As a homeowner, it’s likely that you’re going to experience a plethora of issues with your home over its lifespan. One of the most annoying problems you may end up dealing with is low water pressure. By understanding the main causes of this issue, you can quickly evaluate your situation and identify what’s causing the specific issue that you’re having.
Over the last century, there have been many different types of piping utilized in residential settings. One particular type of piping that has since shown a high likelihood of fast corrosion is galvanized steel piping. Over time, the inside of these galvanized steel pipes will start to oxidize and form corrosion. You won’t be able to tell this right away because the corrosion develops on the inside of the steel pipes. When too much corrosion is present, it restricts the amount of space that water has to travel through the pipe. This can reduce your water pressure over time.
Water Shut-Off Valve
All of the water that comes into your home does so through your main water valve. The shut-off on your valve will control the flow of water coming into your home. When the valve is completely opened, it allows you to have full water pressure. When the valve is partially shut, it can create low water pressure. It’s not uncommon to accidentally bump the water shut-off valve in your basement if you’re working near or moving storage objects near it. Take a moment to check your shut-off valve and ensure that it is in a completely open position.
Another likely cause of sudden low water pressure is that you have developed a plumbing leak somewhere in your system. The leak is going to be located somewhere in your piping line between your main water valve and where you’re trying to get water from. It can be helpful to work backward from where you’re trying to get water toward everything on the line that connects your main water valve. Any leak in the line will allow water to unintentionally come out of the pipe and reduce the amount of water that is delivered to the fixture that you’re trying to utilize that has low water pressure.
Water Supplier Issues
While you may think that low water pressure can signal something wrong with your home’s plumbing system, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, there may be an issue with the piping that your water supplier has. For example, if they have a leak in one of their main water lines, it will drastically reduce the pressure to all the homes being supplied by that line. It’s always a good rule of thumb to check with your neighbors to see if they’re having low water supply issues as well. If they are, it signals that the problem is most likely with your water supplier and not your home’s plumbing system.
Water Meter Valve
Another external culprit of low water pressure in your home can be the water meter valve. This is an exterior valve that your water supplier utilizes to turn the water on and off to your home. For example, if you don’t pay your water bill, the water company will come out and turn the water meter valve off to kill the water supply to your home. If you’ve had recent work done or you may have missed paying your water bill, then you may want to check with your water supplier to see if the water meter valve is not fully open.
Faulty Pressure Regulator
Some homes are equipped with a pressure regulator whose job is to regulate the flow of water pressure coming into your home. The main reason people install these is to help protect the integrity of their piping. Unfortunately, pressure regulators can malfunction from time to time. In some cases, they may only allow a small flow of water into your home, which can contribute to low water pressure. To get your pressure regulator checked, you’ll need to call in a plumbing professional to do the job.
As soon as you notice that you have low water pressure at a certain fixture, one of the best things you can do is go and check another fixture. If only one fixture in your home seems to be having low water pressure, then it’s likely your fixture that’s the problem. Many sinks will have water aerators that help to introduce air into the water to reduce the flow of water coming out of the spigot. Over time, these aerators can get bogged down with hard water and other buildup. Take a moment to unscrew the aerator and give it a good cleaning. Go ahead and reinstall it and see if that fixes your low water pressure issue. If not, you may need to replace the entire fixture to remedy your low-pressure problem.
Internal Pipe Buildup
Apart from corrosion on your water supply lines, another common culprit of low water pressure is internal pipe buildup. If you live in a region of the country that has hard water, then it’s likely that every time you’re running water through your supply lines minerals are getting deposited inside of the pipes. Over time, these mineral deposits can get so thick that it reduces the amount of space that water has to travel through your pipes. You’ll notice over a period of time that it seems like your home’s water pressure is getting lower and lower. It’s typically best to call in a professional to evaluate your pipes as they have the appropriate equipment to do so.
Shared Water Lines
If you just moved into a new location and feel that the water pressure at the end of your water supply line seems to be randomly low from time to time, it could be that you have shared water lines. This is most prominent in multi-unit buildings. You may notice that you experience low water pressure when you hear your neighbor take a shower. Essentially, your supply lines can only supply so much water at a time. Whenever your neighbors are running water while you’re trying to do so, you’re both experiencing low water pressure. Unfortunately, the only fix to this water pressure issue is to remove the shared piping.
Local Water Shortage Conditions
Another potential reason that you may be experiencing low water pressure in your home is that your local water supply company has gone into shortage conditions. This can happen in scenarios like a drought, where water rationing is a necessity to help keep adequate water supplies for the whole region. With this type of issue, you’ll likely be notified ahead of time of the low water pressure conditions so that you can prepare.
Reliable Plumbing Services
Tarpy Plumbing, Heating & Air offers reliable plumbing services for the San Diego, CA, community. We can also help with all of your heating, cooling, indoor air quality, blow-in insulation, and ductless mini-split needs. Contact our office today to get the help that you need!