Why Is My Water Pressure Low?

Whether it’s weak shower pressure, a seemingly eternal dishwasher cycle, or any of countless other nuisances, low water pressure can take many forms. When it is only a single faucet, most likely, this implicates only a narrow range of pipes and the fixture itself.

However, when several fixtures or all of them show signs of weak water pressure, things get a bit more complicated. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your home’s water pressure may be low and ways you can potentially solve them.

Inspect the Main Shutoff Valve

The main shutoff valve controls the flow of all water entering your home, and this implicates it as a prime culprit in limiting your home’s water pressure. If it isn’t fully opened, this can choke the amount of water entering your home.

So, start by inspecting your main water valve. Typically, it can be located on the outside wall of your home facing the street, the basement, or the outer wall of an area with utilities in your home.

There are two primary types of handles on main shutoff valves, and these are wheel-shaped handles and lever handles. If it is a wheel, then it needs to be turned counterclockwise. But, if it is a lever, the direction of the handle has to be parallel.

Inspect the Water Meter Valve

Similar to the water shutoff valve, the water meter valve is another point that controls the flow of water to your home. However, unlike the former valve, this one belongs to the city. For this reason, it is generally wise to avoid tampering with this valve unless it is an emergency.

However, it is fine to inspect it, and this valve is typically located close to the water meter. If it is completely parallel with the waterline, then it is completely open; however, if it is at an angle, then it is partially closed.

If it needs to be changed, then call your local water provider and discuss your concerns. If there are other issues with your water supply, then this is the time to discuss them as well.

Inspect Your Hot Water Heater

Your hot water heater can affect the pressure of both your hot and cold water. This can be due to mineral build-up or a partially closed shutoff valve. Let’s take a closer look at both of these reasons, but keep in mind that if any work has to be performed on the water heater, this can be dangerous and should be done by a licensed plumber.

Mineral Build-Up

Over the life of your water heater, hard water can lead to a build-up of mineral deposits that gradually reduce the ability for water to flow. This can occur to both your water heater and the surrounding pipes.

Shutoff Valve

Every water heater is equipped with a shutoff valve, and if this is partially closed, your entire home’s water pressure can be affected. By switching it to the fully open position, your entire home’s water pressure will increase.

Water Pressure Regulator

The majority of homes are equipped with a water pressure regulator that controls the flow of water into the home. If this breaks down, the water pressure can become extremely high or low.

If this is the cause of your home’s low pressure, this will likely come on very suddenly and affect your entire home. You can measure the water pressure in your home to help determine if this is the cause by attaching a water pressure gauge at the outdoor hose connection nearest the pressure regulator.

However, if the water pressure regulator needs to be replaced, this will require shutting off the water at the water meter valve, which belongs to the city. So, this cannot be done on your own.

Check for Leaks

If there is a leak anywhere in your home, this can siphon away water pressure in addition to causing water damage. Check for puddles beneath plumbing fixtures and appliances, as well as for water stains on ceilings and walls.

Final Thoughts

Low water pressure is a pain to live with, but with a bit of work, you can solve it. There are several possible causes, and a few of them can easily be solved on your own. However, when it comes to working on hot water heaters or performing work involving the water meter, it is best to leave the work to a licensed plumber. Either way, your water pressure should be back in no time.

Contact Us

If your home is experiencing low water pressure, and you’re having trouble solving it, don’t hesitate to call J Griffin Heating & Plumbing. We have more than 30 years of experience helping homeowners with their plumbing issues. Call us at 781-520-1212 and connect with us on Facebook.