Tips on fixing low water pressure problems

November 12, 2014

If you’ve noticed low water pressure problems in your home, you don’t always have to call the plumber. There are several common causes of low water pressure that you can troubleshoot and even repair on your own.

Tips on fixing low water pressure problems

Where’s the problem?

The first question to ask is, where is the low water pressure, in the entire house, or only with specific faucets?

Your pipes may be the issue

Old pipes can cause low water pressure problems for a number of reasons. For one, old homes often have pipes that are not up to code and are larger than they would be if modern plumbing were installed.

If your pipes are old, you don’t necessarily need to have them replaced, although that can be the ideal long-term solution. A more affordable solution is a pipe reduction apparatus, which narrows the flow of water and helps increase water pressure. You can buy this wherever plumbing parts are sold and install it yourself by following the manufacturer's instructions.

Check pipe condition

Old pipes can rust and corrode, and this can lead to a blockage. It’s possible to replace sections of corroded pipe yourself. Many tutorials are available on the web, and supplies are readily available at do-it-yourself stores. You can always call a plumber if you suspect corroded pipes and prefer that a professional handles the work.

Examine the pressure reducing valve and shut-off valve

The pressure reducing valve (PRV) is typically located on the water pipe line where the line comes into your house. Adjust it, and see if this impacts your home’s overall water pressure. If the valve is not working properly or has broken, you’ll need to replace it.

If your shut-off valve (located at the water meter) has been turned slightly, that can also reduce water pressure. Make sure it’s fully opened.

Clogs in faucets may be to blame

If your water pressure problem seems to be more localized, you’ll want to take a look at the faucets themselves. Sink and shower faucets have strainers that can become clogged. This clogging will affect water pressure. Remove the aerator (located at the opening of the faucet) with a pair of pliers, clean out any trapped gunk, and reinstall it.

If this doesn’t help, check to see if your entire faucet is the problem by unhooking the water lines from the faucet (turn off both the hot and cold water lines before you attempt this!). Then point the flexible hose lines you’ve detached into a bucket. Slowly turn the water back on. If the water pressure is fine here, you know your faucet is to blame. If this pressure is poor, however, the problem is in your pipes and may require a plumber’s help to isolate.

Note the time of day water pressure decreases

Morning and evening — when people in your household are getting ready for or winding down from the day — tend to be the times when the most water is used most. This may contribute to your low pressure problems. If that’s the case, reduce overlapping water usage and the problem should improve!

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