Only getting a dribble out of your tap? How about a drizzle out of your shower? You’re probably suffering from low water pressure.
Low water pressure is a debilitating problem that can lead to half washed hair and frustration attacks on taps nationwide. Don’t worry about moving house just yet though. There are plenty of possible low water pressure causes and also plenty of solutions. So, if your house has low water pressure make sure you read on to help diagnose and fix it.
What Can Cause Low or No Water Pressure in the House?
No or low water pressure causes can be many and varied. However, they can be grouped into a few main categories:
Debris in the water – If your plumbing system is made up of old iron pipes these can become clogged with rust over time. This rust can then collect at bends and narrow areas in pipes or plug up aerators. If your system includes plastic piping your system could also be suffering from debris from that. Your home plumbing system could also be a victim of work carried out by utilities companies at some point in the supply. If they have been performing maintenance or improvement work grit and dirt may have entered the system.
Mineral deposit build up – It’s also possible that your pipework could be suffering from mineral deposit build ups. If your systems water isn’t treated over time lime scale and other minerals can collect on the interior reducing the room for water to move through. This will, in turn, reduce the flow.
Air locks – If your house has low water pressure it could be due to air being trapped in your pipework. This can reduce or completely stop the flow of water.
Water leaks – Unsurprisingly water leaks can also lead to reduced system pressure. As water escapes from a piping system so does pressure.
Low pressure to the house – There is also the possibility that the low water pressure issue isn’t an issue with your plumbing system. There can be plenty of problems that your utilities provider is experiencing that can lead to poor performance from your piping system.
Troubleshooting Low Water Pressure
There are a few simple steps that you can take to trouble shoot issues if your house has low water pressure. Follow these simple steps to pin down your issue and fix low water pressure.
Check if There Are Any Issues in Your Area
Your first port of call should be your utilities provider. You can either drop them a call or check out their website to find if there is any planned maintenance going on or if there are any unexpected issues. A great example of a site for checking for issues is the Thames Water one.
Try Your Cold Kitchen Tap
If you are experiencing low or no water pressure in the house try switching on your cold kitchen tap. The mains water supply almost always enters your house via the cold kitchen or utility room tap. If water comes out of this tap fine but not elsewhere the issue is probably to do with your plumbing system.
Ask Your Neighbours
Before attempting to fix low water pressure it’s also a good idea to check with your neighbours to find out if they are experiencing any problems themselves. Just because your utilities provider’s site isn’t listing any issues doesn’t mean there aren’t any. If your neighbour is also experiencing issues it’s highly unlikely there’s a problem with your pipework.
Try Cleaning or Replacing Faucet and Shower Heads
Sometimes a build of lime scale or debris can occur on the ends of faucets or shower heads. This can greatly reduce the flow rate of water exiting the system. Simply disassembling and thoroughly cleaning these items can result in an improved system performance.
Ensure Your Stop Valves Are Open
Another possible quick fix for water pressure issues are the stop valves on your property. Before calling out an expert ensure both your inside and outside stop valves are fully open by turning them anti-clockwise as far as they can go.
Check for Frozen Pipes
If you are experiencing a sudden drop or loss of pressure during the winter months check to make sure your pipes aren’t frozen. If this is the case ensure they are properly insulated to prevent this from happening again.
Install a Water Pressure Gauge
A water pressure gauge can be used to diagnose certain areas of pipework where a drop in pressure is occurring. One part of the device is placed on the entrance to the system where the pressure should be correct. The other part of the device is then placed on different sections of pipework to try and diagnose where a drop in pressure occurs. This is only worth trying if you have a bit of plumbing savvy. If you don’t you’ll have to call out a man making this an expensive solution.
If none of these quick fixes yield any results it’s time to up your game!
How to Fix Low Water Pressure
If all other avenues have been exhausted it’s time to think about some more heavy duty solutions.
Flush Your System
If your system is old or hasn’t been treated it’s quite likely that debris build up is the cause of your issue. If this is the case it would be worth calling in a professional to properly flush your plumbing system of said debris. If a debris build up is the cause you should see a rapid return to normal system functionality.
Re-Pipe Your System
If you think this sounds costly, you’re right. Re-plumbing a house isn’t cheap but for older houses with ancient systems it is sometimes the only real solution. Flushing and pump boosters would give short term relief but a complete refit with modern piping would give you peace of mind.
Install a Water Pressure Pump Booster
This is not a cheap fix but it can greatly increase your piping systems efficiency. You have to consider whether the cost of the product and the labour to install it is justifiable for a better shower experience. If the answer is yes you can’t go wrong.
Increase the Size of the Main Supply Pipe
Some main supply pipes are slightly dated. If yours has an opening of less than ½ inch you definitely won’t be getting the best results possible. Bear in mind replacing this pipe will involve a considerable amount of earth movement and will therefore carry the associated costs.
We hope you’ve found our fairly exhaustive guide handy! If it’s helped you fix your low pressure issues why not let us know. Also, if you feel we’ve left anything off our list please do let us know in the comments below.
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Written by Ryan Hill