Help! My Water Pressure Is Too Low!
If water pressure is too low in your Central Indiana home, you’re bound to experience some frustration when taking a shower under a trickling tap. Low water pressure may also cause trouble when you’re trying to complete chores. While this issue is quite common, the causes aren’t always severe.
Mr. Plumber’s Indianapolis plumbers walk you through the potential reasons your water pressure is too low. We share troubleshooting tips to help you correct simple issues and let you know when it’s best to call our plumbers to handle water pressure problems. When it’s time to schedule plumbing repairs, give Mr. Plumber a call.
Water Pressure in Your Indianapolis Home
Water needs to be pressurized so it is able to flow through the supply system and your home plumbing system. If your home has “city water” from a municipal source, water is pressurized at a treatment facility near a reservoir or via water towers that use their altitude, allowing gravity to naturally create pressure within the water supply. If you are on a well, your home has its own pressure tank that pressurizes your water supply as it moves into your home.
Typically, home water pressure is 45 to 55 psi (pounds per square inch), though it safely goes up to 80 psi. Water pressure is too low when it falls at or below 40 psi. When water pressure is too low, it seems like there is not enough water coming out your taps. On the flipside, it’s not good for water pressure to be too high, as this causes damage to plumbing lines and leaks.
Reasons Why Your Water Pressure Is Too Low
Low water pressure is a common issue that can stem from many different causes. Sometimes, an issue occurs with the municipal water source that impacts the water pressure in your home, as well as the water pressure of other customers. An example is a water supply main break. Once the municipal water provider makes necessary repairs, water pressure in the home is restored. Until that point, you’re stuck with low water pressure.
When water pressure is too low due to factors that exist within your home, you have more control. Some of these issues are able to resolve with simple do it yourself troubleshooting. Others require a plumber’s assessment and repair.
Possible reasons water pressure is too low include:
- Too much demand
- Shutoff valve problems
- Fixture and appliance problems
- Problems with the pressure regulator
- Undersized branch lines
- Clogs and corrosion within pipes
Too Much Demand
Busy Indianapolis households that run multiple water-consuming applications simultaneously often suffer because water pressure is too low. This is because the household’s demand for water is too high at a given time.
Your home may simply not have an adequate water supply to comfortably supply all the applications you wish to run at once. As more applications are in use, the water supply is split which limits the amount of water available for each application. This creates a situation where it seems like water pressure is too low. However, when you cut back on applications and just run one at a time, water pressure is perfectly normal.
If this is a problem in your home, you need to adjust how your household uses water. Try and time usage so just one application runs at a time. Do not run several high water volume applications at the same time, such as showering and running the washing machine. Instead, time activities so they are staggered. This way, everyone receives ample water pressure to stay comfortable and complete their task.
Shutoff Valve Problems
The home’s main water shutoff valve allows water into the home or restricts it when the valve is closed. The home also has several individual shutoff valves which allow you to disconnect water to a specific fixture – very handy when leaks arise. These valves need to be completely opened to deliver an unobstructed water supply.
Troubleshoot when water pressure is too low by checking shutoff valves. For low water pressure throughout the home, start at the main shutoff valve and verify it is completely open. The main shutoff valve is found outside by the hose bib or inside within a utility room or closet. When water pressure is too low at a particular fixture, you also need to check that fixture’s dedicated shutoff valve to verify it is opened all the way. Individual shutoff valves are usually found behind toilets and below sinks.
Fixture and Appliance Problems
The water coming into your home carries lots of minerals and other matter. These debris fall out of suspension and gather within fixtures like faucets and showerheads. As they accumulate, they begin to restrict water movement through the fixture. When they create a sizeable clog, water movement is greatly inhibited and water pressure is too low.
This issue is often solved by cleaning out your fixtures:
- Take down showerheads and clean out debris using a cleaning brush within the opening where water enters and at the nozzles where water comes out.
- If there is a filter in place in your showerhead, remove and clean this, too.
- Remove aerators from your faucet and scrub off mineral deposits. If aerators cannot be properly cleaned, replace them.
- Soak aerators and shower heads in a bowl filled with white vinegar. Leave them to soak overnight, then rinse and take a scrub brush to any deposits remaining before you reinstall the component.
Some showerheads have a component called a flow restrictor which allows less water to be used when you shower. Normally, this component is a positive thing as it helps with water conservation. But, if water pressure is too low in the home, this component further restricts flow, adding to the problem. Remove the flow restrictor and reinstall the showerhead. Directions are found within the showerhead’s user manual if this component is in place.
When malfunctions occur within auxiliary plumbing systems like home filtration or water softeners, this is also a cause of low water pressure. All water in the home passes through these devices, so if a problem occurs with the system, all water pressure is too low. Homeowners are able to avoid this problem by bypassing the water softener or filtration system until it is repaired. Bypassing the system means water supply skips treatment temporarily, until the bypass is undone.
Problems with the Pressure Regulator
A pressure regulator is an optional plumbing system component that stabilizes the home’s water pressure. If a malfunction occurs with this component, water pressure is too low or too high. Often, you notice water pressures at both ends of the spectrum but no middle ground.
To troubleshoot, first look to see if your home has a pressure regulator – it has a bell shape and sits under the front hose bib of your home. There is a small screw at the tip of the pressure regulator that allows for adjustment – turn the screw tighter to raise water pressure or turn it looser to lower water pressure. If adjusting the pressure regulator doesn’t affect water pressure in the home, call your plumber as this component may need to be replaced.
Undersized Branch Lines
The branch lines are the pipes that separate off the vertical supply stack line in a home. They feed fixtures in different areas of the home with necessary water. However, as new appliances and fixtures are added to the home, the branch pipes may not be large enough to deliver adequate water. Therefore, water pressure is too low.
Have your plumber evaluate your plumbing system to determine if branch lines are appropriately sized for water demand throughout your home. If wider lines are needed, your plumber is able to perform this upgrade.
Clogs and Corrosion within Pipes
Clogs and corrosion are two issues that affect supply pipes, making it so that water pressure is too low. Mineral deposits build up here, too, just like in your fixtures. As this debris accumulates, a clog forms that limits water flow through the pipe. Older metal pipes corrode over time, which causes blockages in the lines. A sign your pipes are clogged is if water pressure is fine when you turn on a tap, but right after that, water pressure is too low.
Treatment for clogs and corrosion in your pipes needs to be performed by a plumber. There are a few different treatments that may be used depending on the severity of the clog and condition of the pipes. Sometimes, it is possible to clean blockages from the pipes and remove debris inside them. In other cases, it is necessary to replace sections of piping or upgrade the home’s plumbing system to avoid further issues.
If Your Water Pressure Is Too Low, Call Mr. Plumber
When water pressure is too low, inconvenience is certain. Don’t suffer with low water pressure longer than necessary – call Mr. Plumber. Our licensed Indianapolis plumbers come out to your home quickly and assess your plumbing system in order to find the source of water pressure issues. We make fast, reliable repairs to restore your system and prevent those frustrating drops in water pressure.