Home ownership is one of the most enjoyable things you’ll ever experience – and occasionally one of the most frustrating. When you own a home there are all kinds of things you may have to address, including plumbing issues. And chief among these is low water pressure.
Some homes may only occasionally experience low water pressure, but others battle it constantly. And if you find yourself yourself in that situation, we feel your frustration. With that in mind, let’s look at how to fix low water pressure issues without having to call a plumber. Some low water pressure concerns do require expert knowledge, but many can be fixed by simple adjustments that anyone can make.
Troubleshooting Low Water Pressure:
Make sure it’s just your home
If you live on a municipal water system, there could be a disruption due to a water main break/leak or repairs. So, if you experience low pressure, first check with your neighbors to make sure it is an isolated problem. If you have a reliable local news source, it is also worth checking in to see if there are any headlines that may have to do with water issues in your town/neighborhood. If you live on a well system, however…
Check your well pump
If your home is supplied by a well, the pump may be experiencing issues, which can cause low water pressure. Submersible and jet-style pumps need to be serviced. Submersible pumps should be checked (and possibly replaced) every 10 years and jet pumps every three years. So be sure to keep a track record of your well’s servicing handy.
Check your main water valve.
Again, this applies if you are on a municipal water line. If so, you will have a main valve located near your water meter – often near the street. This valve controls the water that comes into your house, and it can occasionally get turned off or perhaps not completely re-opened after maintenance or repairs. Note that some of these valves are older and may require a water valve “key” to manipulate. A water valve key looks like a big “T” and can be easily purchased online or at a hardware store. By ensuring that your neighbors have water pressure and that your main valve is all the way open, you will know that the water pressure issue is now something to do with the water lines in your home or on your property.
Check your home’s shutoff valve
There will be another valve, away from the street, that controls the water entering your home. This shutoff valve is usually found inside the home, near where the main supply line enters at the foundation. It may be outdoors or indoors, depending upon your home’s construction, and it may either be a gate valve (with a wheel-like handle) or a ball valve (with a lever-like handle). Either way, you need to ensure that these valves are completely open.
Test the actual pressure
If the above steps have not answered your question, proceed to this phase. With an easy-to-use water pressure test gauge and hose connection, you can test the pressure for yourself. To do so, purchase a test gauge at a hardware store, screw the device onto a hose faucet/outdoor spigot, and turn on the tap. Before you do so, make sure that there are no other taps or water-using devices (dishwasher, etc.) in current use. 60-75 psi is the pressure you’re looking for. Anything 50 or below is “low”, while anything 80 or above is too high. This information will let you know where you stand. Acquiring professional help at some point will also be valuable to the plumber.
Check your water pressure regulator
Not all homes have them, but many homes do have water pressure regulators or pressure-reducing valves. These apparatuses reduce the water pressure that comes into your plumbing system from the water supply (in case there is a sudden overload). These devices are designed to keep your pipes safe. If a regulator fails, you will see a noticeable difference in your home. If you are brave or experienced enough, you can try to replace this device on your own. To do so, be sure to purchase the exact same brand and size. And you will have to shut off the full supply into your home. If this makes you nervous – and there is no reason to try something that you do not have full confidence in – please call a professional plumber.
Check for leaks
If none of these options have corrected your problems, then it is time to start looking for leaks. This could mean that you have a damaged line somewhere in your home/on your property. A leaking pipe will most definitely affect water pressure.
When looking, make sure that all your indoor and outdoor faucets are “off.” Next, turn off your home’s water valve (the one next to/inside the home, rather than the one at the street). Check your water meter and note the number it shows.
Now leave the system alone for two hours and check the meter again to see if the number has increased. If so, you likely have a leak. At the same time, you should also be on the search for potential wet spots or drips. If you have galvanized steel pipes you should be particularly aware, as they corrode over time. Either way, proper replacement of busted or compromised pipes will likely require professional help.
Tackle clogged faucet heads
Faucet heads can often get gummed up by mineral deposits, especially if you have “hard” water. But you can address blockages at the source. For instance, many faucets have a screen that can simply be removed and washed out to restore full water flow. Simply unscrew them (they will be located on the mouth of the faucet) and rinse them. You can also utilize vinegar or chemicals available at hardware stores to cleanse the faucet or shower heads. Soak the heads in the chemicals or vinegar overnight, rinse them, and replace them to see if that increases water flow.
Add a water pressure booster
Sometimes you may have no choice but to either deal with occasional poor pressure or pay the money to have a water pressure booster installed in your home. The distance of your home from municipal pipes could be the main problem, and the only cure is a pressure booster pump. These cost between $200-400 not including installation fee, and they should be installed by a professional plumber. It’s not ideal, but it may be your only recourse.
If you do find yourself battling low water pressure issues without a simple solution in sight, know that the professionals at Conditioned Air Systems are here to help. That may seem unusual from a company that has built a four-decade reputation on supplying the best in HVAC – but it’s really not that different. In fact, beginning in 2022, Conditioned Air brought on board plumbing master John Payne, founder of Payne Plumbing, to lead and develop our plumbing division. His work and expertise allow us to offer the same full range of expertise, customer service, and flexibility that you have come to expect from Conditioned Air’s HVAC services.
Payne, a north Georgia native, grew up in the plumbing industry and obtained his unrestricted master plumbing license over 25 years ago. He founded Payne Plumbing shortly thereafter. Thanks to John’s guidance, we will happily tackle any job, no matter the size or situation. And you can expect our plumbers to:
- Arrive on time
- Install it or repair it right, the first time
- Give you a fixed price with no hidden surprises
- Be friendly and professional
Just like our HVAC services, we offer 24/7 and emergency plumbing services to attend to your every need.