as high water pressure. The effects might not be as visible either. However, that does not mean low water pressure is not harmful. Both water pressure, low and high, settings are bad. However, low pressure is harder to live with. Your daily routine can take longer than necessary. It prevents you from doing other things.

If you leave it alone, you can increase the damages in your system. It could also destroy the household appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and even your heating system. As much as possible, try to create a proper workaround for it. 

Hopefully, this list can help you tackle low water pressure problems. Since every home is different, there is a bit of trial and error before you figure out what is really wrong. When you do not have the time to go through all the possibilities, our plumbers are here to help. We have same-service for emergency problems, get rid of low pressure in your home today!

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