What causes low water pressure in the whole house?

water coming slow from shower head

Increasing water pressure

Do you wonder why your home’s water pressure is low? It can aggravate when you’re taking a shower or washing your car to have poor water pressure. For most water related things in our lives today, proper water pressure is important, and for our health, good water pressure is essential. If your water pressure is like not much more than a trickle, is there anything you can do about it?

Well, maybe a few things, which is what we’ll discuss here today. The first thing you need to do is make sure you don’t have any leaks with these steps:

  • A meter check: Make sure every water outlet is turned off inside and outside the house, then check the water meter. If the meter is moving, there is water running somewhere in or under your house, or underground between the meter and your house.
  • A visual check: Look under the cabinets, under the house, make sure there isn’t water running or trickling.

If all is okay, the meter is still while the water is off and you’re finding any obvious signs of a water leak, then you need to get a water pressure checker or water pressure gauge. Not everyone has one of these, so you may ask, “How do I check my water pressure without a gauge?” Keep reading because we will share three distinct ways to do that:

First Method: For this method, you need to have an average garden hose and a measuring tape, then follow these steps:

  • Attach the water hose to the outdoor water outlet. 
  • Connect the garden house to an outdoor spigot and turned it on. 
  • Raise the water hose up as high as possible and keep raising it until the water quits coming out. 
  • Using the tape measure, get the distance between the end of the house and the water spigot and write that down.

You now have the water pressure measured in water feet, or the elevation of the water pressure down. Divide this number 2.31 and you’ll have the water-feet measurement into pressure per square inch.  Keep in mind that since this isn’t done with an exact gauge, you’re getting an approximate water pressure measure.

Second Method: You’ll need a jug with measurements on it and a timer, then follow these steps:  

  • Set the timer for 6 seconds. A smartphone timer will work!
  • Start filling the jug and begin the timer at the same time.
  • As soon as the timer goes off, turn off the water.
  • Multiply the amount of water collected in the jug by ten to calculate the volume collected in 1 minute.

If you measure less than ten liters per minute, you have low water pressure. If you get a measurement between ten and fifteen, you have decent water pressure, and anything over fifteen liters per minute is excellent water pressure. Please note this method is giving you the volume of water per minute, not exactly water pressure measurement. 

Third Method: You’ll need a one gallon bucket and a timer for this method, following these steps, which will give you a flow rate not a water pressure rate:

  • Make sure all water faucets are off inside and outside your home.
  • Using the water faucet closest to the main water that doesn’t have any restrictions on the flow rate.
  • Place the one gallon bucket below the faucet. 
  • Turn the water on to fill the bucket and begin the timer at the same time.

Calculate how long it took to fill the one gallon bucket to get your per minute flow rate. If the flow rate is over 6 gallons per minute, your water pressure is too high. Plumbing experts recommend having a water regulator installed to avoid premature failure of water-using appliances and water faucets.

How do I increase water pressure in my home?

Using a water pressure gauge or any of the methods we described above and if your water pressure is measuring lower than 40 pounds square inch, there may be a pressure-reducing valve on your water main. You can increase the water pressure with any of these ways:

  • Slightly turn the screw on the top of the valve
  • Call your local water authorities and inquire if there is an issue locally. If not, request they do a pressure check.
  • If you are on a private well, you may have problems with the well pump. 

Do all homes have a water pressure regulator?

No, there is not a pressure regulator at every home, however, if plumbing maintenance is done on a home, it may require a pressure regulator to reduce the water pressure that enters the house from the main water line.

How long do water pressure regulators last?

A pressure regulator can have a lifespan between 10 years and 20 years. If your home is equipped with a pressure regulator and the water pressure has decreased or increased recently, it may time to replace it.  They are available at big box home repair stores and can range in price from $35 up to $120.

slow water from faucet

How do you fix low water pressure?

If you’re experiencing low water pressure and all indications point to the problem being outside of your home, have a pressure tank and pump integrated into your plumbing. This isn’t a DIY type job; you must hire an experienced plumber for the job.

Pressure tanks are frequently used to work with well systems, but they are a significant source of help for homes on a municipal line too. A pressure tank integrated between your home and the main shutoff valve, will maintain the water volume high in your system and maintain a constant pressure.

To boost the water pressure more, you’ll need a pump to go with the tank.  This will take the low-pressure water entering your home and increases the pressure square inch before it is sent to the pressure tank.

In a system without a pressure release valve, the water is pushed back to the main by increased water pressure from the expansion. A pressure release valve prevents that from happening, and an expansion tank is needed to accommodate the increased water pressure and volume. Water pressure without tank will allow pressure to increase throughout the house until a water fixture is used. This is setting the home’s plumbing up for problems because that extra water pressure will damage appliances, faucets, and pipes eventually. Call 317-677-4918 today for water pressure service in Indianapolis, IN.