Low water pressure issues can be incredibly frustrating for homeowners. The washing machine takes forever to fill, and your morning shower is hardly refreshing when even the hot water from the shower stream is weak. If you’re noticing water pressure problems at home, a number of culprits could be to blame. There could be a water leak somewhere in the water supply line, and a change in your water bills could be the first giveaway that something’s amiss. Below, we’ll explore the most common reasons why your taps have low water pressure and how you can troubleshoot these issues.
1. Check the water meter valve.
Most homes have two main shutoff valves that control how much of the water supply enters the house. The shutoff valve is called the water meter valve. The valve is located next to the water meter if you’re on city water.
Most of the time, you won’t even think about this valve or need to change it. Technically, it belongs to the water company, and their workers will be the ones handling the valve, fixing it, or replacing it. But this valve could be the culprit for your low-pressure woes if:
The water flow throughout the house is low
You’ve had recent work completed on your plumbing system
If that’s the case, the valve might not be fully open. Partially closed valves reduce the flow of the water supply to the home. Luckily, it’s an easy fix for most homeowners.
Go outside, and check the meter valve. It’s usually located on an outer wall of the home, or in an attached garage or utility shed. It might also be located in an underground box between the house and the street. You’ll know the valve is fully open if the valve handle is parallel with the water pipe. If the handle is at an angle, then the valve isn’t fully open, and it’s probably the reason for your low water pressure. The handle, which in most cases is a small metal tab, might need to be turned with a wrench to open it up and restore the water pressure to your taps. If you don’t have the tools to get the valve open, contact us, and we’ll get out there asap to open the valve.
2. Check the main house shut off valve.
The other shutoff valve that could be reducing the pressure of the water supply is the home’s shutoff valve, which is usually located somewhere in the house, but it could be on the outside wall, too. It’s most likely near the spot where the city’s main water supply line enters the home. Check that valve to make sure it is fully open too. There are two types of these valves – a gate valve, or a ball valve.
A gate valve has a handle that looks like a wheel. You’ll open it in a counterclockwise direction. If you have a ball valve, it will have a lever handle that will need to be parallel to the pipe to be fully open.
3. The pressure regulator could need replacing.
A faulty pressure reducing valve or pressure regulator can also cause water flow issues in the house. Pressure regulators are control valves that minimise the input pressure from the water supply system. Keeping the incoming water pressure at a safe level will keep the pipes from bursting. These valves aren’t in every home, but if your home has one, an old or broken pressure reducing valve could be the cause of your issues. Not only can it cause low water pressure at the taps, but it can also cause high water pressure, too. If your water pressure issues are present at all plumbing fixtures in the home and the problem seemed to happen overnight, the pressure regulator is most likely to blame.
To check the pressure regulator, you’ll want to test the water pressure with a water pressure gauge. Attach it to the outside hose spigot that is closest to either the pressure regulator or main water line. If the pressure tests low, you’ll need a new pressure reducing valve.
Replacing one of these isn’t something you should do yourself. Call our licensed and experienced plumbers at All Plumbing Works to replace your regulator and get your water pressure back to where it should be.