Losing water pressure can be an annoyance, especially if it’s a continuous problem. Simple tasks like washing dishes or showering can take longer than normal as you wait for the soap to rinse away. It’s possible to fix a low water pressure problem, but before you grab a wrench and start a DIY project, consider hiring a professional plumber to discover the root of the problem.
Cause of low water pressure
There are several possible scenarios that can create a water pressure problem.
A broken or leaking pipe will not only cause your water pressure to drop, but if left untreated, it could cause significant damage to your home. If the water pressure changes suddenly, your water bill increases or you hear rushing water when all fixtures are off, you likely have a burst pipe. Request emergency plumbing services immediately.
Clogged showerhead or pipe
One of the simplest fixes to a low water pressure problem is if your showerhead is dirty or clogged. Mineral buildup can clog the showerhead holes, reducing the amount of water you receive. Coat the showerhead with baking soda, then soak it in a vinegar solution. The natural cleaner will eat away at the buildup. Rinse with hot water and place it back in your shower.
The same type of mineral buildup can occur in your pipes and is especially common in areas with hard water. You may need to have your pipes professionally cleaned and installing a water softening system will help avoid the water pressure issue moving forward.
Faulty diverter valve
Have you noticed that you have full water pressure from your bathtub faucet, but if you opt for the shower, the water pressure is considerably less? If so, you’re likely dealing with a malfunctioning diverter valve. The small piece that you push or pull that transitions the water from the tub faucet to the showerhead wears over time. If it breaks, it can’t open far enough to send strong water pressure to the showerhead. Areplacement diverter valveshould fix the problem.
Malfunctioning water pressure reduction valve
If the water pressure in your home suddenly changes and affects all your fixtures, the problem could be the water pressure reduction valve. The valve sits outside your home close to your main water line. As the valve ages, it can break or need adjusting – either problem should be left to a professional plumber.
Pressure balancing restrictions
If your shower has a single knob to control the flow and temperature of water, the use of other fixtures could cause temporary pressure loss or temperature change. The pressure balancing valve is limited in how it can handle multiple requests for water. So, when the toilet is flushed, for example, the valve diverts some of your cold water to fill the tank. Because the valve operates on a delay, it will take a couple of seconds for the valve to reduce the output of hot water – which can leave you with a scalding shower for a few moments.
Hire a professional plumber to install a thermostatic mixing valvein place of the pressure balancing valve to eliminate the issue.
Call your local plumber to schedule a camera inspection if none of these issues seem to be the source of your problem.