We’ve all had plumbing emergencies like clogged pipes and drains that gave us a headache and had us looking for a reliable plumber nearby. But sometimes, the problems with your plumbing won’t be as apparent. Case in point: low water pressure.
In most homes, the water pressure measures between 40 to 45 pounds per square inch. However, a lot of households struggle with significantly lower water pressure.
With the shower, dishwasher and toilet running, an average US home uses close to 300 gallons of water every day. We don’t usually think about where that water comes from. Similarly, a lot of us don’t know what the cause of a low water pressure could be.
There Is An Issue With The Supplier
Before you start checking the pipes and turning the valves on and off, you should ask around your neighborhood whether anyone else is experiencing a similar issue. Chances are low water pressure is not related to your home, but rather to an issue with the supplier.
Contact your water supplier to see if they were notified about the issue and what they are doing to fix it. If they are already working on it, you’ll probably have your water pressure back in no time.
The Main Valve Isn’t Open All The Way
If you are the only household experiencing low water pressure, it’s time to look in your own yard. The first step is to find the main shutoff valve.
Unless you’ve experienced a plumbing emergency, you probably haven’t touched the valve at all. It is usually located outside. It has a handle similar to the one on a hose, and in this case you need to turn it counterclockwise all the way. If it looks like a lever, you need to place it in a position parallel to the pipe. If the main valve isn’t fully open, your water pressure will be low.
The Pressure Regulator Is Faulty
Not all homes are equipped with a pressure regulator. If you don’t have one in your home, you can skip this step.
If you do have one, there is a test you can conduct it to see if it is working properly. Attach a pressure gauge outside at the hose spigot. Turn the water on and read the pressure on the gauge. If the pressure is lower than what the pressure regulator is showing, you might have an issue with the device.
The Pipes Are Clogged
We often link clogging to the drain, but very often the clog can reach the pipes and even a small one can be enough to significantly hinder your water pressure.
Because the clog can be anywhere in the pipes, you will need professional help handling the issue. The last thing you should do is to start ripping the pipes apart without a way of putting them back together.
The Pipes Are Corroded
Has the plumbing system been replaced at least once since you moved into your house? Like most things, pipes have an expiration date. Some pipes like galvanized ones can start corroding after as little as 20 years. Others, like coper or brass pipes can last between 40 to 70 years. Older houses are particularly susceptible to this issue.