The 6 Plumbing Issues that Might Be Causing Low Water Pressure

Balkan University, Water Line Replacement
December 28, 2017

by David Balkan

causes of low water pressure

Having good water pressure in your home is an important factor that determines the quality of living you enjoy on a daily basis. When issues occur creating low water pressure, it affects more than showering or bathing. Mundane tasks such as washing the dishes or doing laundry turn into tedious chores. You then risk becoming very unsatisfied with your overall conditions, and quality of life.

causes of low water pressure
Old plumbing can cause low water pressure

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The Most Common Issues Behind Low Water Pressure

Navigating various problems that you might face as a homeowner is a tough process, but you will get the hang of it after a while. Perhaps the most difficult problems to assess on your own are those that pertain to plumbing, and the related pipes and fixtures.

If you’re new to the field, researching the most common plumbing terms will help you understand more about this subject and all its intricacies. In the meantime, here are the six of the most common plumbing issues behind low water pressure.

1.Faulty Fixtures

The number one cause of low pressure is represented by faulty fixtures. If your shower head or faucets are old, they can likely get clogged by rust, limestone or dirt. This impedes flow and it also reduces water quality. To determine whether or not this is your issue, turn the faucets on one at a time to see which one is defective. But before testing the faucet itself, always make sure the screen and aerator on each faucet is clean and clear. A clogged aerator or screen will ruin the water pressure for the entire fixture.

If you find a clogged fixture, you need to either clean it out or replace it altogether. You can easily do this yourself, just make sure to buy new ones that fit in the same openings. Also, always to remember to turn off the water supply before working on any plumbing fixture. But if all of your plumbing fixtures have poor pressure, you might want to consider some of the following problems as being the cause for your situation.

2.Water Valve Issues

Your home’s water flow is controlled by two shut-off valves. One of them pertains to the water meter and can be found on the street side of the meter. While the other valve is on your home side of the meter. Both are usually on a wall near where the line comes in. Although in some cases only city employees have access to the former, you can check to see if it’s sufficiently open.

If either valve is not completely open, this is what is causing the issue with your pressure. As for your personal shut-off valve, it might have remained closed after a round of maintenance, so check it out as well and open it if that’s the case. Always to remember to never apply force to a valve. Always gently work it open and closed to achieve full operation. Working a valve back and forth allows for sediment to break free, and achieve full water pressure.

3.Clogged Water Pipes

If the valves are both fully open, then clogged pipes are a strong possibility. This generally happens only after a long while, particularly with galvanized pipes. To determine whether or not that’s your case, you need to call in a licensed plumber to help you assess the situation and a solution. Do not attempt to unclog the pipes on your own because it can be a rather complex endeavor. In addition, doing so improperly can contaminate your drinking supply. Frequently clogged pipes may only involve a tiny section of your plumbing system. Another reason to let a professional do the checking.

4.Failing Pressure Regulator

If your plumbing is equipped with a pressure regulator, its failure might be the cause for your discomfort. This malfunction goes both ways: either you get too much water pressure, or none at all. The lack of a middle ground is a clear telltale sign of a defective pressure regulator.

To fix this, you could attempt replacing it yourself with one of the same make and model. But like many plumbing repairs, it’s best to call in a professional. However, not all homes come equipped with this device. Thus, if yours does not have one installed, there is one final scenario that you need to consider.

5.Corroded Plumbing

Corroded plumbing is usually the cause of any issue in this department and it occurs in old houses. Therefore, if you know that yours has a hefty amount of years under its belt, you need to consider replacing all the plumbing. This will be a costly and time-consuming project, but it’s best you do it at the first sign of trouble.

If you’ve added plumbing fixtures on your home, but have not enlarged the branch lines, the old branch lines may be too small. So even if you’re old lines are not corroded,  they may need to be enlarged.

6.Insufficient Main Supply Line

If all of the above fails to address low water pressure, you main have a supply line issue. A licensed and experienced water main contractor will know the required size of your water service line. They will also be able to obtain local records to verify the sizing, including the connection size. Frequently homes have had plumbing fixtures added, or been enlarged, making the existing water supply line inadequate.

If the issue still persists even though you’ve tried everything, your last resort is to call city hall. The problem might be very well be related to an issue with the public water system in your area. This is particularly true if there has been main line work performed in your area.  So you need to let your local representative know that it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. In some cases, you may have to consider replacing your water service supply line to the street.

In Conclusion

Low or inadequate water pressure can be caused by an array of factors. Some, such as faulty fixtures, are pretty easy to identify even for novice homeowners. While others, such as corroded piping, are massive issues that require professional intervention and a full remodel of your house’s entire system. In some instances you may have to consider replacing your water service line going out to the street.

Whatever the situation may be for you, always make sure to request the opinion and possibly the assistance of an expert whenever you’re unsure about how to proceed. You need to keep your home functional and in good shape for it to last over the years.

A little bit about our guest Vincent West

Vincent West is a fresh Engineering Design graduate with a keen interest in all things DIY, Vincent West is also the mastermind behind He has worked on a handful of personal home improvement projects. And now he’s eager to spread the word on what he has learned and continues to learn – mechanical and plumbing wise.

A little bit about Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service

Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service is a NYC based licensed plumbing contractor, which has been established since 1952. They specialize in house sewers, water service lines, and drain cleaning services. Balkan is also expect at diagnosing and curing low water pressure problems relating to water service lines. Contact Balkan for a free on site visit, they are available seven days a week, and after hours as well. By involving a Team Balkan expert 1st, you may avoid unnecessary and costly repairs. Low water pressure can be hard to diagnose. Leave it to Balkan to do an in-depth analysis at no cost, then advise on the proper course of action.NYC-water-line-contractor

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

Dave Balkan

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