Low water pressure can mess up a lot of things in the house: a good shower, dishwasher work, cleaning dishes in the sink, getting water from your fridge, and a whole other slew of issues. It’s important to figure out what’s causing the low water pressure and fix it so you can get back to peak performance in your home.
Corroded galvanized iron pipes are a common cause of low water pressure. If you live in an older house, it may well have galvanized iron pipes that have corroded inside over the years. The accumulated corrosion eventually restricts the water flow. Fortunately, there is usually a solution. Corrosion builds up behind restrictions in the pipe, such as the angle valves under the sinks, shower or bath valves. To repair, shut off the water to the house and remove the valves. Use two pipe wrenches, one to turn the valve and the other to prevent the pipe from turning. Once the valves are off, you will likely see the hard, corroded material in the pipe. Chip it out with a screwdriver and hammer, and clean it out the best you can. Reconnect the valves and run water to flush out any debris.
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Showers and baths are more problematic because the valves are usually in the wall. If you have an access panel, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, you will have to break out the wall, remove the valve and clean the pipe, then patch the wall. Before you do that on a shower, check that it's not just a clogged showerhead. Remove it and clean out any deposits that might have accumulated in there.
Another common cause is the pressure regulator, which is a bell-shaped device usually found on the front house connection to your home. They’re preset by the manufacturers and don’t often need to be adjusted. However, they go bad sometimes and cause your pressure to go down in your home. By calling a plumber to replace the regular, you can get the pressure going back up again your home without having to call the manufacturer.
Other problems you might have causing low water pressure are the valves and pipes. They could be leaking or turned off. Valves get turned off by accident, so making sure that the “home” and “customer” valve are turned on is very important. Check the water meter box located near the water hose faucet for those two. Then check your pipes to make sure there are no leaks, as this could significantly reduce your water pressure by pushing all the pressure through the pipes onto the ground outside.
If you cannot find any of these problems and still have low water pressure, you need to call in a professional plumber. They can diagnose the problem and get your water pressure rising again. You don’t want to live without the water pressure you think you should have.