In the UK, the average in-home water pressure is about 40 to 45 pounds per square inch (PSI), so if it feels like your water pressure has dropped; it is likely that your water pressure has dropped below the ideal range.
The average family in the UK uses around 300 gallons of water a day, a high demand for water. This comes from showering, running the dishwasher, flushing the toilet, cooking, washing your hands; and other activities. Typically, we don’t tend to think about where the water comes from or how it arrives in our faucets, but what causes low water pressure in the whole house?
This article explains the ten most common causes for low water pressure in your house, what to do to solve the situation, and how to get in touch with Coastal Drains in the worst cases.
1. Your water supplier may be experiencing an issue
Before you start fiddling with your pipes and turning mysterious valves, why not ask your neighbours? If they are reporting similar issues, chances are that it is something out of your control, and the solution doesn’t lie within your home.
The best thing to do here is to contact your water company and find out if they are aware of the issue, if they’re working on it, and when it’s likely to be fixed. If they haven’t started yet, or it’s in progress, then you may have to sit tight for a bit.
In the event that they deny any issue is ongoing, or they outright refuse to address it, you may have to be proactive and set up a petition or something else more creative in order to catch their attention and fix their issues.
2. Your city may have changed its water regulations
There is also the potential that your city has changed its water regulations. In this event, your water supplier has no choice but to comply.
In the event of this occurring, a water pressure booster pump system may provide a good fix, and some of these can be installed easily if you happen to know a bit about DIY. However, in order to ensure this is installed properly, even if you trust yourself, it is a great idea to get in touch with the experts at Coastal Drains.
Correct and proper installation is dependent on certain variables such as the size and age of your pipes. You may also be required to bring in an inspector after making this kind of change to your home, so hiring Coastal Drains for this type of job can make the whole process far easier.
Looking to install a water pressure booster pump? Get in touch with Coastal Drains today.
3. The main shutoff valve of your home isn’t open fully
If, after asking your neighbours, you find that your home is the only one with low water pressure, now is the time to have a rummage to find what the problem is.
It is greatly important to know where your main house shut off valve, and how to shut it off manually. If it isn’t open all the way, there are a few things you’ll need to do. Unless you’ve had a recent emergency involving a leak or burst water pipes, then it is highly likely that this valve has not been tampered with. It may be located outside your home, however, it is most likely to be found indoors alongside the main city supply pipe entering your home.
Once you find it, if you spot a handle similar to one that would activate a hose, it needs to be turned anticlockwise as far as it can go. If the handle looks like a lever, it needs to be parallel to the pipe.
If either of these is not true, then the valve will not be fully open and will be why your water pressure is low.
4. The water metre valve isn’t open all the way
The second valve containing your home’s water intake is the water metre valve. This valve does, in fact, belong to the water company, so most homeowners and residents will never directly deal with this valve. Most of these are located underground, making them difficult to reach.
If you’ve had recent construction on your home or property, especially around the time you began noticing a drop in water pressure, you may need to contact your water supplier. It is highly likely that the valve was not fully opened after completion of the job, and a qualified professional will need to open it all the way for you.
5. There is a failure within the pressure regulator
Not every home, and not all plumbing, is equipped with a pressure regulator. If you know for certain that you don’t have one, then this is not the solution for you.
If you do have a pressure regulator, there is a test that will tell you if the pressure regulator is failing in order to get an accurate read:
- Attach a water pressure gauge to your outside hose spigot, ideally one that is closest to your pressure regulator.
- Turn the water on and the gauge will give you an immediate read of the water pressure.
If the read is lower than what your pressure regulator is showing, the issue may be with the regulator. Regulators are designed to adjust the pressure coming from your water supply pipe to a level that is safe for your pipes to handle. If it is not reading, it will think that it is doing its job correctly, however, it’s actually letting through a low PSI.
If you’re not used to DIY or have no experience, then replacing your own water pressure regulator will be a difficult task. Call in a professional to get the job done safely, and to prevent a more costly problem from arising.
6. The pipes could be clogged or blocked
Clogs don’t just appear over time within your drain systems, they also form within the depths of your piping, and a small clog can cause a large problem – such as reducing your water pressure.
Because a clog could be located anywhere beneath your property, you will want to call a professional plumber to locate and remove the clog efficiently, and in a cost-effective way.
Rather than pulling pipes apart and failing to repair them, potentially knocking something loose or contaminating your water supply, we must stress that you should not pour drain cleaner or other chemicals in these pipes as you may be poisoning your drinking water and causing significantly more harm than good.
