Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure usually results when you've been forced to turn on two different plumbing fixtures at the same time, whether they are the outside garden hose, the kitchen/bathroom sink, the toilet, or even the shower.
Although your water pressure may be sufficient when only one fixture is operational, you'll definitely notice a drop in water flow when the second fixture comes into use.
In most cases low water pressure affects you in many other areas around the house. If low water pressure is affecting only your shower head, you should check for an obstruction in the shower head or see if your shower head has a water conservation filter installed. However, there are numerous factors and situations that may result in low water pressure, which is why the trick is determining which cause it is and how best to solve the problem.
Some typical problems that can lead to low water pressure are:
- Pressure regulators
- Water leaks
- Peak periods
- Mineral deposits
- Municipality restrictions
Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV)
The water PRV is a bell-shaped device generally found below the front hose connection of your home. The regulators are generally preset by the manufacturer at about 3-4 bar and, in most cases, don't need to be adjusted. But there in lies the problem.
Sometimes a pressure regulator simply goes bad and needs to be replaced. But rather than calling a professional, a homeowner takes matters into their own hands, which can lead to further water flow problems. Pressure regulators can be replaced or fixed easily by a licensed plumber at a reasonable cost.
Any damage to the pipe that results in a leak, whether large or small, will result in a lower water pressure. The issue here is how to determine if you have a leak or not. The trick is to read the meter and not the bill.
To do this, you should shut off all water taps inside and outside the home. Read the meter after doing this and return two hours later. If your water usage has increased, chances are you have a leak and need to contact a certified plumber as soon as possible.
Although you might not realize it, most of us operate during the same hours during the day. So, low water pressure could be the result of the majority of your neighbourhood using the shower at the same time every morning or watering the lawn at the same time every evening. If that's the case, you might look at altering your schedule a bit.
In older houses or in houses built with galvanized iron pipes, mineral deposits are unavoidable over time and it doesn't help that hot water and horizontal pipes speed up the process.
But if you believe the problem to be the result of mineral deposits or piping, the best thing to do is to get a reputable, certified plumber to the house for an estimate so you can gauge the extent of repairs that need to be made.
Many municipalities have residential water pressure restrictions. This has been done to decrease the city's water consumption. Unfortunately, along with decreasing the volume of water used, this also limits the water pressure available in your house.
Hire a Pro
The bottom line when you need to increase water pressure is that you can check the simple things yourself. However, when it comes to the bigger issues like pipe erosion, blockage, or leaks, it's best to consult a professional. By checking the valves and monitoring water usage amounts and schedules, you can either eliminate the problem or identify the need to call in the reinforcements.
The last thing you want to do is to make any problem bigger than it already is, so lean on a professional to help and rest assured, once the problem is fixed, you can go back to being yourself.