Maintaining proper water pressure in a home is important for optimal distribution in all fixtures and appliances. The normal water pressure lies between 40 and 60 PSI. While high water pressure can increase wear and tear and can lead to pipe damage, low water pressure reduces the water flow in the faucets, shower, or bath.
Leakages at the elbows and joints are the main culprits, and it’s critical to identify the source of the problem. Undertaking comprehensive checkups of all the pipes, elbows, and shut-off valves can help to diagnose the problem.
The following are nine reasons why you might experience low water pressure levels in your house.
1. Problems With the Municipal Supplier
If the water pressure drops suddenly, chances are that the water is coming to your home at low pressure. Before you call a plumber, check whether your neighbors are experiencing the same problems.
If the municipal water supply line has leakages, lots of homes in your neighborhood will experience low-pressure levels.
Asking around before you tamper with the plumbing will save you a lot of time, money, and effort. The municipality is responsible for fixing problems in the water supply line and ensuring constant supply to all households. Despite the inconvenience, you have to wait until the problem is addressed.
2. Your Pipes Are Clogged
If you have ascertained that the main supply line is perfect, then the problem lies within your plumbing fixtures. Mineral deposits such as limestone, rust, and sediment can clog the pipes and curtail the free flow of water.
You need to test one fixture at a time and identify the pipe that has low water pressure.
Hot water, vinegar, and baking soda will loosen and dislodge the clog. If the combination of vinegar and baking soda does not unclog the pipe, the best solution is to replace it if you want to solve the problem once and for all. Shut off the water supply before you begin replacing the pipe.
3. The Shutoff Valves Are Faulty
Your home has two main shut-off valves that regulate the water flow in your home; one is at the meter, and another is in your house and feeds the appliances. Turning any of these valves fully will shut off the supply. Turning them partially will reduce the pressure. If the shut-off valves are beginning to age, you will experience erratic water pressures (both high and low).
Sometimes the valve won’t shut off. You will also hear hammering noises in the walls and find leaks in the flower beds near your house. Corrosion and mineral deposits can make it difficult to turn it off by hand or even with a pair of pliers.
Rubber seals also deteriorate and fail to stop the water flow. Remove the handle from the stem, and loosen the nut. Then replace the old washer or rubber seal, and install a new one. Reinstall the nut, and tighten it lightly with a wrench.
4. Faulty Pressure Regulator
The municipality supplies water at exceedingly high pressure that can reach 80 PSI. Pressure reducing valves (PRVs) help to reduce the pressure within the normal range to prevent pipe bursts. If these regulators are damaged, pressure levels will begin to spike randomly.
A leaking pressure regulator can also cause your home to flood, so it’s vital to inspect your plumbing when such problems occur.
Like any other part of your home’s plumbing system, the PRV can wear out over time due to mineral deposits or corrosion and can cause some serious issues. You can either unclog a blocked PRV or replace it, depending on the level of damage. If the problem is persistent, consider installing an expansion tank to absorb the extra pressure.
5. Your Pipes Have an Airlock
Airlock occurs when pockets of air prevent the water from flowing normally. The airlock causes your plumbing system to fail, and water won’t reach the faucets until you fix the situation.
You have an airlock problem if:
- The water starts to bubble or sputter once you open the pipe
- The cold water is flowing smoothly, but the hot water is running sporadically
Since the problem occurs in the hot water system, use cold water to even the bubbles out. Connect the cold water system to the hot water system with a hose. Turn on the hot water and then the cold water for about three minutes to get rid of the airlock. To prevent the problem from recurring, call a plumber to identify and to repair the broken seals in the system.
6. You Have a Leaky Pipe
If the basement is flooded, one of your pipes is leaking. Any leak in the system will reduce the water pressure significantly. The solution is to identify the pipe that trickles and to fix it with pipe tape. However, this is just a temporary solution since it’s not completely waterproof.
Leakages can cause flooding in the basement, and soon you will have to deal with mold issues. You need to apply epoxy to the affected parts to create a seal over the leak. Alternatively, you can use wraps and clamps to seal the pipe until you get it replaced.
PVC pipes are easy to repair by wrapping the burst pipe with tape around the leak. This silicone tape is self-fusing, and it bonds to itself whenever you wrap it around the damaged pipe. It prevents the problem by forming a permanent bond over the leak.
7. The Faucets Are Clogged
As water flows from one fixture to another, it can lose a significant amount of pressure if the flow is obstructed. Over time, rust and mineral deposits can affect several fixtures, such as taps and faucets.
Start by identifying the point where pressure is lost in the supply line. Turn off the water supply, and remove the fixture. Use pliers to disassemble the aerator.
Soak the various components in vinegar overnight. Scrub away the gunk with an old toothbrush. If the faucet is beyond repair, order a new one, and replace it.
8. Your System Has Too Much Friction Loss
As water flows through the pipes, it loses a significant amount of pressure due to friction. The amount of friction loss depends on the length of the pipes and the plumbing design. Although water is less viscous compared to other fluids, it still loses pressure to compensate for the frictional resistance.
Choose smooth PVC pipes to reduce the interior roughness of your piping system. Increase the diameter by installing wider pipes. If you cannot reduce the length of your pipes, minimize the elbows, valves, and tees that obstruct the flow. Alternatively, remove all 90-degree turns and replace them with gentle bends.
9. You Are on a Shared Line
If the supply line distributes water to several houses, the pressure will be lost once your neighbor washes the car. The problem can escalate when people use water almost simultaneously, like when more than one person takes a shower in the morning. In the end, you might have to call a plumber to install your mainline.
If you have no meter, you are definitely on a shared line. Switch off your water supply, and check the adjoining properties to see how many neighbors are affected. It means that you also share the bills and that you may be paying for more (or less) water than you normally use. Request the municipality to install a mainline specifically for your property at your cost.
Contact the Professionals
Low water pressure can result from an array of problems that require different solutions. A simple plumbing mistake can wreak havoc in various parts of your house. If you are not used to tinkering with pipes, call a competent plumber once you experience low water pressure in your home.
At Complete Comfort we offer various plumbing services such as pipe replacement and installation, plumbing repair and maintenance, and sewer services. Regular maintenance will help you keep your home systems working properly throughout their lifecycles. If you’re experiencing low water pressure, contact the experts at Complete Comfort in Greenwood, and they’ll inspect and fix the issue. We look forward to serving your heating, AC, and plumbing needs.