How many times have you taken a shower, and the water suddenly gets cold, or the pressure decreases to a stream? If you are being victimized by untimely low water pressure flow, you may have a problem. Sometimes when this occurs it is because another water fixture is on, and reducing the pressure throughout a plumbing system.
There are many causes for low water pressure. Believe it or not, it happens more in family-oriented homes than with single people. That is because most single people only use one plumbing fixture at a time; as opposed to families that commonly use more than one fixture simultaneously.
So if the problem is with a single fixture, it may only need the filter inside the fixture replaced. But if the pressure problem affects every fixture in a home, there may have an obstructed or malfunctioning valve. An obstruction, or clog can cause an array of pressure issues.
Possible Causes and Solutions
Obstructions often occur due to hair, dirt and other minerals compiling in fixtures. This can easily clog faucet and shower heads, so trying to figure out the problem can be a hassle to say the least. Now if the dreaded water pressure drop seemingly occurs at the most inopportune time, other possible causes include:
- Hours of the day when multiple fixtures are in use the most. Unfortunately, the public sewer system technically separates home only by water meters. Meaning, if the vast majority of a neighborhood uses water around the same time, it could result in widespread pressure drops throughout a community’s plumbing system. Sorry to say, but if this is the case, the only resolution might be to revamp the hours he or she uses water.
- Gravity. Remember that water flows better downhill, so a vertical or horizontal plumbing system could inhibit how fast H20 flows through pipes. Simply said, water pressure is based on force, so in a perfect world the higher the elevation of a water supply tank, the stronger the flow is. Because cold water is non-compressible, its properties are much different from the combustible (heat) pressures of hot water that usually propel faster, vertically and horizontally.
- Checking the main valves. At times, certain valves are partially closed and the pressure of water is dramatically reduced. One valve to check is the home valve near the outdoor hose spicket or bib. Another valve to analyze is the customer valve located within the home’s meter box.
- Testing the pressure reducing valve. This trapezoid-shaped valve is found inside, and connected directly off the main public water line coming into homes. They are typically set to handle 45 to 60 psi. Normally the issue with these valves is when they malfunction, it is hard to access them unless someone is familiar with plumbing in general.
- Checking for leaks around pipe junctions. Water is an unstoppable force, so regardless of a leak’s size, it will grow if not fixed! One of the best methods for figuring out leaks, is by monitoring the water meter. The steps for this include first ensuring that every water fixture is completely off. the next thing to do is read the meter. Lastly, read the meter again in 2 to 3 hours. If the water usage increased, there is likely a problem.
If the entire home was checked for the source of the low water pressure issue to no avail, it might be time to contact a reputable plumber. Although plumbers can be costly, they can also save customer’s money, because they can quickly fix issues that worsen and cost much more money.