Dealing with Low Water Pressure Throughout the Home

It’s not uncommon for Denver homes—especially older homes—to have poor water pressure. But that doesn’t mean you have to deal with taking forever to wash away soap in the shower or finding detergent stains on your clothes that don’t get rinsed in the wash. Here we explain why you may have low water pressure and how to fix it.

Testing Water Pressure

Most homes have 40 to 60 psi (pounds per square inch) for comfortable water usage. Too high water pressure can damage your plumbing and hurt your skin. Too low, on the other hand, makes it difficult for water-reliant appliances, such as the dishwasher or washing machine, to clean effectively. How do you measure your home’s water pressure?

  1. Buy a water pressure gauge.

  2. Connect it to the water spigot outside (or the water hookup for the laundry machine if you don’t have an exterior connection.)

  3. Open the nearby faucets.

  4. Open the water spigot to full capacity.

  5. Read the gauge to find the psi of your home’s water pressure. If the number is below 40, you have low water pressure.

Measuring water can be difficult and home tests may return inconsistent or incorrect results. To avoid faulty readings, call a professional for the most accurate assessment.

What Causes Low Water Pressure?

Struggling to wash the lather out of your hair or finding detergent stains on your clothes due to poor water pressure are minor problems that can add up to significant irritation. Here are the most common causes of insufficient water pressure:

  • Partially closed shutoff valves. Check your home’s main shutoff valve and water gauge valve. If you recently had a repair on your plumbing system, it’s possible that one or both of these valves were left partially closed after the repair was complete.

  • Clogged pipes. Your pipes may clog from mineral buildup if you don’t flush your water heater yearly. They may also indicate a clog from debris getting into your pipes from your sink drains or toilet. Limited space in the pipes can lower your water pressure.

  • Corroded pipes. Did you notice a sudden drop in water pressure on only one or a few faucets rather than the whole house? The culprit could be an over-oxidized old pipe with leaking, corroded holes.

  • Leaking pipes. It doesn’t take a huge leak to affect your water pressure. As the leak misdirects water, you will never have the full flow at the faucet. While you might be able to manage a small leak by patching it with some electrical tape, it would only be a temporary fix. Whether the leak is big or small, call a trusted plumber to fix it before the water damage harms your home or your drinking water becomes contaminated.

  • Failed pressure-reducing valve. This valve regulates the pressure of water as it comes into your home. If it malfunctions, you may notice drastic increases or decreases in pressure. If this is the reason for your poor water pressure, an experienced plumber must replace the valve.

  • Clogged aerators. Are you experiencing particularly low water pressure in the kitchen sink or bathroom? In that case, a clogged aerator could be the issue. These low-flow devices help improve water pressure while wasting less water. But when they collect a buildup of calcium or lime, they can slow to a trickle. Cleaning the aerator attachment with vinegar should solve the issue.


What to Try Before Calling the Plumber

Whether you’ve tested your water pressure or you can feel that it’s off, here’s how to increase the water pressure in your home (or at least, the troubleshooting you can try before calling a plumber for repairs):

  • Call the city. If you use municipal water and notice sudden low water pressure in your house, it could be an issue with the main break. Call the water department to have the water pressure tested outside your home. If the test shows normal pressure, the problem is with your home system.

  • Install a pressurized holding tank. If you draw from well water, have the well inspected. The well may be too small to supply enough water for your home’s demand. If that’s the case, you can install a pressurized holding tank in your home to provide water when your well can’t.

  • Increase the flow rate on your pressure-reducing valve. For those with municipal water, you can adjust the pressure-reducing valve to allow more water to flow through and thus increase your water pressure. To do this, locate the valve next to the water meter on the main water line. Loosen the nut on the threaded bolt and adjust until the gauge indicates 50psi before retightening the nut.

Certified Plumbers in Denver

Beyond being annoying, poor water pressure could indicate serious issues with your plumbing system. Is there a leak you weren’t aware of? Is the pressure-reducing valve failing? Call the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing experts servicing the Denver area at (303) 835-9352 or book an appointment online to get your water flowing again.