There’s nothing like an invigorating shower to wake you up in the morning or to relax you after a long day! Except, that is, when you turn on the faucet to find your water only coming out in a sad trickle. Low water pressure is the last thing you need on a busy morning or a relaxing evening.
Solutions to Low Water Pressure
“Water pressure in a home varies depending on how far the home is from a pumping station and how many homes and businesses are on the water main,” says Chris Thompson, project manager at John C. Flood, Inc.
Sometimes old pipes are to blame for an unexpected decrease in water pressure.
“Many older homes built before 1960 have galvanized piping,” Thompson says. “They corrode from the inside out and will eventually stop up completely.”
While replacing old pipes will probably require the help of a professional, you can combat some causes of low water pressure with a few easy DIY plumbing fixes. Here are some common culprits in low water pressure situations, some DIY tricks to fix the issues and a list of problems only the pros should handle.
If you’ve noticed low water pressure in your shower or bathroom sink becoming a bigger problem over time, it may be a simple issue of buildup of limescale or mineral deposits on your fixtures. This is especially likely for homes that have hard water.
Buildup should be visually evident on your fixtures, but to test for this problem, remove your faucet or showerhead to see if the water pressure seems stronger without the fixture.
If that normalizes the flow, simply soak your aerator or showerhead in a solution of vinegar and water, then scrub off the deposits. Reattach the fixture and …. voila! Your flow should be back to normal.
Check the Hot Water Heater Shut-Off Valve
In cases in which low water pressure seems to only effect hot water flow, your water heater is likely to blame.
Check the shut-off valve on your unit and open it completely if it’s partially closed. If that fails to fix your flow issues, contact a pro to check your plumbing and water heater.
See if There's a Pressure-Reducing Valve
If low water pressure in your shower is just one of many pressure problems affecting your whole house, several causes could be at work. If you’ve just purchased a new home and the pressure has always been low, the previous homeowner may have installed a pressure-reducing valve to save money on water bills.
Ask your neighbors if they have low water pressure. If the problem seems to be isolated to your home, find out if you have a pressure-reducing valve. If so, have a pro adjust the valve to allow more flow or check if you have any built up debris in the strainer that would affect the flow.
If your neighbors also have low pressure, installing a water pressure booster to improve the flow of water from your fixtures may also be an option.
Adjust the Main Shut-Off Valve
If your neighbors get good water flow and you don’t have a pressure-reducing valve, you could have an issue with your main valve or a leak.
Check if your main shut-off valve is completely open. If not, adjust it and see if that solves the problem. If that doesn’t work, check for evidence of a leak, such as water pooling in your basement, garage or yard.
Call a Professional Plumber
When your DIY efforts to deal with low water pressure in your bathroom fail, you suspect you have deteriorating pipes, or you have other plumbing issues, contact the licensed professional plumbers at John C. Flood to help.
We have plumbers serving the D.C. area, including D.C., Virginia and Maryland. There’s no reason to continue suffering with low flow in your bathroom!