Let’s face it, low water pressure can be annoying when you’re trying to take a shower. But, there are other more serious consequences and certain appliances don’t run efficiently with lower water pressures. There are a few possible causes of low water pressure and some may be out of your control. In this article, we will examine this topic in more detail to help you make informed decisions.
Check the Water Shut-Off Valve
The answer to a low water pressure problem may be deceptively simple. If you’ve had some recent plumbing work carried out in your home, it’s likely that the water shut-off valve was turned off. The last thing you need when working on plumbing pipes and fixtures is an incoming supply of water. When the work was completed, the shut-off valve may have been left in the closed or partially closed position. This will inhibit the flow of water and create an artificially low water pressure problem. This is easy to fix, if the shut-off valve is a lever that moves in a 90º arc simply turn it to place it in line with the connected water pipe. If you have a wheel handle, turn it counter-clockwise until it cannot turn any further and then back a quarter turn clockwise to prevent the valve from sticking.
Check the Water Pressure Regulator
If you have experienced high water pressure problems in the past, you may have a water pressure regulator installed in your plumbing system. If you’ve purchased a new home, you may not know that this fixture is installed and it’s worth checking it. This fixture is usually located at the main shut-off valve to lower the incoming water pressure. Very high water pressures above 50 psi can cause damage to the plumbing pipes and they consume large volumes of water. If the pressure regulator has failed, the water pressure will probably be too high for domestic use. But, if you have lower water pressure than normal this may mean that the pressure regulator is set too low. Adjusting the pressure regulator back up to around 50 psi should correct the problem. If you’re not sure about making this adjustment yourself, contact your local plumber and they will be happy to help.
Excessive Water Consumption
If you notice a drop in water pressure, take into account the other activities that may be taking place at the same time. If the shower water pressure is bad when the washing machine is running, maybe you’re consuming too much water at the same time. These types of problems can be solved with better scheduling and water conservation. Try to use appliances after everyone has taken their shower and you should notice that the water pressure improves.
Plumbing Pipe Problems
If you have hard water it creates scale that will accumulate on the inner walls of the plumbing pipes. This grows thicker over time and the diameter of the pipe will narrow. This will reduce the volume of water that flows through those pipes which lowers the water pressure. A local licensed and certified plumber can check the pipes and replace sections that may be clogged with scale.