When you’ve got a sink full of dirty dishes, there’s nothing more annoying than turning on the kitchen sink only to be greeted by a slow drip of water. Low water pressure interferes with our ability to get just about anything done, and it’s annoying whether it causes a slow drip or a light, but noticeable, decrease in pressure.
Sometimes, the issue affects the fixtures throughout your home. Sometimes, it is contained to one or two fixtures in the house. In any case, our plumbers want to help you resolve the problem on your own, or know what to expect if it’s a job for a professional.
This advice is for low water pressure affecting only one or two fixtures in the house.
Sinks, shower heads, and even dishwasher hoses have an aerator that helps to maintain even water pressure. At the end of the aerator is a screen that may collect sediment from a water supply with hard water. Unscrew the end of the faucet or showerhead, remove the screen, and rinse with water or clean with vinegar.
This solution may work for low water pressure throughout the house or from a single faucet or fixture. Most faucets have their own shut off valves leading directly to them and located nearby, and there is a main water shutoff valve near the meter.
Sometimes, the water needs to be shut off for plumbing work, and the valves may not be opened back up all the way. Other times, children play with the valve and shut off the water by accident.
You may also check your pressure regulating valve, likely located near the meter, though this can be more difficult to adjust. It requires you to loosen a nut before making precise changes to the pressure regulator.
This solution applies to homes with whole-house or single-faucet filtration or treatment systems.
If you have a water filtration system, you may need to replace the filters. Clogged water filters will interfere with water flow and prevent as much from reaching your faucets. On the other hand, there may be a problem with your water treatment system, requiring a plumber’s help or water treatment system replacement.
A common cause for low water pressure is a leak somewhere along the main water line, a pipe leading to a fixture, or the fixture itself. Simple places to check for leaks are under the sink and at visible supply lines for toilets, dishwashers, and other appliances. Otherwise, it may not be so simple.
You may find moist walls or ceilings around the home that point you to a leak, but it could remain hidden behind the walls. There’s a fairly simple method of leak detection that involves reading your water meter.
This applies to low hot water pressure only. When you notice that pressure reduces only when you open a hot water tap, you should check for a leak and call in a plumber ASAP if you notice one. Otherwise, listen for the sounds of sediment that could indicate you only need to flush the tank.