Don’t Accept Low Water Pressure — Instead Troubleshoot It


Troubleshooting low water pressure is a DIY-friendly process that may help you resolve the problem yourself or simply describe it more accurately when you consult a professional plumber. Low water pressure usually doesn’t become an issue until household pressure drops below about 40 psi. At that point, symptoms such as long fill times for washing machines and toilet tanks, and weak shower function become very noticeable.

low water pressureBy following these steps for troubleshooting low water pressure, you can isolate the problem to a single fixture or a whole-house condition that requires professional assessment.

  • First determine if low pressure affects your house alone. Issues with the local municipal water utility may affect wide areas and explain the situation. Ask neighbors if they’re experiencing any symptoms of low water pressure.
  • Has water to your home been turned off at the main shutoff valve recently? If so, check the valve and make sure they opened it up all the way when the water was turned back on. A partially closed valve will restrict water pressure. If you don’t know where the valve is, or if it’s frozen and won’t turn, notify a plumber.
  • Have a qualified plumber measure your water pressure. Many homes incorporate pressure regulators to decrease high city pressure to residential level. A defective or maladjusted regulator may be reducing pressure too far.
  • If troubleshooting indicates that low water pressure is limited to one faucet or shower head, suspect mineral deposits obstructing flow of water. If it’s a faucet, remove the aerator and soak it in a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to dissolve the deposits. The same mixture can be used to clear plugged nozzles in a shower head if you can disassemble the unit and soak the components.
  • Low hot water pressure points to a water heater problem. If the inlet and outlet valves atop the heater are fully open, you’ll need a plumber to evaluate the heater.

If troubleshooting low water pressure reveals problems that require the services of a professional plumber, contact Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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