Low Water Pressure? Troubleshooting Home Water Issues
One of the most common home water issues we hear about is low water pressure inside the house. Optimal water pressure is a moving target: about 60 pounds per square inch is the upper limit while less than 45 is considered too low. Anything in between is generally the residential norm. Dealing with home water issues like insufficient pressure usually requires the services of a qualified plumber to first accurately measure the pressure, then track down the source of the problem and suggest solutions. Here are some of the possible causes he’ll want to check.
- Shutoff valve not fully open. It may be as simple as a partially closed main water shutoff valve to your house. In fact, if you know the location of your water shutoff valve you can try and open it further to see if pressure rises. If it’s hard to turn, however, don’t force it. Leave it to a qualified plumber.
- Defective pressure regulator. A regulator installed next to your water meter or where the main water supply line enters the house adjusts municipal water pressure down to a safe level for household use. If the regulator is not properly adjusted — a DIY adjustment by another resident in the past may have lowered it too far — or if the regulator itself is defective, the unit may require adjustment or replacement by a plumber.
- Leaking main water line. In Cincinnati, the main water supply pipe to your house is about three feet underground to avoid freezing. A leaky pipe at that depth may not produce dramatic evidence on the surface but may allow enough water loss to reduce pressure inside the house. It’s also a source of mysteriously high water bills.
- Mineral deposits. Older homes with galvanized piping are especially vulnerable to accumulation of mineral deposits inside the pipes. Over time, these deposits constrict flow and reduce water pressure. An evaluation by a plumbing professional can assess the extent of mineral deposits and suggest re-piping alternatives.