What causes low cold water pressure or low hot water pressure? There are several causes, all of them annoying. For example, low water pressure means that when you want to wash your face or take a shower, you get a measly trickle of water instead of a good strong flow.
Why? Well, in some homes, the plumbing system water supply is simply inadequate for two fixtures — say the shower plus a faucet — at the same time. In other cases, a DIY fix or even professional plumbing repair is needed.
So why do you have low water pressure issues in your home? Read on to find out why and what you should do about it.
Low pressure, defined as water flow pressure below 25 psi (pounds per square inch), can occur anywhere you use water in your home or yard. This includes your:
Objects and debris that get into water piping can obstruct flow. Every time the city works on water mains, particles break off the pipe surfaces on the inside and float through the pipe network and end up in homes. In addition to this, we’ve seen bits of metal from the work in the pipe and pretty much stop the flow in a house before.
Water shut-off valves should be either fully closed (when you need to stop the water supply flow temporarily) or open (when your plumbing is functioning normally). If it’s somewhere in between, the shut-off valve will allow only a small amount of water to run, so your water pressure will appear to be lower than usual. This problem’s easy to solve: just turn the valve handle till it’s fully open.
Your pressure-reducing valve regulates water pressure to keep your pipes safe. When you have a faulty pressure regulator valve, your water pressure will suddenly change, either climbing sky-high or plummeting way down low. The solution is to have a reliable plumbing service replace the valve.
Strange but true: problems with your water heater can affect water pressure. Have the water heater “flushed” (drained) to remove minerals, rust, or other debris. Ideally, both hot water tanks and tankless water heaters should be flushed at least once every year.
In case you don’t yet know what an aerator screen even is, it’s a tiny piece of mesh inserted into the spout of your faucet. Normally, aerator screens do a great job of mixing air into the water stream to conserve water and manage the flow. Once in a while, they get clogged, kinked or collapsed, which will reduce water pressure only in that specific faucet. Twist out the screen and soak it for 20 minutes in white vinegar. Rinse and reinstall.
A water leak is very bad news. It lowers water pressure by diverting part of the water flow. Even worse, it hikes up your water bill and can cause water damage, costing thousands of dollars to fix. If you see or suspect leaks you can monitor your water meter, contact a licensed plumber ASAP for help.
When you have hard water, the high calcium and magnesium levels result in mineral deposits. In the Ottawa area, this may occur if a well supplies your water. Eventually, this mineral build-up will block components like showerheads or steel pipes. Hard water can be solved with a water softener system.
To clean a showerhead, wrap with a vinegar-soaked rag and leave for several hours. Clogged pipes will need cleaning on a much larger scale—time to call a professional plumber.
Occasionally you might experience low water pressure in just one fixture, like a bathroom or kitchen faucet. In that case, ask your plumber if the fixture needs repair or replacement. In addition, have them check for any problem in the water lines supplying the problematic fixture.
Is low water pressure affecting your home? Contact your local Ottawa plumbing experts. Out of This World is the best address for diagnosis and repair of your running hot water pressure problems.