Isn't it frustrating when there is not enough water pressure in the shower to wash the soap from your eyes?
Somehow you get out of the shower on tippy-toes to avoid falling over and call your water supplier to give them an earful. But if the problem doesn't lie at their end, you might have more severe plumbing issues to deal with.
In this guide, we have shortlisted the main reasons for low water pressure, pointing out the quickly solvable issues from those that require professional help.
Common Causes Of Low Water Pressure
1. Water Metre Valve
The water metre valve is one of the first things to check if water is merely trickling from the tap. Depending on your plumbing system, you can find two shut-off valves, among which the first is the water metre valve.
It's placed right beside the main supply pipe, providing water from the city to your home. In most cases, people have no use for the water metre valve since it's the property of your respective water company and is operated by professionals.
But if the water pressure is low, there's a chance that the metre valve is only partially open, which usually happens when there has been plumbing work done recently. The plumbers might have forgotten to open the valve, resulting in reduced water pressure.
We recommend checking the metre box, which you can find on the outside wall of your home in a warm climate. It can also be present in the garage, basement, or underground between the street and your property.
You can tell if the valve is open by looking at the metal handle and whether it's parallel to the water pipe. Because if it's at an angle, you'll have to use a wrench to open it.
2. Worn Out Steel Pipes
People often have galvanised steel pipes installed into their plumbing system, but over time, they wear out to the point of no return. When galvanised steel pipes get corroded, it can significantly drop water pressure, restricting water flow. What's more, the corrosion attacks the pipe on the insides, so you can't spot the damage from the outside.
It gets to a point when the corrosion closes the pipe opening, leaving you with no option but an expensive renovation project. But it takes years for the corrosion to set in and deteriorate the pipes, meaning that the drop in water pressure is gradual. Most homeowners fail to realise that something's wrong until it's too late.
Australians face similar issues when switching homes, especially when they move into an old property with steel pipes. In such instances, the corrosion has already set in, and only a few weeks of heavy use can render the pipes useless.
The best way to fix the problem is to reline the system using a no-dig pipe relining method, reducing rusting in the future.
3. Faulty Pressure Regulator
You may not know, but the plumbing system has a pressure regulator, also known as a pressure-reducing valve, which could affect the water pressure. It's no rocket science that a malfunctioning pressure regulator will fail to control the input pressure of the plumbing system and reduce it to a safe level.
Not all homes have a pressure regulator, but properties that do may experience a sudden spike or fall in water pressure supply when it's faulty. The silver lining is that you can instantly tell if the regulator is not working, as it impacts the water supply throughout the house.
DIYers can often replace the regulators themselves, provided the replacement is from the same brand and has compatible fittings. But if you're unsure, call a professional plumber.
They will shut off the water supply using the water metre valve after testing the pressure with a pressure gauge. It's easy enough to attach the pressure gauge to the spigot closest to the regulator or main supply line to get a reading. Usually, the average pressure is around 75 pounds per square inch, but it may vary depending on your locality.
When the pressure is significantly less, don't hesitate to fix the issue ASAP.
4. Check The Main Shut-Off Valve
Remember when we mentioned that there are two shut-off valves in a home? You already know about one, but the other valve controls the water supply into your house. It manages the water flow coming in from the city pipeline and extends through your home's foundation walls.
You should ensure that this valve is open; in case it's a gate valve, turn the wheel-like handle counterclockwise to increase the water flow. For a ball valve, you'll need to adjust the lever position and make sure that it's not at an angle but parallel to the pipeline.
Like the water metre valve, plumbers may leave the shut-off valve partially closed after fixing any issue. So, whenever your water pressure drops after repair work, know that the problem lies with the metre or shut-off valve.
5. Debris Buildup
After years of neglecting the pipes, debris buildup may clog the pipe opening, affecting the water supply and reducing the pressure. Anything from sand, grease or solid items like food particles and foreign objects can block the pipes, making regular maintenance essential.
6. Contact The Water Supplier
It would be best to contact your water supplier when you've tried out all the above methods but can't find the reason for low water pressure. Sometimes the supplier might have issues maintaining a steady pressure, which will affect the supply in your home.
You can know for sure when your neighbours are facing similar problems, so call the supplier and clarify when they might be able to restore the normal supply.
7. Shared Pipelines
When people share pipelines, it can lead to low water pressure more often than not. For instance, when your neighbour is taking a shower or washing the car, does it affect the water pressure in your home?
This happens when the water supply is divided between multiple homes, and if it's leaving you irritated, contact a professional plumber for pipe replacement. As long as you're willing to bear the cost of renovations, this will fix the problem permanently.
Still Experiencing Low Water Pressure?
That's everything we had to tell you about the common causes of a drop in water pressure in your home.
As you can see, not all of these are serious plumbing issues, and, in some instances, it's pretty easy to open the valve or check the water pressure yourself. You'll have to contact a plumbing company for more critical problems since they have the necessary equipment to free up the clog or replace the pipes without causing property damage.
At Fixed Today, our Sydney plumbers are highly experienced and can detect the cause of no wate pressure quickly, and provide you with a cost-effective and permanent solution. Call us today for more information or to book an appointment.
See you next time!