What Can Cause Low Water Pressure?
From drinking water to showers and baths, water is essential to modern life. Still, when you open the valve and watch water flow from the faucet, most homeowners take the steady supply of water for granted. When water pressure drops, you quickly need to find the cause and repair your plumbing system.
Low water pressure is not only one of the most frustrating plumbing issues, but it can also be very difficult for homeowners to repair themselves. Your home’s water pressure can change gradually or suddenly lower within your home. Some causes of low water pressure will afflict one room in your house while other problems lead to poor water pressure throughout your entire home.
Your Home Service Hero at Redman Services offers some of the most common causes for lower water pressure; guides homeowners through some simple DIY troubleshooting; and explains when to call on our plumbers.
12 common causes of low water pressure
Debris buildup and mineral deposits can block pipes. Mineral buildup clogs pipes over time, so gradual water pressure loss is often associated with clogged pipes. Just like a gurgling sink clogged water pipes are best left to professional plumbing services.
When pipes corrode water may become discolored and you may notice lower water pressure. Plumbing systems include pipes located underground and concealed behind walls. Finding the corroded pipe can be difficult. A regular inspection by a licensed plumber often reveals corroded plumbing in more than one location.
If you notice low water pressure in one area of your home, the issue may be a leak. Older galvanized steel pipes have largely been replaced in plumbing decades ago. There are still corrosion issues with other metal pipes and may eventually lead to leaks. Water valves, faulty fixtures and high water pressure can cause leaky pipes. Weather and seasons impact pipes. Leaking pipes may be related to winter weather, as water expands when it freezes.
Plastic water pipes may leak and crack, but many of these water leaks are related to improper installation. When not joined properly, including improper use of solvents and over-tightening, leaking plastic pipes will cause lower water pressure and may lead to significant damage to your property.
Obstructed water supply lines
Weather and your own property can cause lower water pressure. Winter can be hard on supply lines to your home. Rain and snow can lead to shifts in soil. Tree roots can lead to a leaky pipe, broken water lines and obstruction.
Broken and malfunctioning fixtures
One of the most familiar causes of water flow issues is clogged aerators on faucets. Minerals deposits can be easily cleaned or, in extreme cases, aerators can be replaced. Leaking fixtures may be the cause of low water pressure throughout a home.
The ball valve within valves may buildup with mineral deposits, corrode or otherwise malfunction. These valves are typically found leading to every fixture. Ball valves are designed to allow water to flow through a hole in the center of the ball. When the valve is closed, water pressure to the fixture drops to zero. Buildup, corrosion and other failures within the valve may result in the valve being partially open impacting water pressure.
Failed pressure equipment
If normal water pressure in your home changes without a clear indoor cause, the issue may lie within water pressure regulator equipment.
Pressure must be regulated from the main water supply to your home. Input pressure from the water supply company may be too high or low for your residential plumbing. There are a number of systems for water pressure regulations.
For homes equipped with a pressure-reducing valve or a water pressure regulator, sudden changes in water pressure both too low or high are often the result of failure in this equipment.
A failure with a water pressure pump may also result in low pressure. A water pressure pump is basically a pressure booster for your home when the main city supply pipe pressure needs to be increased or well water systems need a boost.
Closed shutoff valve
The main shutoff valve may be closed for a number of reasons. When updating plumbing fixtures, repairing pipes or installing new equipment, the main shutoff valve closes the water supply throughout your home.
If the valve is not opened or partially closed, then low water pressure may be the symptom. Shutoff valves can also wear, corrode or become blocked.
Air trapped in a pipe can prevent the flow of water. There are numerous causes for air locks including changes in water level when a faucet is turned off. If you experience low water pressure or gurgling in the pipes, there may be air trapped in the pipe, creating an air lock.
Water main break
Issues outside of your home can create low water pressure issues like air locks. A water main break will impact all municipal water supply. If you notice low water pressure and cannot identify an issue within your home, then you should check with the water supplier for possible breaks near you.
A water main break may cause water levels to change throughout your home. This may be as simple as gurgling pipes that need to restore pressure but pressure regulator equipment, valves, and plumbing fixtures can be compromised by changes in water level and loss of pressure at the main water supply.
Water main shut off
A similar cause of low water pressure may occur when a water main is shut off for maintenance, cleaning, repair or replacement. Anytime water flow is suddenly turned off by the water company pipes, plumbing fixtures, valves and other components within your plumbing system may be strained with pressure being restored.
Improper plumbing system design
If plumbing has not been installed by a professional plumber, there can be persistent issues with water pressure. Plumbing problems are often the result of DIY projects or handyman repairs. If your home’s water pressure is problematic and you have recently remodeled or installed new fixtures, call on professional services.
While a homeowner will not replace a broken pressure regulator, there are some fixes homeowners may attempt for low water pressure. The most common issues homeowners resolve are leaky pipes, fixtures, obstructed water supply lines, closed valves and air locks.
Gurgling in your pipes and air locks may be remedied by bleeding the air by opening the faucet and allowing the water to flow until the air is released.
If you notice leaks or drips, turning off the water supply valve may be a temporary solution to restore low water pressure. If you find the valve for the water pipe or fixture that is leaking, turn the valve counterclockwise to turn off the supply.
If you or a contractor have recently turned off the water supply, you can open the shut-off valves by turning them clockwise.
Leaky pipes and fixtures
If you are experiencing leaks from a pipe or plumbing fixture, you can try using plumbers tape and tightening clamps. Some homeowners feel comfortable replacing a leaking shower head or dripping faucets. Any issues within pipes should be addressed by a professional plumber.
Obstructed water supply lines
Cleaning and replacing aerators on faucets is a practical DIY project but bleeding lines, clearing obstructions and other supply line repairs can quickly escalate from lower water pressure issues to a plumbing emergency.
Trying to clear obstructions may damage healthy pipes or create further clogs in corroded plumbing and malfunctioning valves. Building a relationship with a professional plumber is the best way to repair and maintain your residential plumbing system.
When to Call a Plumber
Residential water pressure is best left to professional plumbers. While replacing an old clamp, cleaning an aerator and opening a valve are simple, your plumbing system is rather complex. Malfunctions, improper installations and poor design can each cause low water pressure. When you hire a professional plumber to inspect your home and diagnose plumbing problems, every component is considered. This includes hidden interior pipe walls, underground pipes, valves, and pressure regulators.
Your Home Service Hero knows the intricacies of plumbing from your water meter valve to every faucet. Redman Services is capable of all testing and repairs you may need. We do not simply offer a quick repair for your low water pressure causes. As a comprehensive plumbing and HVAC company, Redman Services is your one call solution for all your home service needs.
Attempting to fix certain issues can be dangerous and cause severe damage to your property. If you are unsure about how to proceed or if the problem persists after attempting a DIY fix, you can count on your Home Service Hero.