Why is My Water Pressure Suddenly Low?
Struggling to make a coffee without waiting half an hour for the kettle to fill? Or wondering why your shower is as powerful as a kiddie’s toy watering can?
If your faucets aren’t producing more than a slow trickle, you may have low water pressure. There are several causes of low pressure, from burst pipes to clogs. So let’s look at each cause and find a solution to your water pressure frustration.
Spot the Signs of Low Water Pressure
It’s easy to spot the signs of low water pressure. Slow running trickles of water are the most obvious signs, together with a hissing sound when you turn on the faucet.
There are some other signs to look out for though, including:
- Less water running through the pipes when using more than one faucet.
- The washing machine takes ages to fill and doesn’t wash properly (the same applies to dishwashers).
- Not enough water to flush the toilet correctly.
- Strange sounds coming from the pipes.
What is the standard method for measuring water pressure?
Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). In a nutshell, the higher the number, the stronger your water pressure.
Your ideal water pressure should be between 40 and 60 PSI. The reason being is that if your water pressure is too high, it could lead to burst pipes and leaks. However, if it’s too low, you’re left with a trickle of water from the faucet.
Using a Water Pressure Gauge
It’s easy to prepare your home and measure your water pressure.
- Turn off all water appliances, like washing machines, dishwashers, and irrigation systems.
- Attach a pressure gauge to an outdoor faucet.
- Turn on the faucet to which you’ve attached the gauge.
- Let the water run for a minute to allow the pressure to stabilize.
- Read the gauge’s measurement.
If it’s above or below 40-60 PSI, you could have plumbing problems.
What Causes a Drop in Water Pressure?
If you notice low water pressure in your home, it could be due to several possible causes. If you need help figuring out where to start, call a professional.
When minerals like iron react with oxygen in the water, it causes corrosion and rust. So if your water tastes slightly metallic or looks discolored, you could have a build-up of rust.
Unfortunately, rust leads to more expensive repair problems, like burst pipes. So replacements are necessary to solve your water pressure problem and prevent further expenses down the line.
A Problem With the Municipal Water Supply
You may be experiencing low water pressure, but it may not be the fault of your plumbing. Perhaps a mains water pipe has burst or your water supplier is having difficulties at their end.
So before calling out a Bell Bros Plumber, give your water supplier a call.
Why does your water pressure drop the further away you live from your supplier?
It’s all down to pipe friction.
Think about professional cyclists – they wear sleek cycling helmets and have aerodynamic bikes. This is so they can go faster against the friction of the air.
As your water passes through your pipes, the friction from the metal slows it down. So, by the time it reaches your home, especially if it’s some distance from the main supplier, it’s lowered the speed and consequently the pressure.
You Have an Airlock
A change in water pressure can lead to air getting trapped in your pipes. When this happens, the airlock prevents water from passing through, causing low water pressure.
Here’s the thing.
Airlocks can cause significant damage to your pipes if left unchecked. Of course, you can try fixing it yourself by turning on all the faucets in your home at full blast. Or by bleeding your radiators. But if those methods fail, and you don’t have DIY plumbing knowledge, call in a professional.
The Pipes are Clogged
Clogged pipes are probably one of the most common causes of low water pressure. Grease, food debris, and hair find their way into your drains and, over time, cause blockages that prevent water from flowing as freely as it should.
Try a simple cupboard solution of baking soda and white vinegar solution to unblock minor clogs. If that fails, try a drain snake or plunger. But for those stubborn clogs, call a professional Bell Bros plumber.
Need to sort your water pressure out? Contact us today for all your Sacramento and East Bay plumbing needs.