Remedying the problem of low water pressure

July 12, 2016

It's easy to assume the next time you turn on the tap water will come gushing out – as it always has. What happens if it doesn't? Low water pressure could be the problem. Here's some advice to help identify the source of the problem and look for a fix.

Remedying the problem of low water pressure

Time: 15 minutes – 2 hours depending on task
Frequency: As required
Difficulty: Easy
Tools: Basic plumbing tools

You may not realize how important steady water pressure is to your home until it’s gone. Low water pressure can affect everyday household chores and cause a lot of frustration: for example, low water pressure makes it harder to clean dishes or wash your clothes, often leading homeowners to run multiple cycles. If you’re taking a shower, you may find yourself spending more time trying to rinse away the soap suds or shampoo.

The net effect is water and time are being wasted and you may be facing higher water bills. But don’t worry! Some low-water pressure issues can be easily remedied with a few simple steps. Check out our guide below.

Step 1: Find the source of the low water pressure

First of all, figure out where the low water pressure is located. It’s good to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there low water pressure coming from a single fixture like the kitchen faucet or showerhead?
  • Is low water pressure an issue throughout the entire house?
  • Are the neighbours facing the same low-water pressure problems?

Good to know!
Finding where the low-water pressure problem originates can help you fix it. If you find that your neighbours have the same problems as you, this could mean there’s a much bigger issue that requires getting in contact with your water supplier or municipality.

Step 2: Check the condition of your pipes

Low-water pressure issues that are centred around one type of fixture, like your kitchen or bathroom sink, may mean there is a problem with that fixture's pipes. It’s important to check the condition of your pipes if you have low water pressure. Here are some things to consider:

  • Check pipes for rust or corrosion, as this can lead to blockages. These pipes will need to be replaced. You can either choose to replace the pipes yourself or call a plumber.
  • See if your old pipes are up to code. For many older homes, pipes are simply outdated and need to be upgraded.
  • If you don’t wish to upgrade your old pipes just yet, consider purchasing a pipe reduction device that can help increase water pressure. These can be found at local hardware stores where plumbing parts are sold. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install it.

Step 3: Examine the shut-off valve and pressure-reducing valve

If you find that you have low-water pressure issues throughout the house, it may be a good idea to examine the shut-off valve and pressure-reducing valve. Here’s how:

  • Locate your water meter. The shut-off valve will be located next to it (some water meters may even have two valves situated on each side). Make sure that the shut-off valve or valves are entirely open by turning them as far as they can go counter-clockwise.
  • Find the pressure-reducing valve. To find it, locate where your water pipe line enters your house. The pressure-reducing valve should be on the water pipe line here. You will want to check to see if this valve is broken. If it appears to be in good shape, try adjusting it and see if that affects your house’s water pressure.

Step 4: Unclog faucets or replace shower heads

If you have narrowed down your low-water pressure issue to just one sink or shower, then a clog or malfunctioning fixture may be your culprit. To remedy these situations:

  • See if the strainer on your sink faucet has become clogged. Use a pair of pliers to remove the aerator, which is found at the opening of the faucet, and clean out any dirt or grime you find inside. Then simply reinstall the aerator and turn on the water to check the pressure.
  • Mineral buildup may cause your shower head to have low water pressure. Try cleaning off the buildup on your shower head to see if that helps. If not, consider replacing the shower head with a newer model. Low pressure shower heads are available to help increase the velocity of your water if the pressure is low.

Step 5: Seek professional advice

If you have gone through the steps above and still can’t find a way to fix your water pressure issue, it may be time to call a professional plumber. A professional plumber will be able to diagnose the problem more thoroughly and offer a few ways to fix it like:

  • Install a water pressure booster. This apparatus takes the water coming in to your home from outside and increases its pressure through an electric pump and pressure tank. You can use the dial on top to adjust the pressure (45 to 55 PSI is the ideal pressure setting).
  • Replace your non-return valve or check the valve. A non-return valve lets water flow in one direction and prevents back flow. Installing a non-return valve is complicated, so it’s best to leave this task for a professional.

Fixing low water pressure can help save you money on your monthly water bill. With steady water pressure, you won’t have to work overtime on the many chores that require water.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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