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How Do You Diagnose Water Pressure Problems?

While it isn’t harmful or dangerous, poor water pressure can become a big annoyance over time, especially when it’s unexplained. Whether you’re waiting hours for your dishwasher to finish a cycle or can’t ever seem to get all of the shampoo out of your hair, the inconvenience can feel like a permanent part of your home. Luckily for most homeowners, there are ways to identify, diagnose, and treat low-pressure problems in your home. Plumbers in Asheville, NC, are well equipped to help you get your water pressure back to where it should be.

What Should My Water Pressure Be?

Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch or psi. The average water pressure is between 40-80 psi. If you suspect you’re having issues, you can check this measurement yourself by putting a pressure gauge — which is available at any hardware store — onto your hose valve when all water-using appliances and faucets are turned off. This will give you a baseline reading. If you use well water, you can get an accurate reading by checking your air fill valve. If it’s lower than 40-60 psi, you may have low water pressure.

Signs of Low Water Pressure

Water pressure issues may affect a single fixture, your entire home, or even multiple homes in your neighborhood. Figuring out which it is can narrow down potential causes. For instance, if your neighbors are also experiencing problems with their water pressure, that’s a problem for your water utility, and unlikely to be resolved by you or a plumber. However, if it’s only within your own home, there are many possible causes and treatments.

In general, signs of low water pressure are pretty straightforward. You’ll likely notice lower water pressure when you’re doing certain chores that require water, such as taking a shower, running the dishwasher, filling the washing machine, using the bathroom or kitchen sink, or watering the lawn with an outdoor hose. You may also notice plumbing leaks, reducing tension in your piping and leading to low water pressure.

Water tap with drop

Causes of Poor Water Pressure

There are a number of causes when it comes to narrowing down the reason behind your poor water pressure. Depending on the complexity of each, you may need a professional to assist you with recovering the appropriate water pressure for your home. Below are some of the more common causes of low water pressure in Asheville.

  1. Your Meter Valve Is Partially Closed: If you have recently had a repair done and have noticed a reduction in the water pressure throughout your house, check the meter valve. You’ll find the valve next to the water meter on the supply pipe to your home. While it’s usually only used by technicians, it may have been left partially unopened during a repair. A fully open meter valve will be parallel with the water pipe itself.
  2. Your House Has Old Steel Pipes: If you haven’t noticed a sudden drop off in water pressure but rather a gradual decrease over the years or even decades in an older house, the culprit may be corrosion in your water pipes. This occurs when old galvanized steel pipes are corroded to the point that water flow is significantly restricted. This can be a high cost to resolve as it involves re-piping with pipes of a different material, such as copper or plastic. This should be done by a licensed, experienced plumber.
  3. Your Pressure Regulator Isn’t Working: A faulty pressure regulator is another common cause of home water pressure problems. This is the control valve that reduces the input pressure in your plumbing system so as to minimize damage to your pipes. If your pressure regulator isn’t working, you may notice either a sudden upward or downward spike in your water pressure. If the pressure regulator needs replacing, it’s best to reach out to a professional to ensure the replacement is the correct size and brand for your home.

Improving Your Water Pressure At Home

While you can’t replace your pipes yourself (unless you’re a professional plumber), there are steps you can take to improve your water pressure. One of these is using a water softener to improve your water pressure. This is typically done after a pipe cleaning: water softeners remove iron, calcium, and other minerals from your water before it travels through your pipes, helping keep them clean and reducing the likelihood of future home water issues. As a bonus, water softeners can also reduce the amount of soap used to wash dishes, as lower calcium in your tap water means your soap will be more effective.

Similarly, if your home uses well water and you believe the problem is an old or broken pressure tank, removing and replacing it with a new tank is another step you can do yourself if you feel so equipped.

When to Call a Plumber

Depending on your DIY abilities, there are many ways you can check your water pressure and try troubleshooting on your own. However, if your solutions come up short or you’re still unsure what the root cause of the problem is, the expert plumbers at Four Seasons of Asheville can make your water pressure problems disappear. Reach out today for any emergency plumbing needs or with any water pressure questions today.

How Do You Diagnose Water Pressure Problems
Max Rose - Owner of Four Seasons Plumbing

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Max Rose

Max Rose is the owner of Four Seasons Plumbing, a plumbing company in Asheville, North Carolina.