Household leaks in the US waste an estimated one trillion gallons of water each year. On average, a home with leaking plumbing pipes can waste an annual 10,000 gallons of water. Your home can even be part of the 10% of households that waste almost 33,000 gallons per year!
Not only are massive water leaks absolute water wasters, but they can also lead to low water pressure. In turn, low water pressure can have a drastic reducing effect on your fixtures’ water output. In some cases, it can even cause scald injuries.
For these reasons, it’s vital you know how to tell if you have a low water pressure problem at home. Don’t worry, though, as we made it easier for you by compiling this list of the top signs you have water pressure woes. Read on to discover what they are, plus what you can do to resolve such issues!
Toilet Tanks Take Forever to Fill
Were you aware that federal regulations govern modern toilet tanks? These laws mandate all US toilets to use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. On average, these toilets take about a minute or so to fill up completely.
If you have a toilet tank leak, it can lengthen the time the tank needs to fill. It can also reduce the toilet’s flushing efficiency. Unfortunately, an estimated 20% of all toilets used in the US have some form of leakage.
However, low water pressure can also make your toilet tank take a lot of time to fill. So, if you don’t have a leaking tank, there’s likely a problem with your home’s water pressure. You can even have both a tank leak and low water pressure.
Weak Water Flow When You Use Multiple Fixtures
When you run several taps or water appliances at the same time, do you notice a drop in the amount of water they produce? If so, then you’re most likely dealing with low water pressure in your house.
This often occurs when the existing pressure gets divided among the fixtures you run.
If you already have too little pressure, this “division” further weakens the pressure. As such, the simultaneous use of water makes the low water pressure even more noticeable.
Dripping Instead of Spraying Shower Heads
Low water pressure in showers is most common in bathrooms situated above the first floor. In this case, the existing water pressure is too low for the water to reach the higher areas of a home. You may also experience this if other people at home start using water while you’re still in the shower.
Too Little Water Flows Out of Sink Taps
Low water pressure in sinks may occur due to the simultaneous use of water at home. For example, you may be running several taps at the same time or filling up your washing machine.
If the problem occurs even if you only run one tap, though, the water pressure in your entire home is likely too low.
Sudden Changes in Water Temperature
Low hot water pressure can also occur if the people at home run two or more hot water taps at the same time.
Let’s say you’re taking a hot shower, and then someone else turns on the dishwasher or a hot water tap. In this case, your hot water system responds by directing some of the hot water to the new hot water demand placed on it. This can then lead to a decrease in your shower’s water stream and temperature.
Once the other hot taps or water appliances get turned off, your hot shower “restarts.” This can be a scald hazard, as the temperature fluctuation can produce really hot water. Exposure to water heated to 140 ºF can take only five seconds to cause a burn injury.
What You Can Do to Address Low Water Pressure at Home
The first step is to verify if low water pressure affects only some parts of your home or if it’s a whole-house issue. For instance, low water pressure affects faucets due to clogged aerators. Try cleaning your taps (especially their spouts) to see if this resolves the issue.
If not, and your entire house has low water pressure, you may do the following steps.
Find and Fix Leaks
If your water bills show a higher use than what you expect, you likely have leaks at home. You can try DIY fixes for small leaks, such as dripping faucets or leaky toilets. If you have leaky hidden pipes, though, it’s best to contact a professional plumber.
Plumbers use specialized equipment, such as thermal cameras, to detect “invisible” leaks. Upon discovery, these pros can then repair or replace your leaking pipes.
Check Your Home’s Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV)
A PRV is a fitting usually installed near a home’s main shutoff valve. Its primary function is to lower the water pressure from the main water line.
Old age or a bad installation can make the PRV restrict the pressure too much, though. Incorrect settings can also make this valve significantly reduce the flow of water. Excessive corrosion can also affect the PRV’s efficiency and may even cause clogging.
In such cases, it may be best to invest in a new pressure reducing valve installation. You’d need a licensed plumber to do this job, though, and your state and city may also require permits.
Consider Installing a Water Softener
As many as 90% of US consumers get supplied with hard water. “Hard water” is water that contains a lot of dissolved calcium and magnesium. These dissolved minerals can then form clog-causing deposits in your pipes and fixtures.
As a result, limescale can impede water flow and pressure.
If you have hard water, you might want to invest in a water softening system. This removes minerals in the water, so your water supply pipes are less likely to get clogged.
Follow These Tips to Enjoy Adequate Water Pressure at Home
There you have it, your ultimate guide on low water pressure signs and how to resolve such issues. The most important thing is to fix water pressure issues right away, as they can cause injuries. At the very least, these problems can make it difficult for you to bathe or do cleaning tasks.
So, get in touch with a plumber as soon as you notice these signs of low water pressure.
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