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3 Causes of Poor Water Pressure

A faucet with water
One of the most frustrating home plumbing problems also happens to be one of the most common: low water pressure. To make matters worse, this issue may stem from a variety of underlying issues.

If you would like to improve your plumbing troubleshooting skills, keep reading. This article outlines three frequent causes of insufficient water pressure.

1. Mineral Build Up

Whether you realize it or not, your water supply likely consists of hard water. Over 85 percent of homes in America have hard water. Hard water contains elevated levels of dissolved minerals. Scientists define water hardness in terms of the concentration of calcium carbonate per liter of water. Hard water has more than 60 grams of calcium carbonate per liter.

Hard water creates numerous problems, from decreased soap efficiency, to skin irritation, to unsightly stains. In addition, hard water also often plays a role in reducing water pressure. Over time, mineral deposits can clog up things like faucets and shower heads, impeding the proper flow of water.

Unlike other water pressure problems, the effects of hard water may vary from fixture to fixture. Luckily, you can dissolve mineral deposits using white vinegar. For best results, ensure that the vinegar remains on the fixture for at least an hour. Those who seek a longer-term solution should consider investing in a home water softener, which eliminates minerals before they can form deposits.

2. Clogged Pipes

Poor water pressure may also stem from restrictions in your plumbing pipes themselves. While any type of pipe can develop a clog, galvanized steel pipes tend to experience this problem often. As galvanized pipes age, they often lose their protective coating of zinc. As a result, corrosion can begin accumulating on the inside walls of the pipe.

When coupled with mineral build-up and other natural deposits, rust eventually affects the ability of water to move through the pipe. The resulting restriction leaves your home starved of water.

In addition, such restrictions increase the likelihood of other materials lodging in the pipe and creating an even more serious clog.

Clogged pipes require the intervention of an experienced plumber. First, the plumber must determine the severity of the corrosion. Severely corroded pipes usually require complete replacement. In other cases, the plumber may be able to clear up the clog through the technique known as backflushing.

3. Faulty Pressure Regulator

Many homes contain a type of plumbing valve known as the pressure regulator. As its name implies, the pressure regulator controls the pressure of the water flowing into your home from the municipal supply lines. In many cases, the municipal water supply has a pressure high enough to damage your home's pipes.

The pressure regulator ensures that the water pressure in your home never exceeds a certain threshold, thus sparing you the expensive problems that high pressure can cause. Unfortunately, a pressure regulator will eventually fail. At that point, you may notice a range of problems, including water hammering and excessive water pressure.

In some cases, a faulty pressure regulator may also lead to insufficient water pressure. To determine if your low pressure stems from problems with your pressure regulator, a professional must test the valve using a special gauge. If the regulator behaves normally, the problem lies elsewhere. Otherwise, installing a new pressure regulator should resolve the issue.

Insufficient water pressure can make even the most basic water-related tasks a struggle. Poor pressure can also prevent your appliances from working correctly. Fortunately, a professional plumber can help identify and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

For more information about locating the source of your water pressure problems, please give us a call! (317) 423-7289