7 Easy Steps to Find Out Why You Have Low Water Pressure
September 1, 2021 Mark MacFarlane at OutFactors.com

7 Easy Steps to Find Out Why You Have Low Water Pressure

Posted in Home Maintenance, Home Services

7 Easy Steps to Find Out Why You Have Low Water Pressure

Loss of Water Pressure

Have you noticed that the water pressure in your home has suddenly dropped? There are many reasons why this can happen with most of them being out of your control and nothing to get overly concerned with. However, if you notice a sudden substantial drop in pressure that lasts longer than a day or the pressure is steadily declining over several days then you should take appropriate action to find out what is causing the drop loss in water pressure.  But before you call a plumber and waste hundreds of dollars for possibly nothing, follow our 7 easy steps to find out why you have low water pressure detailed below. These 7 easy steps can be done by most homeowners in about 1 hour.

A quick note before we begin, the below procedures are designed for homes that have water supplied by a city or local municipality. Homes that have their water supplied by private well water will have substantially different systems and the below procedures will not work.

The procedures to find the cause of your low water pressure are listed in a sequence with the most likely and easiest steps to complete listed first. Follow the steps in order and before you know it you will have solved the mystery of why your water pressure has dropped without hiring a plumber.

Call Your Water Provider

The first and easiest step is to call the provider of your water and ask them if they have had a drop of water pressure recently or if anything has been done that would cause the water pressure to drop in your area. Confirm with them the water pressure of their system where you live.

If you live in an area with a lot of new construction it simply could be a case of demand starting to exceed supply, causing the pressure to drop. Another easy way to identify this as the potential culprit is to test your water pressure at 2 a.m. and see if the pressure is substantially higher than at 9 a.m.  If this is not the cause of the low water pressure go to the next step.

Water Meter Leak Test

The first thing you will need to do is locate your water meter. Many times they are covered in mud and you will need to clean off the glass gauge cover so you can read the meter. If you cannot find your water meter call your water service provider and they can tell you how to find your meter. The water meter gauge will have a set of numbers as well as a triangle or wheel leak detector that spins when water is being used. Next, make sure all water is turned off inside and outside the house. This includes no one using a toilet or turning on the faucet to fill a glass of water. When you are sure that no water is being used, go back to the water meter and see if the triangle or wheel is spinning. It should be not moving – not even a little bit.

If the water meter is spinning very slowly you have a small water leak, which could be a faulty toilet fill valve, dripping faucet, or a small leak. Try to identify and fix the problem, starting with dripping faucets or running toilets. If the water meter is spinning quickly, you have a larger leak that needs to be identified and fixed as soon as possible. Jump to the Call in the Plumber step below.

Check Shut Off Valves

This may seem silly, but you will be surprised how many times water pressure problems can be traced back to the replacement of a water heater or other previous plumbing work. So take a few minutes and check to make sure the main water shut-off valve and the valves on top of the water heater are in the fully open position. We recommend that you close and then reopen each valve and then retest the water pressure in the house. If this did not fix the issue, go to the next step.

Check the Water Pressure at Hose Bibb

Locate the exterior hose bibb/spigot (where you connect the garden hose) that is closest to the water meter/street. Hose bibbs do not have a filter or aerator that can get clogged so they should have full unrestricted water pressure. Open the hose bibb and visually look at the water pressure and the amount of water coming out. Does it appear to be at full flow and pressure? If you want to know the exact water pressure you can buy a fairly inexpensive water pressure tester that screws onto the hose bibb (the same way as a garden hose) to check the pressure. Your pressure should be about 40 PSI or higher.

If it is much lower than 40 PSI then there is an issue with the water pressure coming into the house and you will need to find out why. Skip ahead to the Verify Pressure at Meter procedure. If the water pressure is 40 PSI or higher then the problem is probably not the water main. Let’s find out what the problem is by going to the next step.

