The average American family spends a small fortune every year on its water. You would think that over $1,000 per year would guarantee you good water pressure but apparently not. How often do you hear people complain about shameful showers and hopeless hoses?
Do you have a problem with water pressure? Perhaps it's not something you've thought about much but good pressure is important. Read on learn 6 ways to keep it strong!
1. Know Your Water Pressure
You might believe that your water pressure is poor but is it really? Ask friends and family to try your shower and compare it with theirs. Ask the neighbors about their water supply.
At best you'll collect anecdotal evidence. It might raise some concerns but it's not conclusive. You need to get scientific.
It's possible to conduct tests on your water pressure. You can buy a test gauge online for around $10.
Turn all your faucets off. Switch off any devices that use water such as your washing machine and dishwasher. Fit the water gauge on to a hose faucet with a hose connection and you're ready to measure the water pressure.
Once you have a measurement, how do you know if the pressure is low? What is the right water pressure?
A pressure of around 60 psi is what you should be aiming for. Around 50 psi or lower is too low. If the water pressure is around 80 psi or greater than you have high water pressure and that's a problem too.
If your water pressure is low you may have a problem with the city water supply. Keep testing your water pressure as you continue to follow this guide.
2. Unclog Your Pipes
If your water system is old it's normal for the pipes to clog up. There are minerals in the water that are deposited on the inside of the pipes. The minerals are not harmful to you and your family but they can damage your water system.
The clogging up of the pipes narrows the diameter of the pipes. This restricts water flow and so affects the water pressure as it exits the water system from faucets and your shower. If your faucets don't flow strongly or your shower is no more than a trickle it could be clogged pipes or fittings.
The solution may be as simple as dissolving the minerals that have formed in your shower head. Soaking your shower head in vinegar will dissolve these minerals. Try it for 24 hours and you might find your shower now works better.
If not, contact a professional plumber and have your pipes inspected. They may need to flush the system or even replace some pipes. Don't attempt to do this yourself if you don't have the skills and tools for the job.
3. Adjust Your Valve
The flow of water into your water system is controlled by a valve. This valve is likely to be near your water meter. It's used to turn the water on and off, for example when a plumber is working on the water system.
If the valve is not fully turned on it can reduce the flow of water into the system. This reduces the water pressure and you would experience it as poor water flow in the shower.
Has a plumber been working on your system recently? Is the low water pressure a recent phenomenon? These two things could be linked.
It's possible that a plumber has turned the water valve off to conduct some work. They may have turned it back on again but failed to fully turn it on.
Check that the valve is not partially open and if it is open it fully. Test the water pressure. Has this made a difference?
Water pressure from your external supply can vary from time to time. These external factors could mean a temporary increase in the flow with damaging effects on your water system. The appliances attached to the water supply such as your dishwasher, washing machine or water heater have sensitive components and need to be protected.
The protection for appliances attached to your water system is provided by a regulator. A worn-out or faulty regulator could reduce your water pressure. It may need adjusting or replacing by a plumber.
5. Leaky Pipes
You may notice that if you run the water from one faucet that your water drops in another. This principle could be at work permanently. If water is leaving your water system because of a leak, it will reduce the pressure in the rest of the system.
Leaks occur whenever a pipe is damaged or cracked. Water escapes can be obvious such as a puddle of water on the floor. Sometimes they can be very difficult to find such as when they are hidden behind walls or under floors.
It's important to discover any leaks. Not only does a leak reduce the water pressure and reduce your showering pleasure but it can damage your home. A leak can do structural damage and encourage mold.
To discover whether you have a leak, shut off all your faucets and any appliances that use water. Once you are certain that you are not using any water take a reading from your water meter. Check the meter after a few hours.
If the readings are different some water is going through the meter and being wasted. You probably have a water leak. Call a plumber.
6. Boost Your Water Pressure
If all else fails you may need to boost the water pressure. Installing a water pressure booster will increase your water pressure for a few hundred dollars. It must be installed by a professional.
Increasing your water pressure can mean your shower feels better. It helps your appliances perform better too. You'll feel batter about paying all those water bills.
Talk to us about your water pressure. Contact us here.