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Understanding Low Water Pressure: Causes and Solutions

Understanding Low Water Pressure: Causes and Solutions

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Understanding Low Water Pressure in Your Home: Causes and Solutions

From slow dishwasher and washing machine cycles to steamy showers that are suddenly reduced to a cold trickle, low water pressure can be disruptive, inconvenient, and, dare we say it, infuriating. But what causes low water pressure in the home, and how do you fix it? We’ll give you insights into possible causes and solutions.

Understanding Water Pressure

Optimal water pressure in your home is essential—not only for your comfort and convenience but also for the health of your plumbing system. Too little pressure makes washing dishes, clothes, and showering difficult, uncomfortable, and time-consuming.

Too much water pressure can stress pipes, valves, fixtures, and appliances, leading to leaks, ruptures, and premature wear and tear. To avoid these issues, water should flow from the main line and into your home with a pressurized force between 40 and 80 pounds per square inch (psi). Ideally, that pressure should be around 50 psi.

Testing Your Water Pressure

One of the simplest ways to test your water pressure is to use a standard pressure gauge, which you can purchase at any hardware store.

Locate the cold water supply faucet connected to your washing machine. Disconnect the machine from the tap, screw on the pressure gauge, and turn the faucet fully on. If the pressure is below 40 psi, your water pressure is too low. If it is above 80 psi, it is too high.

A more straightforward way to diagnose water pressure issues is to run a hot shower and flush the toilet. If water pressure drops after flushing, you likely have a low water pressure issue in your home.

Low Water Pressure: Causes & Solutions

A variety of issues can cause low water pressure, but here are the most common culprits:

Galvanized Pipes

Galvanized pipes, commonly installed in homes built before the 1960s, are made of steel and coated with a layer of zinc to prevent corrosion. Unfortunately, as the zinc coating deteriorates over time, the exposed steel begins to rust, causing the interior of the pipes to become rough and uneven thus restricting water flow.

Solution: While we generally recommend replacing galvanized pipes with PEX or copper pipes, we realize that complete replacement may be cost-prohibitive for some clients.

In such cases, we may be able to simply do a localized repair, replacing a section of corroded piping. When the pipes are not severely corroded, our plumbing pros may suggest an epoxy pipe lining treatment. Using this process, we remove scale and corrosion inside the pipes, then coat the interior of the pipes with an epoxy resin to create a protective barrier that prevents further corrosion.

Inadequate Pipe Sizes

Despite having good intentions, many DIYers lack the necessary experience to tackle typical plumbing jobs. Because of this, they often run too many fixtures off small pipes, restricting water flow.

Solution: Our plumbers typically begin by examining the exposed piping in your home for:

  • Visible reduction in pipe size (downstream from fixtures)
  • Multiple connections or branches coming off a small pipe
  • Signs of stress or wear on the pipes due to high water pressure

Every situation is unique. However, suppose we determine that your home has inadequate piping. In that case, we may suggest retrofitting with larger pipes, running a dedicated supply line to high-demand fixtures, or possibly upgrading the main water supply line.

Leaks

Leaking pipes don’t just divert water from the intended destination and reduce pressure; they can also damage your home and cause mold and structural damage.

Solution: Hidden leaks can be elusive. However, common signs to look for include damp spots on carpets or in the yard, musty odors in the home, inexplicable water bill spikes, mold or mildew, and discoloration on the walls or ceiling. Our team can help you identify hidden leaks and quickly address them.

Clogs

Over time, drains accumulate hair, food, grease, coffee grounds, and other debris, which can restrict water flow and reduce pressure.

Solution: If you’re hearing gurgling noises, experiencing slow drainage, high water bills, or seeing standing water in the shower, tub, or sink, do not use store-bought drain cleaners. These can damage your plumbing system and require more invasive repairs. Instead, contact our team and request a professional drain cleaning.

Street Valves

Water companies typically install a main shut-off valve near the property line to control the water supply to your home. Sometimes, the main shut-off valve may not be fully open after maintenance or repair. Other times, water companies may install a flow restrictor to limit water flow in areas prone to drought or to encourage prompt payment of overdue bills.

Solution: Call your local water municipality or a plumbing pro at Good Clean Plumbing. We can help you isolate the issue and, if necessary, work with the water utility company to find a favorable solution.

Low Water Pressure? We Have Highly-Effective Solutions

Don’t let low water pressure disrupt your life or leave you standing in cold showers!

With over 25 years of plumbing experience, we have the knowledge and expertise to address low-water pressure issues in your home. We will quickly diagnose the problem and offer a cost-effective solution that will restore your plumbing system to optimal performance in no time. Contact us today!

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