Your home’s water pressure is consistently low, which causes you to have to re-wash dishes, launder your clothes and linens at least twice, and spend more time in the shower. Your water bills are going through the roof. You need to increase your home’s water pressure, but how?
Here are 10 ways to increase home water pressure:
- Open your main shutoff valve
- Follow the one appliance rule
- Buy a water pressure booster pump
- Change your showering time
- Replace leaky pipes
- Unkink the shower hose
- Get a new water pressure regulator
- Clean the showerhead
- Call a plumber to unclog pipes
- Drain the water heater too
In today’s article, we’ll talk further on each of these points so you can improve the water pressure in your home whether you’re bathing, washing dishes, or running the laundry.
Let’s get started.
Got Low Water Pressure? Try These 10 Methods
Open Your Main Shutoff Valve
Is your home new or did you just move in? Then we’ll begin by talking about the most obvious solution to your low water pressure problem. After all, sometimes the obvious solution is the correct one!
It just could be that your home’s main shutoff valve is currently in the off position. By turning it on, your water pressure should increase.
How do you find your main shutoff valve to check its status? That’s a little easier said than done. The valve might be in one of several areas depending on the layout of your property.
One such location is around your home’s foundation. Other locations include the crawlspace, basement, underground, or even outdoors.
The valve should have levers and a circular handle. If yours is indoors such as in a basement, then check the main water line. The main shutoff valve should be between three and five feet away from that line. Otherwise, in the basement, the main shutoff valve could be near your furnace or your water heater.
Within a crawl space, you usually shouldn’t have to go very deep to find the valve.
When you locate your main shutoff valve, turn it to the left. If yours won’t go any further left, then the valve is already open. If it was off, then twisting it left will open the valve.
Even if this doesn’t solve your water pressure issues, it’s still a good idea to know where your main shutoff valve is and how it works in case of an emergency!
Follow the One Appliance Rule
Since the appliances and fixtures in your home that use water are already at a disadvantage due to your reduced water pressure, don’t make it worse by putting strain on the appliances/fixtures.
Although it can be inconvenient at times, you should use establish a rule in your household where everyone is allowed to use one appliance or fixture at a time.
For example, if someone’s showering, then you wouldn’t try to do dishes at the same time. When you’re running the washer, no one else should shower. Your pipes only have to direct water to one appliance or fixture at a time, which might keep the water pressure more consistent.
The water temperature will be consistent too, which is especially nice if you’re taking a shower. If you’ve ever had anyone flush the toilet on you while you’re showering, you know that cold burst of water is not pleasant!
Buy a Water Pressure Booster Pump
Your household would certainly benefit from a water pressure booster pump. Allow us to explain what one of these pumps is and how it works.
A water booster pump induces pressure so water can exit a storage tank and travel throughout the home at a higher pressure. The flow rate of water should go up as well.
This happens due to the impeller within the pump. The other parts are the outlet, inlet, flow-sensing device, and motor. As water enters the pump, the impeller begins rotating due to the motor. The impeller can be a rotating diaphragm or a propeller depending on the model.
In the case of an oscillating diaphragm, the diaphragm comprises two plates. One of these plates features indentations and the other has cups. The plates roll in unison, flattening the cups to send water away. Then the plates open up to bring in more water.
Admittedly, booster pumps can be complex technology, and their cost is anywhere from $200 to $800. You might want to try the other methods on this list first before deducing that a water pressure booster pump is your only viable solution.
Change Your Showering Time
For some households, your water pressure issue might not be isolated to your property alone. If you talk to your neighbors, they too might experience fluctuations in pressure. This is a community water issue then, which makes it difficult for you to do much around your home to change your water pressure.
One thing you can do that might make a surprisingly big difference is switching the times you shower.
If you know your street has low water pressure as a whole, then trying to shower at the same time as everyone else is going to put a strain on the already poor water system in your community.
When you shower during off-peak times, you might notice an increase in water pressure because there’s more water to go around.
What times are considered peak hours? The morning is one of the most popular times for people to shower, as lots of people like to start their day with their shower already taken care of. They also appreciate the wakeup call that a morning shower is.
