Homeowners often complain about their water pressure being low, especially from the spigots and faucets. The standard water pressure should measure 50 psi in a home.
PSI is an abbreviation for pounds per every square inch. PSI is the unit used in measuring water pressure. If the pressure is lower than 40 psi, combined with low pressure from the faucets, then respond to the problem by starting with determining the reason behind it.
Sometimes, the issue may be with your municipal water system supply. If that’s the case, then you might be unable to resolve it by yourself.
If you reside in the rural area, then the problem might be originating from the underground well system. You might find it easier to address problems originating from the well than those originating from the municipal supply.
Whether your water is coming from a well or the municipal supply, most water pressure issues are as a result of old, corroded pipes.
The issue may be due to a clogged water heater as a result of sediment accumulation. If the issue of low pressure is only with one specific fixture, then you can probably fix it by simply cleaning the affected fixture. Cleaning a fixture is something you can do quite easily.
Is the Low Water Pressure Affecting One or More Fixtures?
If you start noticing that a faucet has low pressure, then proceed to check whether other faucets and fixtures in your home have the same problem.
In case the pressure is low in a particular faucet but normal in other faucets, then focus on repairing the faucet with low water flow.
However, if the low water flow affects the entire home, then the problem is most probably with the main water supply.
If you’re served by the municipal supply system, then your nearby neighbors may also be affected. You can try calling them to know whether they have the same problem.
In case they’re not experiencing any pressure problems, then the problem may be limited to your home. In this case, adjust the pressure regulator in your home. In case you’re served by a well, then check the pump gauge.
Adjusting the Water Pressure from the Well
Well systems use a pressure tank to supply water throughout the home. The tank comes with a bladder or diaphragm for separating the underground water being pumped from the air cushioning at the tank’s top surface. Another pump is used to pressurize the water being held within the tank.
Water pressure from the tank may fall for several reasons such as a ruptured bladder, broken seal within the pump, or an issue that may be preventing proper pump cycling.
The low pressure can also be as a result of an incorrectly set pump switch. You can find the water pressure gauge on the water pump. Here’s how to adjust it:
Tip 1: If the water pump fails to cycle when the water pressure is lower than 30 psi, then check whether the pump’s circuit breaker has tripped. In case the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped, then adjust the cut-out and cut-in points of the switch.
Tip 2: If you notice that the pump is running continuously without any increase in the water pressure, then it might be an indication that the tank or pump needs repair or replacement.
In this case, switch off the circuit breaker to prevent it from burning out. Proceed to call a well specialist or plumber.
Adjusting the Municipal Supply Line Pressure Regulator
Homes that receive water from municipal supply systems often have a water pressure regulator. The regulator is mostly located after the main water meter.
Try adjusting the regulator by yourself. However, monitor the water pressure to ensure you don’t adjust it excessively. You can check the pressure by screwing a water pressure gauge on any spigot in your laundry room or basement and then open a faucet.
Next, check the pressure reading. In case the pressure is less than 40 psi, then open the pressure regulator until the pressure reaches 50 psi.
You can use a pipe wrench to adjust the regulator. The pressure may be a bit higher but should never go beyond 60 psi. You’ll see a nut at the top area of your water regulator. Turn the nut clockwise to increase the pressure.
Flushing Your Water Heater
If you notice that the faucets of your water heater have low pressure, then it’s an indication that the tank is blocked due to accumulation of scale. Manufacturers recommend water heaters to be flushed once annually.
Failure to do so results in blockages of the water outlet and inlet. You should clean the tank by emptying it and disconnecting all the pipes.
You can also flush the water tank after emptying it. First, drain the water tank by closing the inlet and opening the outlet.
Next, pour vinegar (one gallon) through the opening of the pressure-relieving valve or anode. Then refill the hot water tank. Allow the solution to settle for 24 hours. Vinegar will help to dissolve the scale within the tank.
Use Vinegar to Clean the Faucets
If your sink faucet has low water flow, then it’s probably due to the build-up of scale within the faucet valve or aerator. In this case, remove the aerator by unscrewing it. Then soak it in vinegar overnight.
Next, put back the aerator and turn on the faucet. If there’s no improvement in the water pressure, then you’ll need to disassemble the entire faucet.
Upon disassembling it, take out the faucet valve and soak it in vinegar overnight. Remember to remove any rubber washers and gaskets before soaking the valve.
These procedures are quite simple. However, before disassembling the aerator or faucet, check whether someone might have partially turned off the shutoff valve underneath the sink.
Low water flow issues in the shower or tub can be corrected similarly. If your shower is the one experiencing low water flow, simply remove the showerhead and soak it in vinegar. If this fails to solve the issue, remove the shower valve for cleaning.
Replace Any Corroded Plumbing
Flow problems can also result from galvanized pipes. These pipes tend to corrode within them, thereby narrowing down. As a result, the water flow will reduce due to the reduced interior diameter.
In case they have corroded to the extent of making the water pressure coming from the faucets too low, then it’s time to replace the pipes. Replace them with PEX, CPVC, or copper pipes. The replacement project may require hiring a plumber.