Turning on a shower or faucet only to find the water comes out in a sad, slow drizzle is never a good feeling. How exactly are you supposed to wash a pan or take a quick shower when it takes 10 minutes just to rinse off a little soap? The good news is that when there's low water pressure, there's always a cause: typically one that can be easily fixed. Here are some of the most common causes of low pressure and what you can do to fix the issue:
Debris and mineral deposit buildups
If you notice low water pressure from just one or two of the fixtures in your house, the problem likely has to do with debris buildup. Water is full of minerals and other debris, all of which can accumulate in your pipes and on your fixtures. This can cause a blockage that affects how much water flows through. To fix this, try filling a small plastic bag with white vinegar, and use a rubber band to hang it around your showerhead or faucet. Let the head of the fixture soak for a few hours, and the vinegar should loosen the deposits.
Leaks are another common cause of low water pressure. If water is flowing out of your plumbing through a hole or crack before it can reach your fixture, the pressure coming out of the faucet or showerhead will be lower. A plumbing professional is your best bet for finding and repairing a leak in your water supply pipes.
A valve issue
If you have low water pressure throughout your home, check your main shut-off valve to make sure it's completely open. You may also want to see if there's a pressure-reducing valve installed. If there is, have a plumber help you adjust the settings to get the pressure you're looking for.
Others using water
Believe it or not, your low water pressure could be caused by your neighbors. If you notice low pressure at certain times of day, it may be because you and the people living next to you have similar schedules - when everyone is showering at the same time, the pressure will be lower in every home. Low pressure throughout the neighborhood may also be caused by an issue with your municipal water supply. If that's the case, call the supplier to see if they're working on the issue.
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