In order to repair this system safely and securely, our experts can organise a CCTV drain survey to discover the root cause of the problem, and remove it safely. Get in touch with Coastal Drains today.
7. Your pipes could be corroded
Do you know many of the details of your home’s piping? Has it ever been updated, or is it the original piping? What is the material being used?
Did you know that pipes, especially galvanised steel pipes, have an expiration date? Galvanised steel pipes typically corrode after just 20 years, whereas copper pipes can last for 50, and brass pipes can survive anywhere from 40 to 70 years.
If you have an older house, the potential that your pipes will corrode increases. Newer pipes tend not to be made from galvanised steel, and this plumbing should be fine for years to come – however, if yours is an older house that hasn’t been modernised, then they may need re-piping.
The chances of corrosion also increase if you have added plumbing fixtures in your home, like an en-suite, a kitchen extension with a new kitchen sink, or a new dishwasher. If the branch lines of your piping are not enlarged when adding plumbing fixtures to an already built house, portions of your pipes will end up working harder which will speed up the process of corrosion.
If you don’t know how old your plumbing is, it is a good idea to contact a professional. Here at Coastal Drains, we can discover what materials your pipes are made from, and how old they are. Get in touch with the experts today.
8. You share pipelines
Shared pipelines are pipelines that run water into more than one house. If this is the case, then when your neighbour takes a shower or washes their car, your water pressure will go down. This does not mean that you’re having to foot the bill for their water usage, however, it does mean that your water supply is divided between more than one household.
If this does become so unbearable to have spots of low water pressure, we recommend experimenting with your timing and changing your routine; or even having a chat with your neighbour. As long as you’re using your water when your neighbour isn’t using theirs, your pressure will be absolutely fine.
However, if you don’t want to share the supply and the timing situation does become too much; you may want to consider a full pipe replacement. Here at Coastal Drains, we’re experts in this method and we can walk you through the process fully before you commit to this solution. If you really think this is the way to go, get in touch with Coastal Drains today.
9. Your pipes could be leaking
If you’re experiencing a flood in your basement or foundation, then it goes without saying that your pipes are leaking. However, it doesn’t actually take a leak of that size to disrupt your water pressure. The leak is misdirecting your water supply so that even if everything else is working correctly, you’re not getting the full flow of water.
If you’re able to access your pipes, taking a look around and searching for wet spots or pooling water will help you to figure out which pipe is leaking; and apply a quick fix:
- Turn off your water supply and dry the outside of the leaking pipe as much as possible.
- Wrap a rubber patch around the spot that is cracked or corroded.
- Use electrical tape and a pipe repair clamp to attach the rubber patch to the pipe.
Though this won’t provide a permanent solution, it may prevent further damage for a few days. During this time, you can get in touch with the experts at Coastal Drains who can help to repair your pipes the same day on an emergency callout. We can also search for more leaks if the fix doesn’t solve your water pressure problems.
10. You may have faulty fixtures
If you find that the water pressure issue persists in all of your plumbing fixtures, then the problem will lie with your water supply or your pipes. However, if it’s one or just a few fixtures with low water pressure, you may want to examine the fixtures.
The aerator on a faucet fixture is designed with the reduction of the volume of water coming out from your faucet in mind. This won’t affect your water pressure. Over time, however, aerators can become blocked or clogged with dirt and limestone akin to an artery and cholesterol.
To fix this, simply remove the aerators on your low-pressure faucets and see if they need to be cleaned. Once completely clear of any buildup, replace them and see if this makes any difference to the pressure of your fixture.
Fixtures themselves can also become clogged. If this is the case, it may be a good idea to replace them yourself – which shouldn’t leave you too out of pocket. Before undertaking any tasks relating to your fixtures, please remember to turn off the water supply for that fixture, as you may become inundated with water.
Get in Touch With Coastal Drains Today
Although we can’t fight your water company or city representatives on your behalf, we can help with any issues pertaining to your pipes in order to help with any issues with water pressure in your home.
Our drainage engineers are fully knowledgeable and trained in this area, and have years of experience in resolving these issues. In order to fully discover the root cause of the problem, we can conduct a CCTV survey to find a solution to any low water pressure issues you’re having.
If you find that your water pressure is particularly low, has been low for a long time, or has recently decreased after some construction work, then we highly recommend getting in touch with us.
Having problems with your drainage or water pressure?