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Tips for Troubleshooting Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure is generally described as annoying or irritable, but it can be a genuine roadblock in your day.
When going to take a shower, the soap becomes more difficult to rinse out of your hair. Similarly, trying to just rinse away the syrup on your breakfast plate simply won't work—at least, not without wasting water and time. Speaking of time, your washer might take longer than usual as well since it isn't filling quite like it used to.
While there are many potential causes for this annoying situation, there is just as much information on how to find identify and solve them.
Is It Only Happening to One Fixture?
If you find that the low pressure is only occurring in one fixture, that may actually be cause for celebration. In faucets, this is usually an indication of a clogged aerator. Simply unscrew the nozzle and look for any signs of build up.
Even if that does appear to be the case, be sure to turn on the faucet with the aerator removed to ensure that you have found the problem. If the pressure still appears to be low, it may instead be a clogged pipe.
How to Clean a Clogged Aerator or Nozzle
Soak the aerator in a vinegar-water solution. Should you still have trouble at that point, an inexpensive replacement will do the trick.
Showerheads may have a similar issue with a clogged nozzle. This can also be cleaned out with the same vinegar-water solution. If that does not clear up the problem, however, a new showerhead may be in order.
Is It Only When You Use Hot Water?
If you're experiencing low pressure exclusively when you run hot water, chances are it's a problem with your water heater. The first thing you should check is that the shut-off valve for the tank is fully open.
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If that doesn't appear to help, there may be sediment in your hot water tank that will require a flush. While you can clean out the tank with vinegar as well, you may also try reaching out to a local plumbing service to have it done professionally.
Are Leaky Pipes the Problem?
A leaking pipe can be the cause of low water pressure. To determine if this is your culprit, shut off the water taps both inside and outside your home and record the meter. Keep these off for a few hours, then check the meter once more.
When to Contact Your Plumber
If the water usage has changed, you will most likely need to reach out to a plumber for the leak. Clogged pipes—either from debris, minerals or built-up corrosion—may also require professional assistance.
If you have recently moved into your home, check to see if a water-pressure-reducing valve was previously installed to limit the force of water coming from the municipal supply line. A plumber can adjust the setting on this to allow for a higher flow rate.
Pressure Is Sometimes Out of Our Hands
Especially if you are new to your home, don't hesitate to reach out to your neighbors and ask if they have the same problem. City pipes are just as susceptible to leaks, buildups and similar problems, so if your neighbors are experiencing similar problems, you might want to try reaching out to your local water supply.
Even still, it is possible that your city may just be delivering water at low pressure (40 psi or lower). It might also be noted that slightly more energy is required to move uphill, so where you are located and even your location in the building can play a small part in the water pressure.
What About Water Pressure Boosters?
If outside circumstances are out of your control, it is still possible to do something about low water pressure. Water pressure boosters—which work by increasing the pressure of the water on its way from the main water line to your kitchen and bathroom fixtures—can be installed. Unfortunately, these can cost $800 or more before any installation fees.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 Ashley Doyle