Have you noticed the water pressure in your shower or taps seem a little weak? If so, the water pressure in your home may be lower than it should be.
Low water pressure can affect many areas of your home. You might notice it taking longer to fill the bathtub or washing machine or that you’re not getting the pressure you need from your garden hose.
These pressure changes can be sudden or may happen over time. It may take a little investigating to find the cause, but there’s usually an easy solution.
Here’s how to improve low water pressure.
What Is Water Pressure?
Before you can check the water pressure and take steps to correct the issue, it’s important to know what the term actually means. Water pressure refers to the force the water has as it exits your taps.
This is not the same as water flow, which refers to how much water is passing through the pipes at any given time. Typically, water pressure is created by elevation or altitude.
Water distribution systems hold large tanks of water at a higher elevation than the homes they’re supplying. These systems use the power of gravity to increase water pressure as it leaves the tanks.
Most towns and cities have pressure stations and pumps in place to ensure the water pressure is at an acceptable level before reaching your home. Generally, water pressure for residential areas falls between 30 and 80 pounds per square inch (PSI).
The average pressure in most homes ranges from 40 to 60 PSI. If you need assistance checking the water pressure in your home, an experienced plumber can help.
Testing Water Pressure in Your Home
One easy way to check water pressure at home is with a water pressure gauge. You can find one online or at a hardware or home improvement store.
Before you check the pressure, make sure the taps and appliances that use water are turned off. Then, connect the gauge to the exterior hose bib or tap.
Turn the tap up all the way and read the gauge to see the water pressure. If you don’t have an exterior tap, you can disconnect the hose of your washing machine and connect the water pressure gauge to it.
Make sure all your water-using appliances are turned off. Turn the faucet on high to read your home’s pressure or PSI.
If the idea of checking water pressure or dealing with plumbing issues on your own seems a bit daunting, you can call a professional plumbing service to handle the job.
They can help you find the root of your water pressure issues and determine the best solution to the problem.
Clear the Clogs
A clogged pipe is one of the most common issues that leads to low or no water pressure. Pipes can become clogged due to a buildup of mineral deposits.
This is especially true if you have hard water where you live. Even a small clog can reduce the pressure of water running through the pipes.
Clogs usually build up over time. People notice when it affects their showers or the appliances that use water every day.
There are products and tools for clearing clogs on your own or you can call a plumber. They have the expertise and the right tools to locate clogs and determine whether it’s better to repair or replace the pipe.
Clean or Replace Corroded Pipes
Do you live in an older home where the plumbing is decades old? If so, your pipes are probably prone to corrosion. This is especially true if the pipes are galvanised steel.
This material is likely to corrode after 20 years of use. Brass pipes average 40 to 70 years before corroding, while copper pipes are good for 50 years or more.
If you installed extra plumbing fixtures after building or moving into your home, there’s a good chance you could have corroded pipes. The more plumbing fixtures in the home, the harder your pipes have to work, and the more likely they will corrode.
It’s important to address pipe corrosion. Failing to fix the problem can lead to cracked pipes, major leaks, and water damage in your home.
Swapping out old plumbing pipes reduces the risk of corrosives. Updated plumbing produces cleaner and better-tasting water, too.
Seal the Leaks
Another cause of low water pressure could be a leak in the pipes or in the water line. Small cracks or holes leak water into unintended areas before the water can reach the various taps in your home.
If your basement or foundation has flooded, it’s a strong sign of leaking pipes. You can look for leaks by turning off the taps for a couple of hours. Then, check the water metre reading.
An increase may indicate a leak. To see or access the plumbing, check for wet spots or pooling water. If you find a leaking pipe, there could be more.
You may not be able to reach these spots on your own, so it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a professional plumber at this point. They can check all your pipes for leaks and repair or replace damaged ones to restore adequate water pressure.
It’s important to address water leaks right away. Standing water can lead to mould or mildew growing in your home.
Replace or Repair Faulty Fixtures
If you notice a reduced flow of water in a few fixtures, you may want to check those for clogging or corrosion. Taps contain an aerator that reduces water volume without changing pressure levels.
Over time, aerators can become clogged with dirt, rust, and a build-up of calcium or magnesium. Faulty connections and seals can also affect water pressure.
You can replace the aerators or fixtures to improve water pressure issues. You can also treat your home’s water to avoid clogged faucets.
Water softeners help prevent clogged pipes. A professional plumber in your area should understand the local water quality and the best solutions to fix the problem and restore water pressure to your home.
Replace the Pressure Regulator
Do you have a pressure regulator in your house? It’s a valve that helps keep the water pressure entering your home at safe levels. A functioning regulator keeps the pressure constant and flowing at around 50 PSI.
High water pressure may damage your plumbing and lead to excess stress on your appliances that use water. When a pressure regulator fails, it can lead to an increase or decrease in pressure.
Sediment or debris in the value can cause a blockage. You can check the pressure regulator by attaching the pressure gauge to an outdoor spigot. If the pressure reads lower than the valve reported, the regulator may be faulty.
A plumbing expert can assess whether the pressure regulator is working for your home. It’s important to replace a failed regulator.
Instal a Booster Pump
Sometimes you may look everywhere to discover the cause of low water pressure but not find an answer. Talk to your neighbours to see if they’re having similar issues.
If other homeowners near you are experiencing water pressure problems, installing a booster pump may be a good solution. It can increase water pressure to the main supply line that runs to your home’s system.
An experienced pro in UK plumbing issues can help you install a booster and restore the water pressure to your house.
Check Your Well Pump
Some homes get their water from their city’s municipal supply. Others get their water from deep wells in the ground.
Your well could be the cause of your water pressure problems. There could also be an issue with the pump that supplies water to your home.
For example, certain well pumps aren’t compatible with deep water wells. Likewise, a pump that goes unserviced for long periods of time may be the issue.
If your home’s well can’t fulfil your family’s water needs, it may be time for a newer, more efficient well.
When the Hot Water Pressure Is Low
If you notice there’s an issue with the hot water pressure in your home, there are a few things you should check.
- The pipes running to and from your water heater may be corroded
- The valves that supply water aren’t fully opened
- There’s sediment buildup at the bottom of your water heater
There could be a problem with the expansion tank. However, this typically will increase water pressure.
How to Improve Low Water Pressure
If you notice the water pressure in your home is less than what it should be, there are a variety of possible problems and solutions. If you’re not a plumbing expert or don’t have the time to spare for DIY plumbing issues, call the pros instead.
At PM247, we know how to improve low water pressure in your home. Simply tell us the plumbing issue you’re having and we will take it from there.
For over 20 years, we’ve provided professional plumbing, drainage, roofing, heating, and electrical services to our customers. We would love to help you, too!
Call us on 0808 250 4203 or fill in the form here to get your low water pressure fixed by a skilled PM247 plumber (UK wide service).