Nothing is as annoying as low water pressure in one’s house. You may be plagued by cold water when you are in the shower. Low water pressure can be the results of a range of issues in your plumbing system.
1. Hot Water Heater Problems.
Is the water pressure low everywhere? One at a time, turn on the water at faucets around the house. The kitchen, bathroom, garage, basement and outdoor faucets should have consistent pressure. Some faucets may have their own pressure reducing mechanisms in place, such as a low-flow shower head. You should run both the hot and the cold water at each faucet, but do so separately. Why? Because if only the hot water has low pressure, the situation is likely a problem with your hot water heater.
Check your hot water heater for leaks and to see if the hot water shut off value has been turned. Hot water heaters can generate a lot of pressure and are dangerous if not handled properly. They should be inspected and worked on by licensed plumbers to avoid the risk of injury. Ensure the hot water heater shut off value is fully open, if it wasn’t.
2. Clogged Aerator Screen.
Only low pressure (both hot and cold lines) from one faucet? The cause is very often a clogged aerator screen at the end of the faucet. Remove it (unscrew) it and check the water flow. Normal? Good. This means the aerator was holding back the water flow. Soak the aerator in a water and vinegar solution to remove the minerals and other particles that adhered to the screen and replace.
3. PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve) Issues.
Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV). If the low pressure seems to be everywhere, you want to check areas that can create an overall problem. One of these is the PRV valve. You may have other shut off valves as well to check. The PRV is most likely found right outside your house where the main water line comes in. It is bell shaped with an adjusting screw on the top. Turn it clockwise to increase pressure and the opposite way to decrease pressure. Does this handle the low pressure situation? If the valve isn’t working or is obviously broken, you will need to replace it. We recommend calling Benjamin Franklin Plumbing to do this, as removing and replacing the PRV may present some complications that our experienced plumbers can handle quickly for you.
4. Water Shutoff Valve.
Water shut off valve. Located outside the house at the water meter or near the PRV, this valve can easily affect water pressure if nudged. Turning this valve to off will shut off all water in your house. This is good to keep in mind, should you have a burst pipe catastrophe in the house and need an immediate turn off. Turn the water shut off valve all the way open (counterclockwise). Check all faucets that were low pressure before to see if the situation has been corrected.
If the pressure is low in more than one place, and none of the above has resolved the issue, check for leaks.
- Investigate every area where there are plumbing fixtures and check carefully for leaks around the appliances, behind counters, around toilet tank seals, shower heads and faucets and under the kitchen sink where both the water lines are and the connections to the dishwasher run into it.
- Check the dryness of the cabinet bottom and look for water staining.
- Are any of the toilets constantly gurgling or do they not fill properly when flushed? Personally inspect each toilet water tank. Is it continually running? Is the water level lower than it should be? You can check it against the waterline stain on the tank walls. You can also add some color to the tank water and wait for an hour. If the color has migrated to the water in the toilet bowl, you have a leak in the apparatus that controls the water in the tank. Usually you only need to replace the round flap that keeps the water in the tank until the handle is pushed. If the whole apparatus looks old, replace all of it.
- Check the service meter. This device should be close to the water line into your house or on the side near the electrical meter. Write down the numbers shown. Also check the leak indicator. If it is turning you probably have a leak somewhere. The leak indicator is not sensitive to slow leaks as it deals in a certain volume of flow. So take another reading in a few hours without using any water in the house or on the grounds. If the numbers are different, you have a leak.
You can call your water company to help you determine the source of the leak, but they generally are only concerned with the functionality of their equipment and the water line up to your home. A better solution is to call us, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. We cover the entire San Francisco and Bay Area. We can not only determine that there is indeed a leak, but we can find it and fix it, most often in one visit.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbers can handle your low water pressure problems with professional and efficient know-how, we will also analyze your fixtures and plumbing lines and advise you on how to upgrade your fixtures and their lines to a cleaner, more resource-efficient and aesthetic system to best meet your home and lifestyle goals. You might be flabbergasted to find out what a difference an upgrade can make to the comfort and class you feel in your own home. Benjamin Franklin Plumbers is more than just a plumbing service. We fix. We repair. We replace. But we also design kitchen and bathroom layouts and fixtures with the latest technology in accordance with each homeowner’s goals.