Many things in your home use water, and if your water pressure isn’t working correctly, it can cause problems for you. This guide will tell you what low water pressure looks like, what can cause it, and why it is a big deal.

What Does Low Water Pressure Look Like?

Low water pressure can take a few different forms.

  1. It can take a long time to fill up a vessel or bathtub.
  2. The spray from your shower head may not be as powerful as expected.
  3. Your dishwasher might take a lot longer to finish a cycle.
  4. Your toilet may not flush correctly.

It can usually be fixed quickly if you are just experiencing it in one area, for instance, a plugged aerator screen. However, if it is happening across your home, you will likely need a plumber to come in and assess the issue.

What Can Cause Low Water Pressure?

There are many things that can cause low water pressure. Depending on the issue, you might be able to resolve it yourself, but it’s generally best to bring in a plumber to ensure everything is done correctly.

Debris Buildup in Your Pipes

If there is debris such as sand or dirt in your pipes, it can make it difficult for water to get through. This results in low water pressure. Over time, minerals can also build up in your pipes, making it harder for water to move through. In some cases, the culprit might be multiple hidden screens inside your faucet that are difficult to find and clean.

Water Meter Valve Is Partially Closed

If you recently had work done on your home, the workers may have left your water meter valve partially closed. You can usually find this valve in an underground box between the house and the street. You want to look at the valve and ensure it is parallel with the water pipe. If it isn’t, then it is partially closed, and we recommend that you call HomeWise Plumbing. Generally it takes a special wrench to adjust these valves.

Main House Shutoff Valve is Partially Closed

Your shutoff valve controls how much water comes into your home. If it is partially closed, then you will only have partial water pressure. Take a look at the valve to ensure it is fully open. Here’s how to do that based on the type of valve.

  • Lever type valve: Make sure the handle is in-line with the pipe.
  • Wheel type valve: Start by turning the wheel counter clockwise until it is tight. Next, turn it clockwise one-quarter turn. Note that this style of valve is far more susceptible to failure or being clogged.

Corrosion in Your Pipes

If your home has old, galvanized steel pipes, corrosion can become a big problem. Over time, corrosion causes oxidation, which collects within the walls of your pipes. Much like mineral growth, this makes it challenging for water to make its way through. Eventually, this corrosion will rot out the walls of your pipes and water will escape.

Your Pressure Regulator Is Broken

Your home likely has a pressure regulator that controls the pressure in your plumbing so that the pipes are not damaged. If the pressure regulator is damaged, it can cause huge spikes in water pressure or reductions in water pressure. If the regulator breaks, you will notice a sudden effect on the water pressure across your home. You will want to contact HomeWise Plumbing to come out to replace it.

If you believe this might be your issue, you can test your water pressure using a water pressure gauge. Attach it to the outdoor hose spigot closest to the water main or pressure regulator. Normal water pressure is between 46 and 80 PSI. If your pressure is low, there is a good chance it’s your pressure regulator.

Leaks in Your Plumbing System

If your pipes are leaking water, it will cause your water pressure to be lower. This is because, for every leak in your pipes, water is escaping and not reaching its destination. This means that whatever you are trying to use water for doesn’t have as much access to water as it usually does. Note that a running toilet can mimic a water leak.

Too Much Demand on Water

If you have a lot of fixtures in your homes that use water, you can end up with lower water pressure if too many of them are being used at once. Pipes can only carry so much volume, so if multiple items are trying to pull water, it will be shared between all of them. This means that these fixtures will likely end up with low water pressure. It might be best to set your dishwasher, laundry, and irrigation to not all run at once.

Issues With the Water Supplier

It is also possible that your water supplier may be having issues on their end with water pressure. If you are experiencing low water pressure and can’t figure out the cause, check with some neighbours to see if they also have lower water pressure. If they are, you can contact the water supplier to see when they will fix it.

Why You Should Be Concerned About Low Water Pressure

If your home is suffering from chronic low water pressure, it can cause a lot of stress for you. It will likely take longer to do simple tasks like taking a shower, doing laundry, or washing the dishes. In addition, if certain appliances aren’t getting the water they need, it could potentially lead to damage due to the pipe and fixture not being properly flushed. Also, depending on what is causing your low water pressure, ignoring the issue could lead to further plumbing problems down the road. For instance, if your pipes are corroding and aren’t taken care of before they start developing holes, you’re going to end up without water while the pipes are fixed.

Get Your Water Pressure Looked at By a Professional

Low water pressure can be an extremely frustrating thing to deal with, but it doesn’t have to be. If you notice low water pressure in your home, book a HomeWise plumber to come out to address the issue. You will have the problem fixed in no time and be rest assured that additional problems will not occur.