Have you noticed lately when you take a shower that the water pressure just isn’t what it used to be? What about when you spray your garden hose in the front yard? Low water pressure can be pretty annoying to deal with, but the good news is you have to constantly deal with those issues. Here are some of the reasons your water pressure may not be at the level that it used to be, and what you can do to correct those problems.
1. There are issues with your valves.
Among the possible causes behind why you are experiencing insufficient water pressure is with valves both in and outside of your home. There are usually two major shutoff valves controlling water to the household. The first is the water meter valve, located right next to the water meter in your home and monitored and normally handled by water company personnel. It’s possible that if work was done to your plumbing system recently, that valve was never fully opened, causing lower pressure. The water meter valve is fully open when the valve handle is parallel with the water pipe, so this should be the quick solution to boosting the flow of water.
The other main shutoff valve is the home’s shutoff. If this is a gate valve, indicated by a wheel-like handle seen above, make sure the handle is turned fully in the counterclockwise direction. If it’s a ball valve, indicated by a lever, it should run parallel to the pipe direction. As with the water meter valve, this main shutoff valve is sometimes left partially closed after repair and may just need a tweak to get rid of the trickle effect.
2. The plumbing is getting old.
The most serious reason behind low water pressure is older piping in an older house that has corroded to the point that water flow is restricted. This problem develops over decades in steel pipes, so the reduction of water flow is very gradual compared to other water pressure issues. The only solution for corroded pipes is to re-pipe your plumbing with new copper or plastic water supply piping. PEX tubing has emerged as the more popular option for ease of installation in recent years.
Beyond the plumbing problem, low water pressure can also be linked to a faulty pressure regulator. A pressure regulator is a control valve that reduces the input pressure in your plumbing system to a safe level to avoid damage. A failing regulator can cause a serious upward spike in water pressure. When the pressure regulator fails, you will notice the effect on all of the fixtures in your home, which can be spotted suddenly. A pressure gauge can assess whether the issue is rectified by replacing this part.
3. Too many fixtures and appliances are being used at once.
While you may immediately worried that the drop in water pressure is due to your plumbing or equipment, sometimes it’s just because your whole house is using water at once. The main water supply is being stretched too thin if you have one person in your home taking a shower, while the dishwasher and washing machine are running. This is the easiest fix of all. Try and restrict certain activities to a certain time of day.
With fewer appliances and fixtures relying on the main water supply line, the high water pressure should reappear in no time at all for an easy fix. Be sure to check near your home’s plumbing system for any leaks and cracks as well, as that could be leading to seepage and faulty fixtures. The fixes are there and, if all else fails, bring in a licensed plumber to assess your household’s water situation.