Dealing With Sudden Low Water Pressure

What is Affecting the Water Pressure?

Consistent water pressure in a home is something people tend to take for granted. Modern plumbing systems are designed to allow good water pressure with the most efficient amount of water usage, so when people see a dip in water pressure, there is often a problem that needs to be addressed.

Sometimes only one area of the house shows signs of decreased water pressure, and sometimes it is throughout the house. A finite number of things can cause low water pressure, but there are many variations of the same theme.

Leaky Pipes

leaksWhen a pipe leaks, some water goes in a different direction than it should. Low water pressure may be the first sign of a problem like a leak, especially if the decrease is sudden.

Older pipes tend to become corroded, which can lead to holes in the pipe that allow water to escape and cause structural damage to the home. If there is a pressure problem, especially if it’s throughout the house, the homeowner may need to search for leaks. Once leaks are fixed, the water pressure should return to normal.

Scale Buildup and Sediment Clogs

Aging pipes are not only responsible for leaks, but they can be responsible for clogs as well, which can lead to low water pressure. Hard water can also result in scale buildup and mineral deposits on the sides of pipes that can grow, leading to smaller passageways for water to travel through. This and other debris can get caught in a sink aerator and immediately affect water pressure. Here are a few of the things that can enter pipes that can cause issues:

  • Rust or other corrosion
  • Scale(calcium and magnesium) buildup
  • Dirt, grease, or food waste
  • Contamination from a crack in the main supply line

The solution to these problems may be fairly simple but will require a trained professional to do it right. Pipes may need to be replaced in extreme cases, or it may be a simple matter of flushing the lines and installing a water softener to prevent further buildup. Contamination in the main line can be a serious problem that may lead back to the municipal source.

Problems With Valves and Fixtures

valveIf the water pressure issue seems to be isolated to a single fixture, such as low water pressure in the shower, this could be a problem with the fixture itself. There could be a loose handle or clog in the shower head. A homeowner may need to verify if all connections are tight. Here are a few examples:

  • Corrosion or scale buildup: If this has blocked the individual fixture, it may simply need to be removed and cleaned or replaced. The root of the problem (hard water or corroded pipes) will still be there, but the fixture should go back to normal water pressure.
  • Loose Connections: Sometimes, screws can ream out the threads on valves that control the water, such as sink and tub handles. The pieces can wear out and may not turn on as much as they normally would, leading to a dripping faucet. Replacing these parts is very easy for a trained plumbing technician.

If the entire house is experiencing low water pressure, the issue may be from the main shut-off valve or the water meter valve. If these are closed or are only partially open, then it will result in poor water pressure. These valves are two sides of the same coin. The water meter valve is on the city side of the main supply, and the main shut-off valve is on the home side of the main supply line.

About Heidler, Inc.

Heidler, Inc. is a family-owned and operated company with over 70 years of experience serving its neighbors in Annapolis, MD, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat-rate pricing, unparalleled customer service, and emergency assistance. Call them today for plumbing services in Annapolis, MD.