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Fixing Low Water Pressure: A Comprehensive Guide

  • Alma 
A man in the shower with Low water pressure

Low water flow can be pretty annoying, especially when looking forward to a soothing shower or trying to fill up a pot in the kitchen. Don’t worry! There are ways to fix this plumbing issue. In this piece, we’ll delve into why water pressure might be low and offer tips to get that steady stream flowing smoothly again.

The water pressure in your home is typically between 40 and 70 psi (pound per square inch). Pressure lower than 40 psi will not meet your needs, while pressure exceeding 80 psi can result in a premature plumbing system and appliance failure, faucet leaks, and noisy pipes.

Table of Contents

Understanding the causes

Identifying the cause of low water pressure is like solving a plumbing mystery. To start, think about the big picture. Is the flow affecting all areas of your home? Or is it only specific areas or faucets in your home?

If this is a homewide problem, it might be worth checking with your neighbors to see if they’re facing similar issues. If this is a neighborhood issue, it could indicate a problem with the water line serving your area. This would prompt you to contact the water company for investigation.

If the low pressure appears to be isolated, focus on your residence. Determine if the issue is only certain areas of your home or if it’s only certain faucets. This will help determine the cause. 

Faucet Aerator

You’ll find a small aerator at the end of your faucet; this fine mesh screen controls the water flow and creates a bubbly, aerated stream of water. However, as time goes by, it can get blocked with mineral deposits and dirt, which decreases water pressure. Luckily, cleaning with an aerator is an easy do-it-yourself task. Start by unscrewing the aerator in a counter-clockwise direction (remember: lefty loosey!). Inside, you may discover a buildup of minerals and debris. Soak the aerator in a mixture of vinegar and water for at least an hour to dissolve these deposits. A gentle scrub using a toothbrush can help remove any particles. Once it’s clean, reattach the aerator to enjoy the water flow. If the aerator remains clogged or damaged beyond repair, replacing it is a quick fix.

Water Pressure Regulator (WPR)

The water pressure regulator, known as the WPR, can be found at the point where the municipal water supply enters your home. Its main role is to maintain a level of pressure that’s suitable for your home’s pipes and appliances. Imbalanced water pressure, whether too low or too high can lead to a range of problems. Fortunately the WPR is adjustable; however it is essential to seek guidance from a plumber to properly calibrate its settings to ensure a healthy water flow throughout your household.

Adjusting the Water Pressure Regulator

WARNING: Setting the Water Pressure Regulator too high can damage your whole plumbing system, possibly leading to burst pipes and damage to appliances, which would result in a very costly repair. As a plumber, there are a lot of tutorials I’ll recommend as a DIY project; this, however, is not one I’d recommend unless you fully understand what you’re doing. Instead, hire an experienced plumber who possesses the knowledge and tools to accurately measure your water pressure and make any necessary calibrations. A licensed plumber can also ensure that the WPR itself is functioning correctly.

However, if you desire some basic knowledge, here’s a simplified overview: the WPR is typically located near the main water supply entrance of your house, identifiable by a brass cylinder with a screw cap and pressure gauge.

Water Main

Begin by identifying the main line’s entry point, typically in the basement, crawlspace, garage, or close to the water heater. Trace the pipe from the meter to pinpoint this starting point. Once you’ve located it, be on the lookout for any signs of leakage. The presence of water around the entry point, moisture on the foundation wall, or unusual readings on the water meter might suggest a concealed leak. Inspect for any harm to the pipe itself, like cracks, loose fittings, or indications of rusting. Even a minor leak in the line can impact your water pressure and may lead to more severe issues.

Neighborhood Investigation

Talk to your neighbors about any differences they may have been experiencing in water pressure. The issue might be affecting everyone in the neighborhood. It could be related to the water line that supplies your area or maintenance work being carried out by the water company. Knowing the issue is community-wide, contact your water provider to report the problem and ask if any maintenance activities impact the pressure. By joining forces with your neighbors, you can help identify a community issue, and reporting the problem will help you get a resolution.

Leaking Pipes

Another culprit is leaking pipes. Even small leaks can impact the water pressure in your home. Think of it like a garden hose with a hole—the pressure drops significantly before it reaches the end. Leaks can pop up anywhere in your plumbing system, hidden behind walls, under floors, or buried outside. Keep an eye out for wet patches on walls, ceilings, or near the base of your home. Listen for hissing or dripping noises incredibly close to pipes. If you notice higher-than-normal water bills, that could also indicate a leak. If you suspect a leak, don’t hesitate to call a plumber for an assessment. Taking care of leaks promptly will prevent other issues, such as mold or structural damage, from occurring. Also helps prevent potential water damage and mold growth in your living space.

Water Pressure Booster

When your shower and faucets trickle instead of flow, adding a water pressure booster to your plumbing system can improve the situation. This device is a pump that presses the water entering your home’s pipes. A water pressure booster pump gives the water entering your home an extra push, increasing the flow of faucets, showers, and appliances.

Water pressure boosters are available in multiple sizes, so you’ll want to choose one based on the number of fixtures and the severity of the low-pressure problem. The installation process typically includes connecting the booster to the main water line. Anytime the main water line is involved, it’s advised to contact a plumber for this type of installation. However, only get a water pressure booster if the plumbing system has been fully investigated for things like leaky or clogged pipes and dirty aerators. Your plumbing system will be much better off first fixing the root cause of low water pressure. Furthermore, If your water pressure already falls within the range ( 40-70 psi), adding a booster could lead to excessive pressure, potentially causing stress on pipes and leaks.

To sum up, addressing water pressure involves a bit of investigation. Consider solutions, like clearing aerators or checking the pressure regulator for any issues. If the problem continues, inspect for leaks. Talk to your neighbors to see if it’s affecting everyone in the area. Call a licensed plumber to check and adjust the water pressure regulator. If low water flow persists, consider using a water pressure booster pump as a solution tailored to your needs. By identifying the root cause and exploring all remedies you can ensure that your household maintains a steady and healthy water flow.

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Alma Bradshaw

About The Author

Hello, My name is Alma Bradshaw. I'm a licensed plumber with over 20 years of experience in the industry. It's important to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest plumbing techniques, innovations, codes, and regulations. Learn more about plumbing here and feel free to comment below with any questions.

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1562 Evans St, Lehi, UT 84043

Sunset Plumbing

776 N 470 E Genola, UT 84655

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