How to Fix a Low Water Pressure Problem: Tips and Tricks

Tips for Low Water Pressure

Are you experiencing low water pressure at your house? Low water pressure is not only frustrating, it could also be an indication of a future problem. Sometimes water pressure can drop so gradually it goes unnoticed, until one day, you're left wondering what happened!

​Sediment is the most common cause of low hot water pressure. Any type of debris in your water such as sand, calcium deposits or rust, would be considered sediment. It not only can develop over time within your water heater and plumbing, but it also comes into your home thru the municipal water supply. As sediment collects within your plumbing, your water pressure begins to decrease.

Fixing Low Pressure

Low Hot Water Pressure

If you find that your hot water pressure is low, but your cold water pressure is fine, there's a good chance the problem is your water heater. 

Tip 1 - Check the Shut-off Valve

Occasionally the shut-off valve will be partially closed. Ball valves are commonly used for shut-off valves. They are an excellent plumbing choice, but they have a long lever that can sometimes inadvertently get knocked, which could result in the valve partially closing.

Tip 2 - Check the Pipe Size

Most water heaters are installed with 3/4" pipes for the incoming and outgoing water supply to the heater. Occasionally 1/2" pipes are used. The size of the pipe will definitely impact the amount of water pressure you receive in your house, a 1/2" pipe will not allow as much water to pass and therefore reduce your hot water pressure. Unless you're comfortable with plumbing, it's probably best to contact a professional to increase the size of your pipes. 

Tip 3 - Drain the Tank

When excessive sediment builds up within the water heater tank it can decrease your hot water pressure. Draining the sediment from your tank should be part of a regular maintenance routine, but let's face it, it doesn't always happen.

 Whole House Low Water Pressure

Tip 1 - Talk to Your Neighbors

Ask your neighbors if they have water pressure issues. If you are not alone, it's a good chance installing a water pressure booster will fix the problem. These systems simply increase the water pressure after the main water line, giving the water a boost before it reaches your faucets.

Tip 2 - Check for a Water Reducing Valve

If your neighbors tell you that you're the only house on the block with water pressure problems, it could because of a water pressure reducing valve. These valves are designed to reduce the water pressure from the municipal water supply before it enters your home's plumbing.

The valve may have been installed before you purchased your home. Water company's set the water pressure higher than necessary to be able to deliver adequate water pressure to fire hydrants and tall buildings. ​As changes occurred in your neighborhood, the need to decrease the incoming water may no longer be necessary. 

It's a good idea to hire a professional plumber to adjust a water reducing valve, although it is possible to do it yourself.​

Tip 3 - Check the Main Water Valve

Your home's incoming plumbing attaches to a municipal water supply line. The supply line is usually at the edge of your property, near the street. Occasionally the valve will not be fully open which can cause the water to be restricted. This can negatively impact your household water pressure. The fix is easy if this is your problem. Simply find the junction box and check to make sure the valve is fully open. 

Tip 4 - Check for Leaks 

Unfortunately, water leaks happen. If you have a leak, you may have noticed an increase in your water bill as your water usage gradually increases.

Begin by checking the ground around the water main. Then check your basement and garage. You may find pooling water or other evidence that water is leaking. If you find a problem you should contact your water company. Depending on where the leak is, they may take responsibility for the repair costs.​

Tip 5 - Check the Pipes

​Galvanized pipes are sometimes used for a home's plumbing system. Overtime rust and corrosion will build-up within the pipes and cause a noticeable decrease in water pressure. In a worst case scenario, the galvanized pipe could become completely clogged and not allow any water to pass.

Your options are pretty limited if this is the case of your low water pressure problem. Contact a professional plumber for advice on your specific situation. He may be able to clear some of the pipes or he may suggest replacing the plumbing entirely. ​

Reduced Water Pressure in the Shower 

Tip 1 - Mineral Build-up

Showers are prone to be the only source of low water pressure. More often than not, the problem is the shower head itself. Mineral build-up, also known as limescale, will eventually clog the tiny holes of the shower head. As more and more of the small spray holes become clogged the water pressure decreases. 

​Many homeowners simply replace the shower head to solve the problem. However, you can frequently unclog the spray holes. Simply remove the shower head and soak it overnight in a deliming solution such as CLR. 

Check the manufacturers recommendations before soaking. Some of the finishes used on shower heads may be damaged by the solution. 

Reduced Water Pressure at the Sink

Tip 1 - Mineral Build-up

A common cause of low water pressure at the sink is from the aerator. If you notice that both your hot and cold water is not flowing as it once was, it's possible that your faucet aerator is clogged with mineral build-up.

Remove the aerator and turn the water on. If the water flow is strong, your aerator was clogged. You can buy a new one or place it in a deliming solution to soak overnight. ​

Tip 2 - Check the Water Line

Once you've determined that the problem wasn't the aerator, it's time to look under the sink and check the water line. Galvanized pipes were often used in many older homes. These pipes are prone to mineral deposits, and overtime will clog to a point where it makes a noticeable difference with the amount of water pressure available.  

Unless you are comfortable with plumbing, it's probably best to contact a professional plumber to assess the situation and recommend a course of action.​