The easiest way to determine if you have low water pressure is with a test gauge. This convenient tool screws onto a spigot and allows you to measure your water pressure. To confirm that it’s a house-wide problem, you can test other faucets in different areas of the home. Low water pressure can make it harder to effectively clean, bathe or use your essential appliances like your dishwasher or washing machine. Here are a few of the most common reasons behind low water pressure issues.
Using too Many Appliances
Not every change in your water pressure means something is going wrong with your plumbing. Homes today typically have more than one water-based appliance running at a time. You could be watering your grass while you’re washing your dishes or filling the tub. The more fixtures or appliances using your water, the less pressure your system will have to share. To determine if this is your water pressure issue, you can keep track of which appliances you’re using and try to stagger use when possible.
Issues With the Main Supply Valve
Your home’s main shutoff valve controls the water entering your house. If it becomes partially or fully closed for any reason, this will decrease your water pressure. This shutoff is often in the basement or garage, and it’s where your main water line enters the house. A ball valve has a brightly colored lever that should be rotated so that it’s level with the pipe. If you have a gate valve, turn it as far counterclockwise as possible.
Compromised Pressure Regulator
A pressure regulator is installed not far from the main shutoff. It has the power to both increase and restrict your water flow. Leaving your water pressure too high could cause damage to your plumbing as well as your appliances and fixtures. If it’s too low, you can adjust it per your needs. However, it’s often best to leave all major adjustments to your plumber. Regulators should often be set to around 50 psi, and any significant changes to this value could impact your comfort or pipes.
Localized water pressure issues that only affect certain rooms or sinks could be related to a fixture concern. Faucets have thin aerators that help to limit the volume of water coming out without reducing your vital pressure. With time, mineral buildup, rust and dirt may reduce this flow. Similar issues can occur with your showerheads or even the hoses attached to your dishwasher or washing machine. It’s much easier to clear away this gunk if the fixture is somewhat new. Older faucets and spouts, however, may need to be replaced if the buildup is too pervasive.
Pipe problems like corrosion or limescale buildup can also affect water pressure. For example, steel lines may last around two decades while copper pipes have lifespans of more than 50 years. Learning more about your plumbing system can let you know when certain lines will soon need replacing. When you begin experiencing water pressure issues, you may need to install new plumbing before your current pipes begin to leak.
Homes with excessive limescale or mineral buildup could have hard water. This problem can’t be addressed easily as it impacts the efficiency and lifespan of all of your plumbing. One potential solution is to consider investing in a water softener that will limit debris accumulation in the future.
Another common culprit behind low water pressure is a hidden leak. When your pipes are leaking into your walls or foundation, less water will travel to your fixtures. Leaks are a huge cause for concern as they’ll lead to substantial water damage, wood rot and mold growth. If you notice new stains on your walls or ceilings or smell a musty odor, call for plumbing service fast.
Dependable Plumbing and Sewer Experts
Since 1977, Raymark Plumbing & Sewer has used cutting-edge plumbing technology to provide lasting solutions in Seattle, WA. Our dedication to customer satisfaction and reliable, trusted care has earned us an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Our team can repair your plumbing lines, faucets, gas lines, toilets and more. You can also count on our staff members for drain cleanings, hydrojetting, sewer replacements and water heater service. Call today to schedule your plumbing appointment in Seattle.