The Four Leading Causes of Low Water Pressure
Water pressure is actually a tremendously common problem in homes everywhere. Water pressure that’s too high can cause a number of reoccurring problems and can actually be difficult to spot, however water pressure that’s too low is unmistakable. The latter is what we will be talking about in this blog—when your showers feel weak, your faucets never seem to have strong flow, and your irrigation system doesn’t seem to have the ability to propel water out over the entire area of your lawn, low water pressure could very well be the cause.
However, what causes low water pressure isn’t always so simple or straightforward. In fact, low water pressure could be a side effect of a wide variety of different plumbing problems. In this blog, our team will discuss a few of the most common reasons why your water pressure might be low and give you a general idea of a few things to try that you may not have thought of, but that might solve the problem.
A Partially Obscured Water Line
While most people know that clogs can build up in drain lines, the truth is hard water can cause scale buildup in water lines as well. Unlike a drain line, where clogs can usually be blasted away with a jetting service, blockages in water lines tend to be considerably more stubborn and difficult to get rid of. While it’s pretty easy to tell if your line is completely blocked, most lines tend to build up and become blocked slowly. Inside your home, this manifests as water pressure that appears low. Depending on where the buildup is located, this can impact either your entire home or a small portion of it.
A Leak in a Plumbing Line or Fixture
Have you ever tried to drink through a straw that has a hole in it? You’ve probably been able to tell almost instantly that your straw has an issue: no matter how much you try to suck the liquid through the thin tube, it always moves slowly. The same thing happens when you have a leak in a plumbing line.
Believe it or not, high water pressure is a common cause of plumbing leaks, but low water pressure is a symptom that then shows up once the leak forms. The small hole or crack in your plumbing line provides relief for the pressure in the line, reducing it and preventing the water from getting where it needs to go. If your water pressure suddenly and unexpectedly decreases, we strongly recommend having your home inspected for leaks. Likewise, once the leak is found and fixed, have your water pressure checked to ensure it’s not too high. If you don’t, the problem could return again just as quickly.
A Failing Pressure Regulator
Every home should have a water pressure regulator—if you don’t, you more than likely have a problem with high water pressure rather than low pressure. However, pressure regulators won’t last forever; in fact, they generally only last around four or five years before they need to be replaced. Once a pressure regulator starts wearing out, it could actually inhibit water flowing through it and cause your pressure to drop. If this happens, no matter how much you open the valve, the pressure in the line simply won’t increase. When this happens, call a plumbing professional right away and have the pressure regulator changed out.
This is also a great opportunity to have your water pressure professionally adjusted. Ideally, your home’s water pressure should be between 60 to 70 PSI, and your pressure regulator should be set to maintain this level. Having a professional take care of setting this valve for you ensures that your home water pressure will be at a good level, and likewise you should have it re-checked annually as a part of a yearly plumbing inspection and checkup service.
A Partially Closed Shutoff Valve
Your home has several shutoff valves located all throughout it, particularly on your main water line and near major water-consuming appliances like your water heater. Normally, if nothing goes wrong with your home, you never have to use these shutoff valves. However, something can bump into a valve, someone can accidentally turn one, or any one of a number of different things could happen that accidentally cause the handle to turn and the valve to close off partially. While this might seem like a simple and some might say stupid reason for water pressure to shrink, you might be surprised how often something as innocent as accidentally bumping a valve has caused people fits trying to figure out the issue.