How to fix low water pressure in a house

low-water-pressure

 

From washing dishes to taking a relaxing shower, consistent and reliable water pressure is an important part of daily home life. Consider how often you turn on a sink, flush a toilet or use water to clean. Every time you turn on a water faucet, your home should provide the perfect water pressure. When it doesn’t, it’s inconvenient and noticeable. 

If you notice that the dishwasher is taking longer to finish a cycle, your kitchen sink fills slowly, or your hose only offers a trickle, it’s time to look at your home’s water pressure. Low water pressure issues don’t usually begin all of a sudden but come on gradually. This can make the cause hard to diagnose.

Many common causes are easy fixes that do not require a professional. Still, call a plumbing professional or technician if you are nervous about working with your home’s water supply.

 

How to diagnose water pressure issues

A change in water pressure around your home isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Still, when it becomes persistent or makes using a bathroom sink or washing machine difficult, it becomes a major problem. There are several reasons you could suffer from water pressure issues. Narrowing down the cause of the low water pressure depends on if the problem is in a single fixture or the whole plumbing system.

Answer the following questions to diagnose the situation:

  • How many fixtures or faucets are having low water pressure problems? Test this by turning on every plumbing fixture in your home, from sinks to washing machines. This will help narrow down the problem to one area of the home, a singular faucet or the entire plumbing system.
  • Do the problems only occur when multiple plumbing fixtures are on at the same time? Run multiple sinks simultaneously, or turn on a shower and the dishwasher to see if the water pressure changes. This could show that there is a water-supply or water-valve issue.
  • Is there a water pressure difference between hot and cold water? Check both the hot-water and cold-water features on every fixture. If the hot-water pressure is too low, this could be a water heater problem.

 

What are common causes of low water pressure?

Review these common causes of low water pressure to diagnose your water pressure problems. A handy homeowner or DIY enthusiast can fix many of these problems, but some may need the assistance of a professional plumber. 

Closed water meter valve or main shut-off valve

A home usually has two water shut-off valves: the water meter valve and the main shut-off valve. These control the main water supply of your home. If either of these valves is closed, it will lower your water pressure. 

Locate the water meter valve next to your home’s water meter on the city water-supply pipe. If you live in a colder climate, it might be underground. Check the valve handle; if it is not parallel to the pipe, it is not fully open.

Your home’s main shut-off valve is near where the city water enters your house. If you have a round, wheel-like handle, be sure to turn it completely counterclockwise. If the valve is a handle, ensure it is parallel to the pipe. This will ensure your water flow is open.

Pressure regulator is faulty

Some homes have a pressure regulator or pressure-reducing valve to ensure the plumbing system remains at a safe level. If either of these is faulty or failing, your home can experience inconsistent water pressure. Homeowners can replace a pressure regulator depending on the brand and size. However, this home repair is better left to a plumber. 

Test your water pressure regulator using an outdoor faucet and a water pressure gauge.

  1. Attach the water pressure gauge to the spigot closest to the water main. 
  2. Turn on the water and let it run.
  3. A reading below 30 pounds per square inch is too low. Anything over 80 psi is too high.

Corroded pipes

If you have an older home, water pressure problems could stem from the pipes themselves. Steel water pipes corrode over time. This corrosion and mineral buildup create blockages that restrict water flow around your home. Because the corrosion occurs inside the pipes, you can’t see it from the outside. 

The only real solution for this plumbing problem is replacing your steel pipes with copper pipes. Repiping an entire home is a major repair project that requires professional plumbing services. 

Outdated fixtures

Sometimes, your fixtures can cause water pressure issues. Water faucets can develop a buildup of mineral deposits, such as rust, limestone or sediment, limiting the flow of water. This can also affect the quality of water from your sinks. The best way to test if your faucet is the cause of your water pressure problems is to turn each one on.

If the water coming from the faucet is slow, check the screen or aerator. If damaged or clogged, replace it for an easy fix. If the fixture is still slow, replace it with a new one. Take measurements to guarantee you have the right fixture size for your sink or the right shower head for your shower.

 

Other causes for low water pressure

Less common but equally problematic issues could be causing low water pressure throughout your home. While some of these issues are an easy DIY fix, others will need professional assistance or help from city water officials. 

  • Low water supply. If multiple water faucets are running at the same time throughout the home, there might be too much demand for water. This results in small changes in pressure throughout the home. The easiest solution for this problem is to coordinate so you don’t tax the water supply too much at one time.
  • Clogged pipes. Debris like grease, oil, sand, food and other objects can get into your pipes and clog the system. This keeps water from flowing freely. Simply use a pipe cleaner to remove any clogs. If this doesn’t work, call a professional plumber for assistance.
  • Leaky pipes. If pipes break or crack, water can leak and cause lower water pressure. Water leaks can damage other parts of the home, such as causing mold damage. If you suspect a leaky pipe, call a professional to find the leak and address any other damage.
  • City water problems. You might not be the only person experiencing water issues. If your low water pressure problems come on suddenly without explanation, ask your neighbor if they are experiencing similar issues. If so, call your local water company for assistance. 

 

Test your water pressure

If you feel that your water pressure is too low, you can easily test your pressure at home. Even if your water pressure seems normal, testing will let you know if there is a bit of wiggle room to increase it. All you need is a water pressure gauge.

  1. Attach the water pressure gauge to a faucet or spigot closest to the water main. It is best to use an outdoor faucet, if possible.
  2. Turn on the water and let it run.
  3. Take note of the reading. The ideal water pressure range is between 45 and 55 psi. However, it can go as high as 80 psi.

A reading lower than 40 psi is too low, while a reading higher than 80 is too high. If your reading is lower than 30, it is far too low for your home. 

 

Protect your plumbing system from costly repairs with Cinch

Don’t let plumbing issues sneak up on you. Protect your home’s systems with a Cinch Home Services Built-in Systems plan. This home protection plan covers plumbing, heating and electrical elements, to name a few. Cinch also offers an Appliances plan that covers dishwashers, washing machines and other important appliances. You can even combine the two with the Complete Home plan.

Get a quote today and join the nearly 1 million customers already served. Find the right home warranty plan to keep your house working optimally. 

 

Low water pressure in a home is a common issue. Learn what could be causing your low water pressure and how to fix the problem without a plumber.