Have you ever had the frustrating experience of turning on a faucet and barely getting a trickle of water? Low water pressure makes it difficult to shower, wash dishes, fill up a bath, and do other basic household tasks. There are several different culprits that can cause low water pressure, so before you fix the issue, you have to figure out why your water pressure is so low.
Your Shutoff Valve Is Not Open All the Way
When your water pressure is bothering you, one of the first things you can do is go check the main house shutoff valve. Depending on when your property was built, this valve might be outside or inside your home. It controls all the water going into and out of your house. This valve is meant to let you quickly shut off water to your home in case of a burst pipe. However, it might have been accidentally left a little closed after your last repair or home project.
Fortunately, this is one of the easiest problems to fix. All you have to do is open up the valve to restore your water pressure. For valves with a knob or handle, twist it counterclockwise as far as it will go. For a valve with a lever, turn the lever until it is fully parallel to your pipe. This will allow water to run back into your home at normal rates.
The Water Pressure Regulator Is Broken
Not all homes have a water pressure regulator, but this component can cause water pressure issues when it acts up. Check to see if you have a dome-shaped brass fixture near your main shut off valve. This is a regulator that ensures water is entering your home at a safe pressure level. If it malfunctions, it can cut off the water supply and cause low pressure. To see if your regulator is broken, get a pressure gauge, and test your water pressure. Typically, your pressure should be between 40 to 60 PSI.
If the pressure is unusually low and you have a regulator installed, it might be a good idea to replace it. It is possible to DIY a water pressure regulator replacement. However, this will involve tinkering with your pipes, so you may want to get help from a plumber if you are not confident with plumbing DIY. The good news is that even with assistance from a plumber, this is still a fairly fast and affordable repair.
Your Municipal Water Supply Is Low
Sometimes, the issue has absolutely nothing to do with you. Occasionally, the problem is that your supplier is not sending out enough water. There are all sorts of reasons this can happen, ranging from a malfunction at the water processing plant to a change in your city’s regulations. The most common sign that your supplier is the problem will be that your water pressure suddenly dropped even though your plumbing system is just fine. If you ask around on your block, you will also find that your neighbors are experiencing the same problem.
To fix the issue, start by talking to your water supplier. Ideally, they will be aware of the problem and already working on fixing it. Some water departments may try to ignore or deny the problem, in which case you will need to mobilize your neighbors and bring the issue up to the city council. If there is a shortage of water-saving regulations in place, you can also consider a water pressure booster system. This attaches to your home water supply and increases the flow rate for your house.
You Have a Clog in Your Pipe
If the water pressure is fine at your supply but barely trickling in a certain part of your home, you may have a clog in the pipe. Most pipes happen in drain lines beneath a sink or shower. However, it is also possible for clogs to end up in a supply pipe. This can happen when a bit of mineral buildup gets knocked loose or a root grows into the pipe. It blocks the amount of water that can get into a pipe, resulting in low water pressure. Depending on which supply pipe is clogged, you may lose water pressure to one or more parts of your house.
Fixing these clogs can be trickier because they are in a supply pipe instead of a drain pipe. Since they provide the water you drink, you cannot use corrosive chemicals and commercial drain cleaners to eat away at the clog. Instead, you will need to use manual methods of removing the clog. Some cases can be handled with a snake, but others may need the section of the clogged pipe to be removed and replaced.
Your Pipes Are Leaking
Just like a clog, a leak in the pipe can also keep enough water from getting to your home. If a water supply pipe cracks, your water pressure will drop as water starts to leak away instead of traveling to your kitchen or bathroom. A leaking pipe is not always as obvious as a massive flood of water around a visible pipe. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Your water bill is unusually high
- Indoor air feels humid
- Unexplained damp patches on walls or floors
- Cracks appear on walls or ceilings
- Hissing or bubbling noises
- Unexplained running water noises
- Puddles on the lawn that never dry
- An unusually green spot on the lawn
Depending on where the leak is, this may be something you can fix yourself. However, many homeowners prefer to get professional help. Fixing a leaky pipe with epoxy, clamps, or tape is only a temporary fix. To actually solve the problem, you will need to replace the part of the pipe or fitting that is leaking.
There Is Corrosion in Your Pipes
If your home is older, there is a chance your pipes are made of copper, galvanized steel, or even cast iron. The problem with older pipes made of metal is that they start to corrode. This happens as the metal gradually reacts with chemicals in the water. It takes on a larger, bubbly appearance that slowly expands and blocks off the pipe. Depending on the material of the pipes, they may only last 20 to 70 years before they become unusable.
Corrosion happens from the inside out, so your pipes may look perfectly fine on the outside while being entirely corroded on the inside. The only fix is replacing the pipes entirely. You cannot clear away corrosion and restore water pressure. Instead, your home will need to be refitted with PVC or another corrosion-resistant pipe material.
JW Plumbing, Heating and Air is happy to help with all your low water pressure issues. Our trained plumbers and technicians can examine your Los Angeles home to find the issue and then recommend ways of fixing it. In addition to repairing your plumbing, our team can also assist with HVAC repairs, installations, and maintenance. To learn more about our services, give us a call today. We look forward to serving all your home comfort needs.