What Can I Do About Low Water Pressure?

Low water pressure is an annoyance. It can turn everyday chores like washing the dishes or showering into a frustrating task. Getting washing machines and toilet tanks to fill or using a hose to garden or wash the car becomes time consuming as needed water slows to a crawl.

On average, residential water pressure should be no less than 45 PSI and no higher than 60 PSI. A good way to gauge decent water pressure is to fill a five gallon bucket with water. It should take no longer than 40 seconds, unless your pressure’s outside normal range.

If you believe you have low water pressure, there may be leaks, debris, corrosion or mineral buildup in your pipes or a potential malfunction in your municipal water supply. These are serious issues and could require professional plumbing. For the record, here are some typical factors that can lead to low water pressure.

  • Water pressure that comes straight from the municipal line is going to be too high for residential systems. Many home systems have a pressure reducing valve. It’s usually installed somewhere near the water meter. If that valve is defective or maladjusted, it will reduce water pressure. There isn’t much you can do about it, so it’s time to call someone experienced in plumbing.
  • The main water line in your foundations or buried in the yard could be leaking. You usually don’t see the signs until the water breaks the surface and you have an expensive problem. Regular plumbing inspections can help avoid big problems.
  • Clogged fixtures are the most common reason for low water pressure. Whether or not you need a plumber can only be determined by where the problem is located. A single fixture like a faucet or shower could mean an aerator is obstructed by dirt, sand and other pollutants. In this case, something as simple as clearing the pipe or replacing a component can repair the issue.
  • If your main water shutoff valve was tampered with and not left fully open, water pressure will drop. If you know where your shutoff valve is, open it further and see if your pressure improves. If you find the valve hard to turn, call a plumber.
  • Gradual buildup of dissolved calcium carbonate creates deposits in pipes. When that becomes excessive, your water flow will decrease as the flow is obstructed. This typically means re-piping.

Plumbing is serious business. While we don’t take issue with taking a DIY approach to a problem, we want to make sure you know what you’re doing. At the very least, talk with someone that knows plumbing. We’ve seen too many small problems turn into big costly ones because someone found out they didn’t know what they were doing.

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