Pressure is required to push water from a supply line in the street through your home’s pipes and fixtures. If you suddenly notice low water pressure, there could be a plumbing issue in your home or somewhere in the city’s supply line. Low water pressure with a gradual onset can also be a problem. Knowing about the causes and effects of low water pressure in San Antonio, TX, will help you decide which actions to take.
Normal Household Water Pressure Levels
Normal household water pressure levels range from 45 to 50 pounds per square inch. Most household water main lines have a valve that allows you to control the water pressure to some extent. They allow for a range of 25 to 75 pounds per square inch. To adjust the water pressure level at your water main, you just need to turn a screw. In some cases, the screw could be rusted or corroded. If this happens, you will need a plumber to make a repair. Removing the screw, yourself could result in too much water coming into your home at the supply line. This could cause a flood.
Ideal Water Pressure for Plumbing Fixtures
Most household plumbing fixtures will operate best at a pressure level of 50 pounds per square inch. This allows for an optimal flow of water for hygiene and cleaning. A level below 40 pounds per square inch will be noticeable when you turn on a faucet or shower. The water will seem sluggish, and it will not feel as relaxing on your skin when you use the shower or faucet.
Signs of Low Water Pressure
When the water pressure in your home is lower than 40 pounds per square inch, there will be some noticeable signs. They include:
- Whistling sounds from pipes
- Flow slows to a trickle when using two fixtures
- Washing machine fills slowly
- No water from second fixture when first fixture is on
- Shower flow stops when flushing toilet
The whistling sounds from pipes are most likely to occur when you are showering with the hot water. If an appliance is cycling, and you flush the toilet, you might notice that the toilet tank takes a long time to fill. If you are trying to fill a backyard swimming pool, it might seem like it takes forever, and your other household fixtures might not deliver more than a trickle of water during the pool filling process. Even if you only notice low water pressure problems once in a while, it is a good idea to have your plumbing system inspected. There could be a problem that requires prompt repair.
Why One Plumbing Fixture Has Low Water Pressure
If one plumbing fixture in your home has low water pressure, but the other fixtures are all fine, chances are good that there is an issue either with the supply line to that fixture or with the fixture itself. For example, most dishwashers, ice makers and washing machines have a dedicated supply line. If they have low water pressure, there could be mineral buildup in the pipe. It is also possible that the fixture itself has mineral buildup. This is common in showerheads. Low pressure in one faucet or a shower head is often caused by calcium or other hard water mineral deposits. These are easy to remove by removing the faucet head and aerator and soaking them in vinegar. You could also have the plumber replace them for you.
Household Causes of Whole-Home Low Water Pressure
If all the fixtures in your home are suffering from low water pressure, there could be a problem with your home’s plumbing system. Begin by checking the water pressure valve at your main water line. This is often located by your water meter. If it has been adjusted to lower than 50 pounds per square inch, try readjusting it. If this does not solve your problem, it is a good idea to have a plumber inspect your home. You could have a leak in your water main between the street and your house. Your yard may have a soggy area or an area of vigorous lawn growth caused by a leaky water main. There could also be a leak within your home. To check for a water leak, record the numbers on your water meter. Make sure no appliances are set to cycle. Leave your home for several hours. When you get back, check the water meter. If the numbers have changed, you probably have a water leak. If your home has old plumbing, mineral deposits throughout the pipes could cause low water pressure. A failing pressure regulator could also cause low water pressure.
External Causes of Whole-Home Low Water Pressure Problems
Low water pressure throughout your home could be caused by a city supply problem. The city could be flushing fire hydrants. There could also be a water main leak under a nearby street. If everyone in your area has water pressure issues, it could be a municipal service line problem. If it is just your house with low water pressure levels, you probably need a plumbing repair or replacement.
Ways to Prevent Low Water Pressure
You cannot do anything to prevent a problem with the city’s water supply lines. However, there are some things you can do in your own home and yard to prevent a low water pressure issue. If you notice signs of a plumbing leak, call a plumber as soon as possible. Letting a leak carry on without repair could set you up for a plumbing disaster. A small leak could quickly turn into a big one that allows the water in your main supply or interior pipes to leak before it reaches your fixtures. These leaks can cause major water damage to your home’s foundation and walls. If your home has hard water, consider installing a water softener. This will reduce the mineral buildup that is often responsible for water pressure problems.
How to Increase Water Pressure
It is not a good idea to increase water pressure on your own. If the water pressure is higher than 80 pounds per square inch, it could burst one or more of the pipes in your home. High water pressure could also damage valves and fixtures in your plumbing system. If you notice water pressure fluctuations from high to low, it is a good idea to contact the San Antonio water department. At Beyer Plumbing, our licensed professionals know what to look for and can safely make the necessary repairs or replacements to your plumbing system.
The experienced plumbers at Beyer Plumbing are qualified to determine the cause of low water pressure at your home. We are also prepared to provide you with water quality systems, tankless water heaters, and emergency plumbing services. You can count on us for a reliable toilet and fixture repair, installation, and more. If your San Antonio-area home’s water or sewer line needs to be repaired or replaced, let us help. Call us at Beyer Plumbing today for more information about low water pressure.