Test Bathtubs and Toilets

Locate the exterior hose bibb/spigot (where you connect the garden hose) that is closest to the water meter/street. Hose bibbs do not have a filter or aerator that can get clogged so they should have full unrestricted water pressure. Open the hose bibb and visually look at the water pressure and the amount of water coming out. Does it appear to be at full flow and pressure? If you want to know the exact water pressure you can buy a fairly inexpensive water pressure tester that screws onto the hose bibb (the same way as a garden hose) to check the pressure. Your pressure should be about 40 PSI or higher.

The next thing to test is the toilets. Go to each toilet and pull off the tank cover so you can see inside. The next step is to make sure the water valve is fully open. Then flush the toilet and visually listen and look at the water flow. Do the toilets fill quickly with strong water flow?  Write down your observations.

What you will do next is dependent on the outcome of the above tests.

  • If the water pressure is good in all of the bathtubs and toilets, then go to the next step.
  • If the water pressure is good except when the bathtub is set to full hot water then you most likely have a faulty hot water shut-off valve or restriction in the hot water line. Go back to the Check Shut Off Valves step to make sure the water heater valves are fully open. If you have verified the valves are fully open, then it is time to call in the professionals. Look at the Call in the Plumber step below.
  • If the water pressure varies between bathtubs and toilets then you most likely have a restriction in a plumbing line somewhere inside the house and will need to call in a professional. Look at the Call in the Plumber step below.

Inspect Faucet Filter/Aerator

Almost every sink faucet has a filter and/or aerator. These devices help save water, make the water flow evenly, as well as filtering out small debris that gets into the pipes. Almost all filters/aerators unscrew for cleaning, repair, and replacement. Take a pair of pliers or channel locks and unscrew, inspect, clean, and replace as necessary every faucet filter/aerator.

If the filters/aerators are dirty or clogged, cleaning or replacing them will help with the water flow.  In addition, you now know there is a lot of sediment in the water lines. If they are clean you can rule that out as a potential problem. Did this resolve the problem? If not, go to the Call in the Plumber step below.

Test Water Pressure at the Meter

If the water pressure at the hose bibb was low the next thing you need to do is test the water pressure at the water meter. You want to compare the water pressure at the meter to the pressure at the hose bibb. If you have an irrigation system you should have a check valve assembly very near the water meter that you can connect a water pressure gauge to test the pressure without disconnecting the water main. This can be tricky so if you are not comfortable with performing this test we recommend you engage a plumber.

If the water pressure is low at the water meter (same as the hose Bibb), your problem is most likely a defective water meter or the tap off the water main is restricted. Call the city/water supplier and explain to them the tests you did, the results, and why you have identified the problem as the water supply or meter issue. They will have someone come out to verify your results and if they are the same they will usually fix the problem at no cost to you.

If the water pressure at the meter is good but low at the hose Bibb it usually means that you have a kink or obstruction in the main water line. If there was a lot of sediment/debris in the aerators then the problem could be throughout your system but most likely the problem is the water main buried in the ground between the water meter and the house. Unfortunately, this is not a do-it-yourself project so please move on to the last step, Call in the Plumber.

Time to Call the Plumber

Most of the time the above steps will help you identify and resolve the problem but when it doesn’t it is equally important to know when to call in the professionals. If you are at this step, it is time to call in the pros. When you speak to the plumber explain the tests you did and the results of your tests. This can save you hundreds since the plumber will not need to perform the same tests and can concentrate on resolving the problem

Brought to You by OutFactors

This information is provided by OutFactors, a home cash buyer. At OutFactors, we buy houses as-is for the cash and close quickly—within just a few days. The process is extremely simple and convenient. To get the highest cash offer for your home all you have to do is fill out our simple 4 questions online form or call us at 800-420-7030. Offers are always fast and free!

OutFactors
539 West Commerce StreetGold Best Cash Offer Button
Suite 1205
Dallas, Texas 75208
Contact@OutFactors.com
(800) 420-7030

Button for Learn More about Sell and Stay Program to Stop Foreclosure

Why Low Water Pressure | Fix Low Water Pressure | OutFactors – Dallas Fort Worth, Texas