Why Is My Water Pressure So Low?

Water pressure problems can manifest in a variety of different ways – and all of them are frustrating. Whether your faucet is taking forever to fill your bathtub, or your shower head simply isn’t providing you with a powerful enough spray, in a time-sensitive world these issues can cause real problems – especially when multiple household members are trying to get ready for the day ahead.

Water pressure can also cause issues with washing machines and dishwashers. The cycle times of these devices can be significantly increased when pressure is low. However, before diagnosing your water pressure issues, you should consider whether it’s just one appliance or fixture that is suffering from substandard pressure. If this is the case, you should be able to remedy the issue by focusing on the pipes serving the appliance, or the appliance/fixture itself.

If multiple devices are affected by low water pressure, here are some things you may wish to consider:

Is the water meter valve open?

Most homes have two shut-off valves which control the flow of water. One of these is the water meter valve, which is located next to your water meter. This valve technically belongs to the utility company that supplies your water. However, if your water pressure is low and you’ve recently had work done on your home, it could be the case that this valve has been closed slightly.

Your water meter valve will be fully open when the valve handle is parallel with the water pipe. If it is set at an angle to the pipe, it is not fully open. Before opening it, you should always check with your utility company that you have permission to do so.

Is the shutoff valve open?

The other valve which controls water flow to the home is the main shutoff valve. This is typically found in the house, where your city’s water supply enters the home. If your shutoff valve has a wheel-like handle, try turning it fully in a counter-clockwise direction to open it. If it has a ball valve, it can be fully opened by setting the handle parallel to the direction of the pipe.

Do you have old steel pipes?

The most serious reason for low water pressure occurs when old pipes, manufactured from galvanized steel, become corroded. This internal corrosion significantly restricts the flow of water. It generally happens gradually, over the course of years or even decades: therefore, the reduction in water pressure is very slight. The only way to rectify this issue is to refit your home with copper or plastic pipes.

Is your pressure regulator working?

A pressure regulator is a valve designed to reduce the input pressure of water to a level that won’t damage the pipes in your home. Faulty pressure regulators can cause serious upward spikes or downward drops in water pressure levels. When this happens, you will notice the effect on all water fixtures in the home – and it will happen incredibly suddenly.

Recommended water pressure in the US sits somewhere between 52 to 75 lbs per square inch. If you perform a pressure test or hire a plumber to perform a test for you, you may have a faulty pressure regulator if the readings come back lower than this.

If you’re struggling with weak water pressure make sure to contact the pros at D&N Plumbing and Gas for help!

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