Low water pressure can affect a single faucet, an appliance or, more baffling, reduce your entire household’s water supply to a fickle trickle. Before you worry yourself about a looming plumbing repair bill, use these tips to see if you can get the water pressure (and your spirits) back to normal.
Locate the Source
To fix low water pressure, you first have to locate the source of the problem.
- Point of use: Low water pressure at a single faucet, fixture or appliance usually means the aerator or pipe screen needs cleaning.
- Whole house: If your entire home is experiencing low water pressure, you may have a problem with the main water shut-off valve, an underground water leak, corroded plumbing or a defective regulator.
Main Water Shut-off Valve
If you don’t know where your main water shut-off valve is located, check your basement or utility closet first. Next, check the exterior walls of your home for the main and water meter. Once you have located the main water shut-off valve, make sure that it’s fully open.
One telltale sign of an underground leak in your main water line is soggy ground. To test for an underground or other hidden leak, turn off all water outlets in your home. Record the water meter reading. Check the reading again in a few hours. If the reading has changed, you have a hidden water leak. Call your plumber right away.
Water pressure from the municipal water line is too high for a single home. A regulator is used inside the water meter to lower the water pressure. The regulator may reduce water pressure too much if it is defective or set incorrectly.
Clogged Fixtures, Pipes and Appliances
Your faucets, shower heads, inlet and outlet pipes and your appliances can become clogged with mineral deposits, sediment and debris. Depending on the outlet that is delivering low water pressure, this could be a simple DIY job or one for your plumbing professional.
- Shower heads: Mineral deposits are common in the disc holes and screen of shower heads. If you can remove your shower head, soak it overnight in a calcium, lime and rust cleaner (from your hardware store), or soak it in a mixture of white vinegar (2 cups) and baking soda (1/2 cup). Alternatively, put the cleaner or mixture in a strong plastic bag and tie it around the shower head.
- Faucets: Kitchen and bath faucets typically have aerators and screens. Remove the aerator and carefully clean the screen of deposits and debris.
- Water-inlet pipes: Water-inlet pipes to your washing machine and dish-washing machine, for example, contain screens to filter debris. Turn off the point-of-use water shut-off valve, remove the pipe (usually flexible piping) and clean the screen and any washers.
- Water heater: If you are experiencing low hot water pressure, a broken dip tube or other debris may have clogged your water heater’s water-supply pipe. Call your plumber to service your hot water heater.
Don’t let low water pressure slow down your day. Contact MN Plumbing & Appliance for immediate service for your Twin Cities area home.