Isn’t it frustrating when you turn on the faucet in the shower and only two weak streams of water come out of the showerhead? Do you sigh at the thought of how long it’s going to take just for you to wash your hair? Or, when you turn on the sink faucet and, instead of a stream of water, a few drips come out. Plumbers call this low flow. Homeowners call it low water pressure, among other less nice things. Luckily, there are ways to solve this problem. First, it is important to understand what the causes of low water pressure can be. Some of these causes are: Debris in the water; Mineral deposit build-up; Pressure regulators; Low pressure to the house; Water valves; Water leaks
Identifying what is causing the problem is the first step toward properly repairing it. A common cause of low flow is debris in the water. For instance, old iron pipes plug with rust, the rust breaks loose and plugs up the aerators, valves, and anywhere there is a restriction in the pipes.
Another cause of low water flow is algae in our water. It looks a little like fine sawdust. There’s usually a small amount of algae in our water all the time but sometimes we get more than usual through the water supply. Many times this is a seasonal problem confined to certain locations.
The first thing to check if the sink faucet doesn’t work well is take off the aerator. It’s the little cylinder screwed on the end of the spout and see how the water flows without it. If the water flow is fine, clean or replace the aerator. If the water flow is still low, the problem is downstream. This is more problematic. To check to see if a faucet is plugged up, shut off the valves to the sink, disconnect the supply pipes from the shutoff valves to the faucet, point them into a bucket, turn the valves on, and see how the water comes out. If the pressure is fine, then the problem lies inside of the faucet. If not, it is the supply valve or supply piping that is plugged.
Replacing Pressure Regulators
A pressure regulator is a water device shaped like a bell. The regulator is usually found below the hose connection in the front of your home, though it may be located in a different area depending upon how your home is constructed.
If the pressure regulator malfunctions or stops working, it may cause low water pressure in some or all of the water fixtures in your home. If that is the problem, it is best to call A+ Plumbing and Heating to fix it. We can easily replace or fix a regulator at a reasonable cost. If you try to fix this problem on your own, you may create a bigger problem. In the long run, this will cost even more money for you to fix.
There are reasons outside the home that can cause water pressure problems. We will tackle them in our next post.