If you’re a fan of therapeutic showers, low water pressure can be a cause of serious annoyance. Similarly, having water trickle out of faucets when you need it to powerfully flood is an inconvenience. While you don’t want your water pressure to be too high and risk damaging your pipes, it is possible to find a comfortable water pressure.
What is water pressure?
Water pressure is potential energy. More energy provides higher water pressure. If you live close to your municipal water supply, you’re likely to have more energy. The further away you live, the lower the water pressure because your water has to do more work to get to you.
The most common cause of poor water pressure is clogged pipes. Old, corroded, rusting or dysfunctional pipes all affect your water pressure. If you have recently repaired them or have a newer house with new pipes, there are a number of other causes.
How can you find the source of low water pressure?
Have your local water department for a pressure reading
Your water pressure may be the right pressure for your home and pipes, even if it doesn’t feel like it. You could just be accustomed to high water pressure, which is wasteful and damaging to your appliances, faucets and pipes – not to mention wallet. To be sure, have your local water department do a pressure reading. A reading of 45 to 55 psi is ideal. You can also test the water pressure yourself with a pressure gauge.
Verify that the pipes are the proper diameter
If your home is older, your pipes may not be up to date with modern plumbing. Most modern building codes require pipes to be no wider than 1/2 inch. If you find that your pipes are too wide, you can install a pipe reduction apparatus or contact a plumber for advice on how to proceed.
Examine the condition of the pipe
Worn, rusted or corroded pipes may be the source of the problem. The only solution is to have the pipes replaced, which should be done by a licensed plumber. If you have experienced a sudden drop in water pressure, there also may be a leak.
Check that shut-off valves are open
The shut-off valves near your meter need to be fully opened to allow water to flow properly. This could be a simple fix to your water pressure problem.
Clean or replace your faucet aerator
If you have low water pressure in specific faucets, you could have a clogged faucet aerator. Just like pipes, build of debris, rust and corroding clog your faucet aerators. Unscrew the tip of the problem faucet and clean or replace it.
If you’re still unable to determine the cause of your low water pressure problem or you don’t know how to remedy it, contact a plumber to properly diagnose the issue.