With clogged drains, we tend to know what to do. We use some tools if we have them or we call a plumber. But, what if the plumbing problem is not related to the drains? What if you have low water pressure? Do you know what to do or what causes it?
In-home water pressure is usually around 40 PSI (pounds per square inch). When you see that the water pressure in your home is not as it used to be, there is a pretty good possibility we are talking about a lower number.
In the US, the average family consumes 300 gallons of water every day. This is quite a lot. And most people have no idea what to do when water pressure goes down.
Let’s take a look at the most common low water pressure causes every homeowner should know together with what to do if you notice the problem.
The Water Supplier Has A Problem
The first thing you have to do when you have low water pressure in your home is to ask around. See if your neighbors have the same problem. If this is the case, the problem is most likely not connected to your property.
Get in touch with the water supplier and report the issue. See if the supplier already knows that something is wrong and if work is being done. When they are currently trying to fix the problem, you cannot do anything. But, if the water supplier says nothing is wrong and it is quite obvious that this is not the case, you might even have to start a petition.
Water Regulations Changed
When the city changes water regulations, the supplier has to comply. If this happened and water pressure went down, there is a pretty good possibility you will need a water pressure booster pump, like this one. And your best option is to contact a plumber to install it for you, even if you could do it yourself.
The problem with water pressure booster systems is that proper installation is connected to several things, like your pipes. Also, an inspector might have to visit your home after the installation, based on local laws.
A Problem With The House Shutoff Valve Or Water Meter Valve
If your home is the only one with the problem, you have to start investigating. The best place to start is the house shutoff valve. It might not be open all the way.
Most homeowners do not mess with the shutoff valve and this is a good thing. And the only thing you should do is check to see if there is a handle present. If so, see if it is turned counterclockwise as much as possible. When the handle is a lever, it needs to be in a position that is parallel to the water pipe. Anything else means the valve is not fully open and your water pressure is low.
After the shutoff valve, it is time to look at the water meter valve. It can be difficult to reach and sometimes it is placed underground. But, if you can, check it. The same thing as with the shutoff valve can happen.
Failing Pressure Regulator
Pressure regulators are not always present so if there is none in your home, just move on.
When you have a pressure regulator, you can test it to see if it is failing. Take a water pressure gauge and attach it to the hose spigot you have outside. Try to choose one that is close to the pressure regulator, whenever possible. Turn the water on and you can read the water pressure. When you see a lower report than what the pressure regulator says, the problem might be the pressure regulator.
A pressure regulator should adjust pressure to a safe level for the home’s pipes. When the reading is incorrect, water pressure can be too low. The pressure regulator can be replaced by the home owner but a plumber can help when there are doubts.
Clogs can appear in literally any pipe in your plumbing system. And a small clog can lead to lower water pressure.
A clog can be anywhere so if it is not obvious where it is, you have to contact a plumber. Using dangerous chemicals and randomly putting them down the drain can create huge problems in the future, just as when you pull out one pipe at a time to figure out what the clog is.
Homeowners need to know as much as possible about their pipes. Things like when they were installed and the material they are made out of. This is because several pipes have a clear expiration date, like galvanized steel pipes. These can corrode after around twenty years. Copper pipes have a life of around 50 years and brass pipes can last up to 70 years, although they can also corrode after 40.
Simply put, if your house is older and plumbing pipes were not modernized, there is a higher chance that pipes are corroded. In addition, corrosion can appear when some extra fixtures exist, like an extra washing machine or bathroom. As you add more plumbing fixtures, the branch lines are extended. Such portions work more and can corrode faster.
The important thing to remember about corroded pipes is that you will not see the corrosion just by looking at the pipe. Learn all you can about the age of the pipes and take it from there.
If water pressure is low because of shared pipelines, it is never enjoyable. A shared pipeline is a pipeline taking water to over one house. Basically, if the neighbor is taking a shower, your water pressure goes down. The water supply is practically divided between several homes. Even if just 2 share pipes, it can be problematic.
We often experience this in our homes. We wash our hair, then the dishwasher starts, and water pressure changes. But, with shared pipelines, it is what the neighbor does that lowers the water pressure.
If this is your problem, you have to make a decision. Is the water pressure problem too much to handle? Or is it something you can get used to? If it is not something you can get used to, pipe replacements are needed. And you will need the help of a plumbing company that is serious and experienced since the project will be a little complicated.
You definitely know your pipes leak if you find a flooded area in your home. But, your water pressure can also be affected by a small leak. This is because the leak misdirects the water supply. You do not get full flow even if everything works as it should.
When pipes are accessible, check them. Look for pooling water or wet spots. A quick fix is possible when you find a leak in time and it is small. But, there is always a chance several leaks exist. You should inspect all your pipes since leaky pipes often lead to contaminated drinking water.
Faulty Plumbing Fixtures
Last but not least, when low water pressure affects all the plumbing fixtures, it is the pipes you have to look at. But, if just one or a few do not work well, there is a pretty good possibility it is the plumbing fixtures themselves that are broken.
As an example, an aerator should reduce water volume coming from the faucet. It alters the water pressure. As time passes, aerators get filled with limestone and dirt. They can even rust. Usually, replacing the aerators or simply cleaning them is all that is needed to get water pressure back to normal.
At times, you can simply replace the plumbing fixtures altogether. In other cases, you can just fix them.
As always, when in doubt, contact a plumber to help you.