Poor residential water pressure is a frustrating problem for many homeowners. If you suspect that your home water pressure is not quite up to standard, follow these six steps from Roto-Rooter to determine if there is a problem and how to resolve it.
1. Test your water pressure
You can buy a water pressure test gauge from many local home improvement stores. Turn off any appliances inside that might be using water (such as the dishwasher or washing machine) and attach the gauge to an outdoor hose spigot. They screw onto the threads just like a garden hose. Turn on the spigot and note the reading. Anything less than 60psi is on the low side. Ideally, you’ll see a reading between 60 and 75 psi. Anything above 80 is too high and will wear down your plumbing fixtures and pipe joints over time.
2. Ask Around
You can determine if your water pressure issues are yours alone or possibly related to the city municipal water system by chatting with your neighbors or your landlord. Are they experiencing similar issues? If your neighbors also report low water pressure, give your local provider a call. They can confirm whether it is a known issue, or begin taking steps to remedy the problem on a municipal level. If you have well water, you could have issues with your well pump.
3. Check the water meter, shut-off valve, or regulator
If you’ve (unfortunately) confirmed that your water pressure problems are yours alone, start with the basics. Check your water meter and the main shut-off valve at the street to ensure that they are both fully open. Contractors may shut off water at this point to do routine or other maintenance. If you have a water presssure regulator, check that too. Poorly functioning regulators can result in gradual drops in water pressure.
4. Check for leaks
Cracked or damaged pipes allow water to slowly seep into your home, damaging walls or ceilings and reducing water pressure overall. Check for hidden leaks using your water meter. Turn off all the water in your home and record the number on your water meter. Wait at least 20 minutes, return to check your meter again. If the meter reading has changed, that means you have a leak.
If you want to try to locate the leak, check the tank parts of your toilets, especially the flapper valve; look under kitchen and bathroom sinks; look for drips from your bathtubs and showers. You should also check for puddles around your water heater, as well as possible leaks in your washing machine hoses. If you need a professional to check for hidden leaks, you can rely on Roto-Rooter’s leak repair professionals to locate and repair every type of water leak in and around your home.
5. Check your faucets
If you got a normal reading on your water pressure gauge on an outdoor spigot but still experience low water pressure indoors, take a closer look at your faucets and shower heads. Mineral buildup on fixtures can affect water flow. Loose or worn out washers can also contribute to leaks, reducing water pressure.
6. Consider clogged pipes
Years of buildup and residue inside your water supply pipes decreases the amount of water flowing through, reducing water pressure. This rarely occurs in copper pipes or PEX piping, but it’s a common problem with iron and galvanized pipes. If you are experiencing low water pressure throughout your house, you’ve thoroughly cleaned and removed mineral deposits from faucets and showerheads, and can’t find any leaks, it’s time to call in a professional plumber from Roto-Rooter to assess the pipes in your home and determine whether extensive buildup is affecting your water pressure.