Have you ever tried to turn on a shower or wash your hands and realized your water pressure is frustratingly low? Low water pressure is more than just an annoyance. It is often a sign that something is happening with your plumbing. Check out this guide to learn more about seven common causes of low pressure and how to identify them.
1. You Have a Leak
Any time there is a leak in your pipes, it will cause your water pressure to decline. This happens because water is getting drained out of the leak instead of traveling all the way to your fixtures. If you notice a sudden, drastic decrease in water pressure from just one or two fixtures, check for leaks. Walk around the house, and listen for bubbles, hisses, or drips in the walls. Check for any suspicious damp spots, and see if there are puddles anywhere.
Even if your water pressure has been low for a while, it could be a sign of a smaller leak. A slow drip from a loose connection can impact pressure, just like a broken pipe that spews water everywhere. Catching slow leaks can be trickier, so it might be a good idea to get a professional to examine your pipes.
2. Your Water Supplier Is Having Issues
In some cases, the issue actually has nothing to do with your home’s plumbing. There are all sorts of ways that the water delivery process can go wrong before it reaches your home. For example, if construction breaks a large supply pipe that goes toward your home, your water pressure can drop. You might also have lower water pressure if an issue at a water treatment plant briefly reduces the amount of water that your city can supply.
If your water supplier is at fault, you will typically notice a sudden drop in pressure throughout the house. An even bigger sign that it is the water supplier’s issue is that your neighbors are also experiencing the problem. If all the homes on your block have low pressure, the water supplier is usually at fault. You can often call the customer service line to see what is causing the low pressure and when the problem will be fixed.
3. Your Fixture Is Broken
When people have low pressure, their first instinct is often to blame their pipes. However, if you only have low water pressure in one specific sink, shower, tub, or toilet, the problem might actually be the fixture itself. Many faucets and other fixtures have an aerator that is supposed to control and direct the flow of water through the faucet. However, if your water supply includes any dirt or minerals, it can build up and clog the tiny holes of the aerator.
Fortunately, this issue is easy to solve. You can replace the fixtures entirely if they are getting old and outdated. Another option is to just clean the aerators. Most fixtures come with a removable aerator, so you can take it out, remove any build-up, and improve your water pressure.
4. You Have a Clogged Pipe
A clog in a water supply pipe is rarer than a clog in a drainpipe, but it still happens. When something is blocking your pipe, less water can get through, so your pressure drops. The most common cause for a clogged supply pipe is a tree root intrusion. Over time, tree roots can gradually worm their way into your pipe, fill the pipe, and block water flow. It is also possible for other types of debris to build up and cause issues.
Unlike a clogged drainpipe, the issue cannot usually be fixed by just pouring a chemical drainer down your sink. It is important to handle these clogs carefully because you do not want to contaminate your drinking water. Instead, you will need to use a snake or auger to break up the clot and to manually remove it.
5. There Is an Issue With Your Water Valves
The main water supply pipes that carry water through your city are very large and powerful. Therefore, small valves are used to control water flow and to ensure that only the correct amount of water enters your home’s plumbing system. There are a few different spots where this system can go wrong and can cause water pressure problems. A common one is the house’s main shutoff valve. This is a handle or a lever that can turn off all water to your home. Check to make sure it is fully open. If something accidentally bumped it, you might have a partially closed main valve.
Another spot to check is the water meter valve. This is a valve that belongs to your water company, and that is usually located underground. It cannot be adjusted as easily as your shutoff valve. However, if you had work done in the area recently, it is possible that a construction worker forgot to open it all the way. To check this valve, you will need to call your water company and ask for assistance.
6. Your Pressure Regulator Is Failing
A pressure regulator is an optional fixture that helps standardize the water pressure in your home. If you have one of these in place, it is important to check them if you notice lower pressure happening all over your home. Over time, a pressure regulator can start to fail. It may read water pressure incorrectly and reduce the water flow to your house at unnecessary times.
You can test your pressure regulator to see if it is at fault. All you need to do is attach a water pressure gauge to a spigot near your pressure regulator. Read this rating, and compare it to the rating on your pressure regulator. If the numbers are not extremely close to each other, then your regulator is probably at fault. Fortunately, replacing this equipment is affordable and easy.
7. Your Pipes Are Corroding
Corrosion happens when minerals in the water react with the materials of your pipe and produce a gunky, rock-like substance. Over time, this material builds up inside of the pipes and gradually reduces their diameters. The restricted water flow results in low pressure. Keep in mind that pipes corrode at different rates, so even if only part of your house has low pressure, corrosion might be the cause.
Pipe corrosion is only an issue in older homes because it does not occur with PVC pipes. Instead, corrosion happens with metal pipes. If your pipes are iron, copper, or steel, you might experience corrosion. Corrosion also causes metal pipes to become more thin, brittle, and easy to break. Therefore, it is a good idea to replace the pipes altogether if you notice corrosion.
When you have low water pressure, turn to the experts at Beyer Plumbing. Our team of highly trained plumbers has been providing San Antonio with plumbing services for over 30 years. We can assist you with all sorts of repairs, installations, and upgrades. We also offer plumbing plans, water quality solutions, and more. When you’re ready to get better water pressure, go ahead, and give us a call.