I think we would all agree that good water pressure is all part of our quality of life. No one likes to take a shower, wash the dishes, or wash their car when our water pressure is low. Whether you’re a homeowner, business owner, or renter, finding the culprit for slow water pressure can be an easy task. So before you call your plumbing technician, go through the process of elimination. First and foremost, Is your water pressure isolated to one area. For example, is the low water pressure in the shower or one particular faucet? If so, then the problem is usually due to calcium or minerals built up in your showerhead or faucet. Mineral deposits in your shower head or faucet will inhibit the flow of water. In actuality, the pressure is fine; it’s the small holes in the showerhead that are clogged.
Simple Solutions For Low water Pressure On Showerheads and Faucet
There are two solutions for low water pressure in your shower. It usually takes years for a showerhead to get clogged, so unless you have a high-end showerhead, it’s best to purchase a new low-flow showerhead. Another solution is to remove the showerhead and soak it overnight in a plastic bag with white vinegar. The vinegar will break down the mineral deposits. You may have to scrape some off, but your showerhead will be as good as new. If your faucet has slow water pressure, it may be something as simple as replacing the aerator on the faucet. Remove the old aerator and turn on the water, if the water flow is fine, then the problem is the aerator. You can purchase one from your local home center for less than five dollars.
Is Your Low Water Pressure Gradual Or Immediate?
Is your low water pressure gradual or immediate? If immediate, you’ll want to talk with neighbors to see if they’re having the same issue. In rare cases, a water main may have broke, or there could be a problem with the city’s municipal water supply. Construction projects are known to slow the water pressure in neighborhoods, especially during peak hours of water usage. A broken fire hydrant is also known to slow water pressure. As long as your neighbors are experiencing the same issue, then the problem is with the city’s water supply.
Check Your Homes Shut-Off Valve
Some common problems, like a partially closed shut-off valve, will prevent water flow. A partially closed shut-off valve is more common than one might think. The handle could get bumped, or even kids could have had their way with it. In any case, it should be the first thing you should check if you have had a sudden drop in water pressure. Make sure the valve is completely open.
Calcium And Mineral Buildup Is Prevalent In Old Pipes
In some instances, the bad water pressure creeps up on you over many years until you realize there’s a real problem. Hard water can cause calcium and minerals to build up in our pipes, restricting water flow. The problem is common in old homes with both galvanized steel and copper pipes. A homeowner may have also experienced water leaks. Many homeowners think their pipes will never wear out, but copper pipes have a 40-50 life span—galvanized steel around 60 years. Builders have not used galvanized steel pipes in new construction for over 60 years, so replacing them is a wise decision.
Broken PRV Valve Is Usually The Problem
Check your Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) closely. A PRV valve is a mechanism designed to regulate the water pressure to a safe level in your home. According to the city code, water pressure is regulated between 40 and 80 pounds per inch (PSI); 50 PSI is right where your plumbing technician will usually set it. If your PRV valve has never been replaced, and you live in an older home, the chances are it’s the reason for your bad water pressure.
Some of the signs that your PVR valve needs replacing:
- No water Pressure
- Low water Pressure
- Hammering or vibrating noises
- High water pressure
Your PVR valve has a ten 10-15 year life expectancy. Your plumbing contractor will advise changing it every ten years. Also, keep in mind that the valve is known to malfunction in just a few years. Words of caution, a broken PVR valve can also cause high water pressure, which will put significant stress on your appliances and plumbing system.