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Troubleshooting Low Water Pressure

If you begin to experience a decrease in water pressure, the issue will often be within your plumbing system. Below are some of the common things to look for when troubleshooting a low pressure condition.

  • Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV): If the low pressure condition is present throughout the system, you should check your PRV. This is usually a bell-shaped device, and is most often found where the line enters the building (although it may possibly reside at other locations). If the PRV is improperly adjusted, or has failed, it can result in a pressure loss, or even no water, downstream.
  • Clogged Aerators: If the low pressure is isolated to a certain faucet, the problem may simply be a clogged or blocked aerator. Unscrew the end of the faucet, and check the aerator screen for rust, debris, scale or other particles that may be restricting flow. In some cases it may be easier to simply clean or replace the aerator altogether.
  • Hot Water, Low Pressure: If the low pressure seems to only be affecting the hot water, there could be a problem with your water heater. Check the shut-off valve near the water heater, making sure it is fully open. You may need to consult a licensed plumber to evaluate the condition of your water heater and determine if it is affecting your water pressure.
  • Shut-Off Valve: Many homes and businesses have a master shut-off valve. The location can vary, but most of the time it will be located in a separate box behind the meter or near the PRV. This valve, which allows you to shut off the flow of water to the home, can restrict the flow if it’s not fully open. Even if slightly closed, this valve can restrict flows and decrease the water pressure.
  • Mineral Deposits: In older homes, plumbing such as galvanized piping can often be found. Over time, mineral deposits can form on the inside of the pipe and thus decrease the inside diameter of the pipe, as well as making the inner surface of the pipe rough. Although this corrosion does not pose a health threat, this will restrict your flow and pressure. If you determine this to be a problem, your only solution is to replace the affected plumbing with copper or PVC.
  • Water Leak: A leak can affect your water pressure as well. To learn how to determine if you have a leak, see our page showing you how to check for water leaks.
  • Water System Demand: If the pressure seems slightly lower at certain times of the day, you could be seeing the result of a peaking demand on the water system. There are generally two peak periods throughout the day. One is first thing in the morning when most people are getting ready for school or work. The other is in the evening when people are getting home from work. During this time they are often washing clothes, showering, or watering their lawns. During these times, you may notice decrease in pressure, but you should still have sufficient water providing you don’t also have one of the issues described in one of the other troubleshooting steps.

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