How do you fix low water pressure?

low water pressure from shower head

How do I check water pressure?

Who doesn’t like a good hot shower with strong water pressure? Maybe your home has hot water, but not strong water pressure. If that’s the case, how do you increase your water pressure, or can you?  Before we talk about increasing the water pressure in the shower, you need to check the water pressure for the entire house. 

Your local hardware store or big box home center sell water-pressure gauges, they aren’t expensive.  You connect it  to a hose bib or the outdoor faucet and follow the instructions. When the bib valve or faucet is open, you should have a reading on the gauge between 40psi and 60 psi.

With a good pressure reading there, that narrows down the problem to your shower. Follow these steps: 

  • Check to see if showerhead is clogged. If not, take the next step. 
  • Remove the showerhead and run water into a buck for 10 seconds. 
  • If you get between 1⅓ gallons and 1⅔ gallons, this is equivalent to eight to ten gallons per minute, then you need a new showerhead. 
  • If you don’t get that much water in 10 seconds, the shower valve needs cleaning or replacing.

If the entire house shows to have low water pressure on the gauge, then adjust the PRV (pressure-reducing valve) following these steps: 

  • Typically found at the water meter is conical valve with bolt inside a cone sticking out.
  • Loosen the locknut and clockwise, turn the bolt as you watch the gauge to keep the pressure within limits. Tighten the locknut back. 
  • If that doesn’t improve the water pressure, ask your neighbors what kind of water pressure they have. If they have good water pressure, call your water company, and request they check the valve on their side of the meter. 

If it appears that low water pressure is common in the neighborhood or your own a water well, then you can install a water pressure booster for house. A water pressure booster and tank will help meet your home’s daily water demands. No need to worry about this addition being noisy, most quality water pressure booster pump quiet when in use. 

How can I check my water pressure without a gauge?

What if you don’t have a water pressure gauge and going to get one isn’t a option right now?  No worries, there are three methods you can use to check your home’s water pressure:  

Method One: Garden Hose and Measuring Tap

  • Attach the garden hose to the outside faucet. 
  • Turn the water on and raise the hose up till water stops coming out. 
  • With tape measure, measure the gap between the garden hose end and the water faucet in feet. 

This gives you the water pressure in water feet. Now divide that number 2.31 to convert the number into PSI (pounds per square inch) This is only an approximate figuration. 

Method Two: A Jug and a Timer

  • Get a two-liter jug that is clearly marked with measurement. 
  • Set the timer for six seconds and begin filling the jug with water. 
  • When the timer goes off, turn the water off. 
  • Measure the water in the jug and multiply by ten. 

If you have less than 10 liters of water in the jug, you have low water pressure. 

Method Three: A One Gallon Bucket

  • Make sure all water faucets are off. 
  • At the water faucet close to the main water supply that doesn’t have any restrictions. 
  • Place the one gallon bucket below the faucet and begin filling with water.
  • With a timer, see how long it takes or the water to fill the bucket. 

If you get over 6 gallons of water per minute, you have high water pressure. When water pressure is too high, it can bust older pipes and fittings. Purchase a water regulator so it can regulate the water pressure before you have to hire a plumber.

How do I know if my water pressure is too high?

Residential water pressure typically is 40 psi and 60 psi (pounds per square inch). As we just mentioned, when water pressure is too high, it can cause plumbing problems, one of which is busted water pipes and fittings .

So, how do you know if your home’s water pressure may be too high? Here are six common problems to check or have a professional plumber check. 

  • Leaking Water Pipes: A high water pressure puts a strain on the plumbing system which loosens joints or bust pinhole into the pipes. When not addressed and repaired, the leaking waterpipes lead to mildew, mold, and other water damage, even putting your home structure at risk. Leaking water pipes aren’t always visible though. There could be a tiny drip behind a walls, in the ceiling, or under the floors. If you’re smelling mold and can’t find the source, call a professional plumber. 
  • Water Hammering: That  loud banging and clanging noise when you turn on the bathroom or kitchen faucets is called water hammering. This is a hydraulic shock caused by water pressure making an abrupt change to high water pressure, making the plumbing pipes bang and clang into one another and the surrounding framing of your home. Not only is this annoying, but it is damaging the pipes. You need to have a professional plumber inspect your plumbing and fix the problem before a bigger problem is created. 
  • Appliances Damaged: High water pressure isn’t simply hard on the plumbing. It damages your appliances too from the dishwasher to the water heater and washing machine. The warranty on these appliances will be voided  too. Check your appliances and make sure they aren’t leaking and if you’re hearing that banging and clanging next to any of these appliances, it is time to have a professional plumber inspect your plumbing. 
  • Water Bill Increases: Check your water bill and if there is a sudden increase, it could be high water pressure. How does high water pressure make the water bill increase?  It is increasing the psi each time you turn a faucet on. Instead of using 30 gallons at 50 psi for a 10 minute shore, you’re using 36 gallons at 60 psi. 
  • Leaking Water Faucets: Do you have one or more faucets dripping, spitting, or spraying? This is an indicator of high water pressure. 
  • Toilet Running: If you have a constant running toilet and you’ve replaced the inside tank parts, but it didn’t help for long, you may have high water pressure wearing the valve and other parts out faster. 
good water pressure

Why is my water pressure so low all of a sudden?

When the water in your home suddenly starts trickling at full open faucets, it is frustrating, and it could be a water leak or some other problem causing this water pressure problem. A few troubleshooting things you can try: 

  • Determine the Problem: Is it just one fixture, like the showerhead?  Remove the showerhead and clean it by soaking in water and white vinegar overnight. This will remove any limescale buildup. Is the water pressure low throughout your entire home at every fixture? Check the valve at the main shut-off, usually close to the street or may be in the basement, crawlspace, or garage. If your home is over 20 years old, it could be iron & steel pipes are clogged. If all is well in your home, then check with a couple of neighbors.  It could be the city is working on a water main in the area.  A quick phone call to the city can confirm that, and if they aren’t working on a water main, they may have a problem!
  • Check the Water Heater: If the cold water pressure is good but not the hot water, check the water heater. Make sure the shut-off valve is opened fully. If the shut-off valve is open, the tank may be full of mineral and sediment. You can try to drain and flush the tank, but if it is that full, you probably need a new water heater. Check the water pressure regulator or the PRV. If it is broken, it will cut the water pressure down on the hot side, which is what its supposed to do for safety.  A professional plumber can replace that for you quickly. 
  • Leaks: There can be plenty of water coming into your house, but if there is a leak somewhere between the better and your house, that low water pressure could indicate you have a leaking pipe somewhere. Sometimes they are obvious, sometimes they aren’t. You can check this by turning all the water using appliances and faucets off and check the water meter. If the needle is moving, you have a water leak. 

Yes, water booster pumps and tanks can be costly, so what can you do if the budget can’t afford one? An easy water pressure booster is start by identifying why you have low water pressure.  Use one of the three methods we provided to test your water pressure and if it under 40 psi, then check for the following and repair or replace as needed: 

  • Clogged Pipes
  • Malfunction Valves
  • Leaks
  • Water Pressure Regulator
  • Faulty Fixtures
  • Water Rationing 
  • High Water Demand

Have you noticed low water pressure in your home in Saddle Brook, NJ? Absolute Precision Plumbing and Heating is here to help! Call us today at 551-257-6200.