Low Water Pressure: Find the Source
Low water pressure in your home can be a problem that’s limited only to certain fixtures or it may affect the entire house. In most locales, home water pressure should range from 45 to 60 pounds per square inch. When it drops below that specification, you may not get enough water for proper bathing, you may experience acute drops in pressure when two people turn on different fixtures simultaneously and appliances like washing machines may take an extended time to fill. Here are some plumbing tips to isolate a low water pressure problem and in some cases resolve it yourself.
- If low pressure is limited to a specific fixture such as a faucet or shower head, clean out the aerator inside the fixture. The fine-mesh screen inside the aerator may have become clogged by mineral deposits. These can be dissolved by soaking the aerator screen in white vinegar.
- If the problem is limited to the shower and cleaning the aerator doesn’t help, evaluate your shower head. Older model low-flow shower heads were frequently ineffective at delivering proper pressure for showering. The design and technology of water conserving shower heads has greatly improved. Upgrading to a new low-flow shower head may provide better results.
- Systemic low pressure could be caused by the main water shutoff valve not being in the completely open position. If you know the location of the valve and how to rotate it, check to see if it can be opened further.
- A system-wide pressure decline may result from a hidden leak in a supply line. Turn off all valves and taps and observe the dials on the water meter. If any movement is noted, you have a leak somewhere. Call a plumbing professional.
- Many municipalities incorporate pressure regulators in residential water meters to keep water pressure at a specified level. If the pressure regulator is defective, however, it may reduce water pressure too much. A professional plumber can check the meter pressure and diagnose this problem.