When the water pressure in all areas of your home suddenly takes a nosedive, it can turn even the simplest activities, such as washing the dishes, into an exhausting chore. Many times the problem can be easily fixed, but first you have to figure out what the issue could be. Here are three things that could be causing low water pressure in your home.
Recent Plumbing or Other Home Repairs
When making plumbing or home repairs, especially major ones such as replacing piping, it's not unusual for technicians or do-it-yourselfers to turn off the water meter. While the water meter's primary task is measuring the amount of water going through your home, there are often shut off valves on the appliance that can be used to reduce the flow of water or turn it off altogether. Sometimes, though, people forget to turn the valve up all the way after completing the repairs.
Similarly, the main shut off valve that controls the flow of water to the entire home may have been turned off. Sometimes this valve will be in the same area as the water meter. However, it may also be situated at the front of the home. If you live in a cold area, the main valve shut off may be in the garage or basement to keep it from freezing.
If you have recently had repairs completed on your home, check the water meter and main shut off valves to ensure they are open all the way.
There May Be Buildup or Debris in the Pipes
Another possible reason for low water pressure is debris or buildup in the supply pipes. While this can happen locally at sinks and tubs, the problem may lie at the main pipe if water pressure in the entire home is affected. The blockage in the pipe prevents the water from flowing freely to its destination, and the farther the outlet is from the main pipe the worse the pressure is likely to be.
There are a couple of things that may be impacting the water flow in the pipe. One of those is debris. Dirt and pollutants may find their way inside the supply line via cracks in the water pipes. If you have hard water, some of the excess minerals from the water may attach to the walls of the pipes, causing buildup over time that attracts other debris.
Tree roots are another common cause of pipe blockages, particularly if you live in a dry region or it hasn't rained in a long time. Sometimes plumbing pipes will sweat, attracting trees roots to the moisture. Eventually, the pressure of the roots on the pipes may cause cracks that the roots then enter to access the water flowing through inside.
The solution to this problem is to have the pipes cleaned. Since the problem is in the supply pipe, it's best to have a plumber do this for you as it may require taking the pipe apart to locate the clog or using specialized equipment to clear out the sludge or tree roots. However, if you are mechanically inclined, you can rent an auger and clear the blockage yourself by turning off the water in the home, inserting the tool into the access point closest to the main supply line, and gently breaking up the roots or scraping the sides.
Check the Pressure Regulator
A third problem may be the pressure regulator. This is a valve on or near the main water line that regulates the pressure in the pipes. If you've had work done on your home, the person may have reduced the water pressure and forgot to restore it to the original setting. Adjusting the regulator should restore the water pressure in your home to normal.
Alternatively, the regulator may be going bad. You can tell this may be the issue because, in addition to inconsistent changes in water pressure, the pipes may rattle or bang whenever the toilet or washing machine fills up. This is caused by sudden surges in pressure. If this is the case, you'll need to contact a professional to have the regulator replaced.
For more information on what could be causing low water pressure in your home or assistance with making repairs, contact a plumber in your area.