Identifying Low Pressure

You can do a little maintenance on your own

Although water pressure, or its absence, may seem like a big deal––and there’s a chance the deficiency is a major issue––there’s no reason you should avoid a few different methods of improving the pressure on your own. There’s also no guarantee the fixes will work, but there’s little to lose unless you already suspect the culprit is a larger and more serious dilemma. If it’s widespread, call an expert and allow them to appraise the circumstance.


Identify a bigger issue, if one exists

Before beginning, communicate with a neighbor in order to find out whether others are affected by similar issues. If you’re not alone, you may rest easier; that said, you will also be unable to remedy as much of the situation yourself. Also check any measuring instruments in case the pressure isn’t on as much as you expected. Moreover, make sure neither the main water valve in your home or the one for your street is off.


Remove sediment and replace defective piping

One of the common causes of lower water pressure is clogged or clogging pipes. Over time, plumbing can accumulate sediment and, as there is less and less space for water to flow, the pressure can reduce dramatically. On occasion, you may be forced to replace some of the pipe itself. Whatever ends up in the middle of the pipe, however, you can at least clean the end by soaking it in white vinegar.


Pipes don’t last forever

If you unscrew the aerator, you can give the end of a faucet even more exposure. On the other hand, if opening up the end of the faucet doesn’t increase water pressure, you may need to deconstruct it even further. The fact is, all pipes eventually decompose or corrode and you will need to replace them if they’re old enough and in bad enough condition. Refer to our previous article on leaky faucets for information on how to take one apart and put it back together.


Replace the anode of your water heater

In the event you are only having an issue with hot water pressure, check your water heater. You may need to increase the size of the pipes that are carrying the hot water. Cycle water through your water heater and make sure you replace the anode rod of the water heater regularly. If not, your water will become acidic. Adding a water softener into the mix may make things easier on the overall plumbing system.


Wet piping and deposit accumulation

Make sure both the inside and outside of the pipes are intact, which means cleaning out any deposit and looking for weak areas. If you find any leaks along the way while tracing the path of the pipes, place a cloth underneath. If you return to the pipe later and the cloth is wet, you should call for assistance. You can check whether your toilet is having a pressure issue by dripping food coloring in the tank and seeing whether it shows up later in the bowl.


Check any valves

If your home is at a low altitude, check whether your pressure reducing valve is working effectively. The pressure reducing valve is meant to filter water pressure to an appropriate level for a given geography, but it can malfunction and reduce the water pressure to an undesirable level. Depending on how it looks, you may need to wash or replace the pressure reducing valve. That said, some homes do not have a pressure reducing valve.


Changing material

As an aside, if you use any water softener, make sure it’s being implemented consistently. If your pipes are made of galvanized steel, they are more likely to be clogged or corroded. Switching them out for either copper or plastic pipes may improve your water flow and quality, as they’re less susceptible to some of these issues. Regardless of the kind, make sure your pipes are big enough for the amount of water you need.


Adequate psi

If this is an issue you’ve experienced as long as you’ve used the pipes, call your water supplier and inquire about the pressure of water in your neighborhood. If it’s under 30 psi, there’s an external issue; however, if it’s under 40, you’ll still be underwhelmed by the amount at your disposal. Anything over 60 psi is probably all right for a normal home, although anything over 80 psi may cause damage to your plumbing.


Water pressure best practices

Modulate your water pressure regulator when you need to and apply a water pressure gauge to an outside water source for the cleanest reading. Sometimes a dip in pressure is to be expected in the event of repair on a water line or a major building project in the area near you. Be aware of plumbing best practices, including running water-intensive resources, like your shower and a sprinkler system (or even a toilet), independently.

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