Have you ever opened a faucet only to realize that the water pressure is extremely low? If so, you’re not alone. Low water pressure isn’t just annoying, but is a sign of greater underlying problems within your plumbing system.
In most cases, homeowners may wait and hope there is a fault within the municipal water supply lines. But what if it’s not? What should you do?
Depending on your situation, a sudden loss of water pressure indicates:
- Partially closed shut-off valve
- Faulty pressure relief valve (PRV)
- Faulty plumbing fixtures
- Problems with the municipal water supply system
- Blocked water supply pipes
- Leaking water supply pipes
There Could Be a Problem with the Municipal Water Supply System
Before arming yourself with diagnosis and repair tools, asking your neighbors if they’re experiencing the same problem is crucial. If they report the same issue, you should contact your water supplier for clarification.
Sometimes, construction projects break water pipes coming into your home, leading to a drop in pressure. Other times, there might be an issue at the water treatment plant, causing the supplier to ration the amount of water to your home.
What to do: Call your water supplier. Also, inspect the water meter valve. Maybe a utility worker closed it partially, and you may have to call a licensed plumber to open it up once more.
You Have Leaking Water Pipes
All homes have a main water supply line that feeds the entire house. A leak in this supply line causes a significant drop in water pressure that you’ll notice throughout the house.
What to do: Close all water fixtures in the house and check the reading on your water meter. If after 30 minutes you notice that the reading has changed, chances are high that there’s a leak in the main supply. Consequently, call a plumber to inspect and repair the fault.
Faulty Well Pump
For those getting water from a well, your water pump may fail, causing a low water pressure throughout the house.
What to do: Check the pressure gauge on the pump. If the reading is lower than the rated cut-in value, the pump isn’t pumping. The solution is to reset the tripped breaker, and if doing so doesn’t solve the problem, call a plumber.
If the pump is running, but the gauge is stationary, you could have a leak in the water supply system, or the pump has a broken seal. Also, call a plumber to repair the fault.
Your Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) Is Faulty
PRVs regulate water pressure throughout the home to safeguard your fixtures against the municipal water’s high pressures and speeds. When faulty, the PRVs fail to regulate the pressure and limit a lot of water from reaching your faucets and fixtures.
What to do: Call a licensed plumber to inspect the PRVs and repair or replace them.
Partially Closed Shut-Off Valve
If you have low water pressure in one faucet, the problem could be a partially closed shut-off valve.
What to do: Check underneath your sink for the hot and cold water shut-off valves. Ensure that both are in an open position.
Clogged Water Pipes
Old galvanized steel pipes corrode to the extent that the buildup of materials clogs the pipe. Consequently, you’ll notice a gradual reduction of water pressure after some time – maybe even decades. The problem is more common in homes with older plumbing systems.
What to do: The solution for corroded pipes is re-piping the whole house with new plastic or copper pipes.