While most corrections to residential water pressure will need to be made by a qualified plumber, troubleshooting low water pressure yourself may help isolate the problem so you can accurately describe symptoms to a professional.
When water pressure declines, homeowners notice poor performance at showers and faucets, as well as the slow filling of washing machines and toilet tanks. Troubleshooting low water pressure is generally divided into whole-house pressure drops and low pressure at individual fixtures.
Low Pressure in the Entire Home
- Ask your neighbors. Maybe everyone in the area is experiencing low pressure and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed by your municipal water utility.
- Check the main shutoff valve. If water to your home has recently been turned off for some reason, the shutoff valve may not have been fully opened again. If you know where the main shutoff valve is located, see if it will open further. If the valve resists turning, don’t force it. Call an experienced plumber to handle it.
- Does your system incorporate a pressure regulator at the water meter? In many municipalities, pressure regulators are required to reduce city water pressure to residential levels. If the regulator is defective, water pressure may be lowered excessively. Your plumber can test the regulator and replace if necessary.
Low Pressure at a Single Fixture or Temperature
- If a particular faucet or shower head exhibits low water pressure, suspect mineral accumulation inside the unit — usually in the faucet aerator or nozzles of the shower head. Removing the faucet aerator or shower head components and soaking in a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water may dissolve the deposits. If not, the components or fixture will need to be replaced.
- Low hot water pressure only means something’s wrong at the water heater. Check both inlet and outlet valves on top of the heater to verify they’re fully open. If they are, the next step is to call a plumber.
For advice on troubleshooting low water pressure, as well as professional service to correct the trouble, contact Custom Air & Plumbing.
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