Poor water pressure can be a nightmare that you will want to fix as soon as possible. If your home has bad pressure, there are a few steps that you can take to tackle this. Some of these steps might seem like common sense, but they are all important and should be looked into before you start.
Check for Possible Water Pressure Problems
There are a number of factors that could be causing your poor water pressure. The most likely culprit is clogged pipes and there are some steps that you can take to check this. If you have new pipes or your home is relatively new, this will not be an issue and you have to look at some other potential causes.
The first point to check will be the water shutoff valve. This valve is generally located close to your water meter and you need to check that it is completely open. If the valve is partially closed, it will cause a drop in your water pressure. While checking this might seem like common sense, there are a lot of plumbers who have been called out and all they do is turn the valve handle.
Once your water valve is completely open, you will need to check the water pressure. If your home is on city water, you will be able to ask the local water department for a reading. If the pressure reading is between 45 and 55 PSI, you are in the ideal water pressure range.
You can also test your water pressure yourself by using a pressure gauge. These devices are sold at your local home center and all you need to do is attach it to an outside faucet. Once the pressure gauge is on, you will need to turn on the water and get the reading.
If your reading is low, your water provider may be delivering the water at low pressure. If the city is unable or unwilling to increase the water pressure, you will need to look into getting a water pressure booster system. These systems can be purchased from a plumbing store or a home center.
If your water pressure reading is in the ideal range, you might have obstructions on your pipes that are causing the problems. You will generally have to call a plumber near you to look at this as these obstructions may be small. Additionally, your pipes might be too small to provide the water pressure that you want in certain areas. This will also require a professional plumber to replace them and determine if this is actually the cause of the low pressure.
Installing A Pressure Booster
If the problem with your low pressure comes from city water supply and there is nothing that can be done about this, you need to install a pressure booster. This is ideal if you have a ¾ inch or larger plastic or copper water main in your home. The water booster will generally cost around $300, but will take care of the pressure issues.
If you are going to install a booster, you need to ensure that it has the right setting for your home. Any setting of over 80 PSI will wear out the washers in your plumbing and this will cause additional issues. You will also need to get a plumbing permit if you want to install the booster yourself so that the work is inspected. There are some municipalities that need reduced pressure as well as a backflow prevent to be installed when you use a booster.
The booster will improve your water pressure by using an electric pump and pressure tank. There will generally be a dial on the top of the system that adjusts the pressure. The tank of the system will hold the reserve of pressurized water so your pump does not run each time a tap is turned on. This will also help to boost the flow of water when there is a high demand.
Check The Pressure-Reducing Valve
If you have a pressure reading that is less than 40 PSI, you need to look for a pressure-reducing valve. This is often mounted on the water main and could cause some issues with water pressure.
These valves will need to be adjusted correctly to ensure that they are working properly. Most will come from the factory set for 50 PSI, but you can adjust this by turning the screw on the top of the valve. These valves generally last up to 20 years and could be reducing your pressure when they start to wear.
If you have an old valve, you might need to replace it. You can do this yourself as little plumbing experience is required for the task. However, you can also call a professional if you are nervous about working with your water main and any pressure valves.