What You Can Do About Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can be an ongoing annoyance for the entire household. Showers lack force, washing machines and toilet tanks are slow to refill and it’s difficult to get enough pressure for heavier duty cleaning like washing the car. Residential water pressure should be at least 45 PSI (the average is around 60 PSI). You can make a rough guesstimate by clocking how long it takes to fill a 5-gallon bucket. If your pressure’s in the normal range, that should take no longer than 40 seconds.

If your suspicions are confirmed and your pressure’s below average, you’ll probably need a qualified plumber to diagnose the exact cause and determine solutions. Here are some of the typical reasons for low water pressure in a home:

  • Shutoff valve not fully open. If someone closed your main water shutoff valve for any reason, then didn’t open it fully afterwards, water pressure will be low. If you know the location of the shutoff valve, try to open it further and see if pressure improves. If it’s difficult to turn, don’t force it. Call a plumber.
  • Defective pressure reducing valve (PRV). Because water pressure coming straight off the municipal line is too high for residential systems, many homes have a PRV installed in or near the water meter. If the valve is maladjusted or defective, it may be reducing pressure too much.
  • Hidden leak. The main water line buried in your yard and beneath your foundation may be leaking without visible signs on the surface—yet.
  • Mineral deposits. Calcium carbonate dissolved in municipal water causes deposits inside pipes over the years. When the build-up becomes excessive, flow is obstructed and water pressure inside the home is decreased. Re-piping is generally indicated.
  • Clogged fixtures. If low pressure is limited to certain fixtures only, like a single shower or faucet, the showerhead or faucet aerator may have become obstructed by mineral deposits or other debris. Cleaning or replacing the individual component may resolve the problem.

Ask the Beyer Boys for more about the causes and cures of low water pressure in your home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Justek16/Shutterstock”

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