Low water pressure problems are an ongoing annoyance. Showerheads and faucets don’t perform properly when pressure is below specifications. Toilet tanks take forever to refill; washing machine fill cycles are very slow. Because pressure through the water heater tank is reduced, the waiting time for hot water to reach a faucet or other fixture is also extended.
“Normal” water pressure in a residence varies according to the municipal water supply and the size of the house. However, it’s generally agreed that household pressure less than 40 p.s.i. is too low. A qualified plumber can attach a gauge to your system to get an accurate reading of the pressure within the house. Here are some of the common causes of water pressure problems he’ll investigate if the reading is below standards:
- Shutoff valve not fully open. If the main water shutoff valve was closed for some reason and not fully re-opened afterward, this will reduce water pressure throughout the house. You can try to open it further yourself, but be aware that shutoff valves that are difficult to turn shouldn’t be forced. Report a sticky valve to the plumber.
- Faulty pressure valve. Because pressure in the municipal water main may be too high for residential plumbing, a pressure-reducing valve is usually incorporated in or near the home’s water meter to reduce pressure to a safe household level. If this valve is maladjusted or defective, it may be excessively reducing water pressure entering the house.
- Mineral deposits. In locales with hard water, mineral deposits may accumulate in the water supply line over the years, gradually reducing pressure throughout the house. Re-piping is usually required to restore normal pressure.
- Pipe leaks. Leakage from the water supply pipe may reduce indoor pressure in the house. Signs such as areas of the lawn that are always wet or spots where grass is always very green could indicate underground leakage. Water bills that are unusually high with no other explanation are another red flag.
For professional service to resolve water pressure problems in your home, contact Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air.