Low water pressure is a low-grade annoyance every time you turn on a tap. Proper water pressure for a home should average around 60 p.s.i. depending on local norms and time of day. Anything below 40 p.s.i. generally falls into the category of low water pressure and needs to be diagnosed. Resolving most causes of low pressure usually requires the services of a qualified professional plumber. However, these two exceptions may be DIY-friendly:
- Check your main water shutoff valve. If you know where it is and how to operate it, verify that the valve’s open all the way. If it was shut off in the past for some reason and not fully opened afterwards, water pressure in the house will be low. If the valve seems hard to turn, don’t try to force it open. Consult a plumber, instead.
- Look for isolated causes. Is water pressure consistently low throughout the entire house — or only at certain fixtures? If it’s the latter, check for specific causes at the fixture such as mineral deposits clogging the orifices of a showerhead or the faucet aerator in a sink. These can usually be cleaned by soaking in vinegar or simply discarded and economically replaced.
If you’ve done your part but the pressure’s still low, it’s time to call in a professional. These are some of the usual suspects he’ll investigate:
- Defective pressure reduction valve. Installed at the water meter to adjust municipal pressure down to residential specs, a faulty or maladjusted PRV may reduce household pressure excessively.
- Undetected leaks in the main water supply line underground or beneath the foundation.
- Accumulation of mineral deposits in supply lines. Usually calcium carbonate known as “scale,” over time these deposits gradually narrow the diameter of the pipe, obstructing flow and reducing pressure.
- Corroded plumbing. Galvanized steel water pipes no longer used in home construction are vulnerable to internal corrosion. As the inside of the pipe deteriorates, water flow is diminished and pressure throughout the system declines.
Contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling to resolve low water pressure issues in your home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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