Get One of the Top 50 Plumbing Blogs Directly to Your Inbox!

Posted by on

Fixing Water PressureFor homeowners, problems with low water pressure can be a frustrating hassle to repair; sometimes, simply finding the source of the problem can be a daunting task. Knowing the proper plumbing systems and installations in your home, and how to troubleshoot them, can make all the difference in renovating your water pipe lines.

Below, we have tackled five common questions homeowners have about water line repairs and low water pressure.

1.) How Do I Locate the Source?

For homes in which low water pressure affects only one fixture, determining the source of the problem is relatively simple. Dissecting the fixture, and possibly replacing components in valves and filters, can often solve a water pressure problem. If problems persist, an inspection and diagnosis of direct pipe lines can often reveal the root of a problem.

However, for many homeowners who run into low pressure and flows, the problem is not limited to one faucet or a single shower head; it affects the entire home, and finding the source can be a tedious, frustrating process, sometimes requiring a professional plumbing inspection. Fortunately, there are diagnostic steps a homeowner can take to identify the root of their water pressure problem.

The first of these steps is an assessment of the water valves in your home. Partially closed or otherwise obstructed water valves can cut off adequate pressure in segments of your house, and certain construction and DIY work can affect the efficiency of water flow through these valves. Some plumbing work may require adding or enlarging existing pipe systems for optimal performance.

Water meters should also be inspected, as recent DIY and home construction work may have required pressure be turned down. Often, this can be forgotten about until flow problems arise, unbeknownst to homeowners. Making sure all water shut off areas and valves are operational can also resolve a simple water pressure issue.

If these control meters and valves are performing effectively, yet a pressure deficiency still exists, homeowners must consider clogging or buildup in their main water lines as the source.

2.) How Do I Determine the Exact Cause?

With internal problems, it may be difficult for homeowners to identify the cause of their lower pressure. Pressure caused by foreign elements and buildup in pipe systems can be near impossible to assess without professional inspection, but there are some steps you can take to try to diagnose the problem.

For starters, it helps to have all possible problem areas mapped out beforehand. These internal problem areas can include clogged water heaters, sediment blocked pipes and faulty pressure tanks. Troubleshooting these systems can reveal the cause of your low water pressure levels, and inform you of what to do next to resolve the problem. In extreme circumstances, professional video probing equipment can be used to physically view the problem.

Additionally, analyzing the pipe and water history of your home, as well as the type and sizes of pipes used in your system, can reveal unique causes. Private pumps and undersized pipe lines often result in lower water pressure and flow.

3.) What Are Natural Causes of Low Water Pressure?

Sometimes, however, there is no pressure determinant in your pipe and water system; low water pressure can also be the result of natural causes, or larger problems outside of your control.

For instance, gravity plays a pivotal role in the vertical transportation of water. The pressure used in home water pipes decreases when moving water from the first to second floor of a property; this provides less pressurization when water is accessed through a second-story faucet, or other source. Generally, upper floors, and houses above street level, will have decreased water pressure.

Additionally, your water pressure problem may not even be an issue you can fix. An outdated, congested or damaged water main line can be the cause of many water pressure problems; problems your city must address and repair.

Other natural causes of low water pressure that can be fixed with plumbing work, either done by yourself or a plumbing professional, range from sludge concentrations water heaters to deteriorated galvanization material and rust.

4.) What Do I Need to Know About Pipe Replacement?

For more serious low water pressure problems, a full pipe replacement may be the most effective solution. Deteriorated or damaged pipes, or even pipes that are simply old, can be the cause of inadequate water pressure. Any pipe made with galvanized metal or steel is especially susceptible to pressure problems and inner residue buildup.

Corrosion inside older pipes, generally caused by chemical oxidation and mineral concentrations, cannot be repaired; in these cases, new pipe must be introduced. This new pipe should be have a larger diameter than the damaged pipe, to make the most out of potential pressure and flow levels. 

5.) When Should I Consult a Professional?

The decision to consult a plumbing professional to assess water pressure issues is not a simple one to make, but homeowners and DIY enthusiasts must be able to acknowledge when a problem is beyond their capability. Simply, some jobs require trained professionals, as the work at hand may be too strenuous, or even dangerous, for untrained techniques.

Replacing a water pipe, like many other large-scale plumbing renovations, will most often require a plumbing permit for repair work to begin. Homeowners need to be wary of their building’s and city’s plumbing codes and regulations before beginning plumbing renovations in their home.

Having a quality plumbing professional diagnose the water pressure issue in your home can quickly and more effectively resolve the problem. In some cases, only trained professionals will be able to identify the causes of inadequate water flow and lowered water pressure; it’s beneficial for homeowners to know when a professional inspection and renovation is the safest way to fix a problem.

If you’re seeking additional information on DIY water line repairs, or other ways to manage your home’s water pressure and flow, contact the plumbing professionals at Express Sewer and Drain today.