Low water pressure can be a real hassle to deal with; often, it is a quick fix, one which can be performed at home without the need for a trained professional, such as a plumber. Otherwise, it can be an expensive problem to deal with, which is why it is suggested that before a new home is rented or bought, the water pressure is checked in the kitchen and all available bathrooms.
The first thing to do is determine if the low water pressure is localized or widespread; if the pressure appears to be low in only one faucet it is likely a problem that is easily solved; if the pressure is low throughout the whole house, it is a good idea to check with neighbours to see if the problem is occurring outside the home. If it turns out to be a neighbourhood-wide issue, it could be the result of a few different issues, which we will discuss now.
If the pressure loss isn’t local to one faucet but throughout the whole house, it is important to place a call to your local water department. Their number can be found in a local directory or online. They will be able to inform you of any water or pressure issues that are occurring and when they will be resolved.
Occasionally, when work is being conducted on the local water pipes, the pressure valve can be left partially open rather than fully open. This is usually because it is best to let the water pressure return to recently repaired pipes slowly rather than allowing it to all rush back at once. This can lead to the main pressure valve for a row of houses being left only partially open, which then results in several houses left with low water pressure. If this is the case, a phone call to the local water department will resolve the issue; they will ensure that the pressure valve is opened fully, restoring full water pressure to your home.
If you find that neighbours are not having the same issues as you, there are a few things you can do to restore full water pressure before having to call out a professional to deal with the issue. First off, ensure that all of your shutoff valves are open; this is a very simple and quick fix, one which professional plumbers make a lot of money from, because people don’t think to check their shutoff valves before calling for help.
If all of the shutoff valves are open, it is time to consider draining the hot water tank; the loss of water pressure can be cause by a build-up of sediment, which can be resolved by draining the tank and allowing the sediment to clear.
If just one fixture in the home is affected, for example a shower head or sink faucet, one must consider the possibility that there is a flow restriction; this can be caused by a dislodged washer or simply a blockage in that one area. If this is the case, replacing the washer or soaking the faucet or shower head to remove residue can fix the problem quickly and easily.
If removing the residue doesn’t work, it is time to consider the possibility that there is a blockage in the pipe. There are few things that an unskilled individual can do to resolve this issue. If you suspect a pipe blockage, the best thing to do is hire a plumber to assess the situation; they will be able to advise you of the cost to repair the affected pipes.
In the case that there are no apparent blockages or general water failures, it is worth undertaking a pressure test. This can be performed by the city, if your home receives city water, or you can purchase a water pressure gauge from a home improvement store. The ideal water pressure should measure somewhere between 45 and 55 PSI, or Pressure per Square Inch. If the water pressure reads below this, it may be wise to consider installing a pressure booster. This will increase the water pressure in your home, but will require a professional plumber to install it, resulting in out-of-pocket expenses.