What To Do About Low Water Pressure
Perhaps you’ve noticed the water isn’t coming out of your shower as fast as it used to. Maybe it’s taking longer to fill the bathtub or a sink of dishwater. If that’s the case, something might have caused your water pressure to drop.
Low water pressure can be a big inconvenience. It’s not just that simple tasks, like showering, will take longer. Certain appliances, like washing machines and dishwashers, may not be drawing in enough water during their cycles. Worse yet, they might stop working altogether.
The first step in addressing low water pressure is to figure out the source of the problem. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes:
- Failing pressure regulator
- Mineral buildup in pipes
- Clogged faucets and fixtures
- Water heater clogs
- Corroded plumbing
- Municipal water issues
- Well water issues
Failing Pressure Regulator
Some homes are equipped with a water pressure regulator. This is a control valve that manages the input pressure of the water coming into your home. It reduces the pressure to a level that is safe for your pipes and appliances.
If your pressure regulator is failing, it could cause a significant spike in water pressure. Or, it could have the opposite effect – reducing your water pressure below comfort and convenience.
While it is possible to change out these valves yourself, it’s often best to call a professional plumber. To replace the valve, you’ll need to shut off water at the meter shutoff valve.
A professional can also help calibrate the value to fit your family’s needs. For example, if you experience low pressure while running multiple appliances or faucets at one time, it could simply mean your water pressure regulator is set too low.
Mineral Buildup in Pipes
Your pipes can get clogged with mineral buildup. Calcium, magnesium, and other mineral deposits can slowly accumulate over time by clinging to the inside wall of your plumbing, reducing the amount of space water has to flow through. If this is the case, a professional plumber may be able to flush your system with chemicals to break down the minerals and scale. However, heavy buildup will be more difficult (and more expensive) to remove.
If you have hard water, your home is more susceptible to mineral buildup like this. One way to prevent the problem is to install a water softener. This will remove minerals at the input, stopping costly buildup before it can start.
Clogged Faucets and Fixtures
Just like pipes, your individual faucets and fixtures can become clogged by mineral buildup. Most faucets, for example, have little aerators designed to reduce the volume of water coming from your faucet. After a while, these aerators can get clogged by dirt or minerals. Showerheads can also be clogged by limescale and buildup.
Try cleaning or replacing your faucet aerators and your showerheads to see if that improves your water pressure. If it does, there’s a good chance you have hard water, and mineral issues are at play.
Our local water treatment specialist will help you investigate with a complimentary water test. If hard water is the culprit, you may want to consider a water softener to prevent further issues. After all, if mineral buildup is blocking your faucets and fixtures, you probably have bigger mineral issues accumulating inside your pipes and appliances, too.
Water Heater Clogs
Sometimes low water pressure issues can be traced to the water heater. If you notice your water pressure declines when using hot water, this could be the cause.
It could be that your water heater isn’t properly sized for your household and can’t keep up with demand. But it’s also possible that hard water has led to mineral buildup, reducing the flow of water into and out of the heater. Water heaters also fall victim to mineral build up on the heating element inside, so it may take longer and use more energy to bring your water up to temperature if you have hard water. Again, a water softener system is typically the best solution to prevent further buildup and clogs of this kind.
Municipal Water Supply Issues
Sometimes water pressure issues have nothing to do with problems inside your house. If you get your water supply from your local municipality, their systems could be the reason. Water main breaks, power outages, and aging equipment are just some of the issues that can trigger water pressure issues for homeowners down the line.
Alternately, it’s possible your water meter valve was closed during some kind of repair or service work and wasn’t fully reopened afterwards. Many homes have two major water shutoff valves – one that technically belongs to the water company (typically near the meter) and one that belongs to you (where water enters your home).
If you’re experiencing low water pressure, it’s worth a call to your municipal water department to determine if there’s a known system issue on their end. If it’s an issue with your water meter valve, someone will need to come back and open it all the way.
Well Water Issues
If you get your water from a private well, it could be that low water levels are to blame. It’s also possible that water quality issues are contributing to the problem.
It’s very common for people with wells to have hard water or other contaminants. Since this water is coming straight from the ground into your home, without the municipality helping clean it up, it is your responsibility to make sure the quality is good for your home and family. Well water can bring hardness, rust, sediment, or unwanted minerals into your home. Those minerals can then clog the well screen, slowing the flow of water. You would need to remove your well pump, flush the system, and clean the screen to fix this issue.
Again, if you have a private well with hard water, you may want to consider a water softener. While this won’t resolve mineral issues at the pump level, it will treat the water coming into your home to prevent mineral buildup on the rest of your appliances and plumbing.
Water Softeners Help Many Water Pressure Problems
Many water pressure issues are caused by clogs and buildups – and many of those clogs come from hard water. A water softener can go a long way toward protecting your plumbing and appliances. By reducing the minerals that flow through your pipes and fixtures, you can reduce or eliminate problems with mineral buildup.
Of course, not every low water pressure issue is caused by clogs and buildup. Sometimes old piping or failing equipment is the cause. Our team of professionals can help you track down the problem and remediate the issue.
The first steps are FIND and FIX. But once you know why something went wrong, you can help PREVENT those problems from happening again. Talk to our water treatment specialists today! We’ll evaluate the situation and design a system to stop future problems before they start.