For those who don’t have time to shower in the morning or for those who work strenuous jobs, an evening shower is another common time. To avoid peak hours, you might shower later in the morning, in the afternoon, or later in the evening.
Replace Leaky Pipes
Are your water pipes leaking? It doesn’t matter which appliance or fixture they’re connected to, leaky pipes throughout your property are majorly problematic. You lose water flow, and the water pressure goes down as well.
Most homeowners don’t even realize their pipes are leaking, so it’s worth taking the time to determine whether yours are. How do you do that, you ask? There’s one simple but reliable test you can use, and it requires your water meter.
First, find all faucets in your home, the outdoor ones in addition to the indoor ones. Turn them all firmly off. Then wait at least 60 minutes before you read your water gauge.
If your gauge shows no activity, then your pipes aren’t leaking. This means your water pressure issues are caused by something else.
However, if you notice your water gauge is moving, even slightly, then water is still traveling throughout the pipes even when the faucets are turned off. This indicates a leak in your pipes.
The next area of concern is tracking down which pipes are affected. This is something you should call on a plumber to diagnose. Then they can repair the leaky pipes so your water pressure improves.
Unkink the Shower Hose
Remember how earlier in this guide we recommended checking whether your home’s main water shutoff valves were still set into the off position and how easy that was?
Here’s another easy fix, especially if you notice that your water pressure seems lower when showering compared to when using your sinks or your washing machine.
If your showerhead isn’t built into the shower wall but is attached to a hose, check that the showerhead hose hasn’t kinked up. This will require you to take down the detachable showerhead and pull its hose taut. Then turn the shower on.
Is the showerhead getting more pressure? Then that was an easy fix!
Get a New Water Pressure Regulator
Another device you can buy that should make a big change in your water pressure is a regulator.
Water pressure regulators or pressure-reducing valves come pre-installed in some properties, but not all. We recommend checking for one around your home before buying a regulator.
Although a water pressure regulator is supposed to prevent water pressure from getting too high (as this could cause the pipes to burst), if yours is old or faulty, it might not work as intended. Thus, you could be getting lower water pressure than usual because of the regulator.
If your home already has a regulator, it should be near the main water line. Go back to where you found the main shutoff valve and look for it there, as it should be within the same proximity.
The regulator has a spring-loaded diaphragm that feeds water through. The diaphragm will compress to limit the flow of water.
A new water flow regulator should control the pressure of your household water so it’s not overly high, but not restrict water pressure rates until you have low pressure.
Clean the Showerhead
Showering is one of the worst times to get low water pressure, as you can double and even triple the time you spend in there trying to get clean. We already recommended you try unkinking the showerhead hose in your shower, but that might not have gotten to the root of the problem.
It could be that your issue isn’t with low water pressure, but that the water can’t get through your showerhead because it’s so filthy. You’ll know this is your problem if the water pressure from other fixtures in your home seems fine.
How do you clean a showerhead? First, unscrew it. Then use a toothbrush or another small cleaning instrument to remove grime and sediment from each nozzle of the showerhead. You might even be able to rub the nozzles with your finger to clear them of gunk.
For very dirty showerheads, combine vinegar and water in a bowl and then soak the showerhead at least overnight. Then reinstall it and test the showerhead. It should work a lot better now!
Call a Plumber to Unclog Pipes
Sediment such as minerals and scale don’t just accumulate in your showerhead, but in your pipes as well. That’s likelier to happen if your home has hard water.
What is hard water? It’s water with more minerals in it.
Although it looks the same as soft water to the naked eye, hard water can affect your life in a lot of ways. Every time you wash your hands or shower, the water feels filmy, which makes it difficult to get clean. Your glassware can develop hard water spots as well.
Plus, as we mentioned, minerals are building up in your shower pipes. When they accumulate to an extreme degree, they narrow the pipes so water can’t travel through easily. This will restrict the water pressure in your home.
While you can use household products to remove some scale buildup, your best bet is to call a plumber to ensure all the minerals are completely gone.
Drain the Water Heater Too
It’s not only your showerhead and plumbing pipes that are affected by minerals. Your water heater tank too can get blocked up.
If your water pressure takes a noticeable dip whenever you use hot water but not when you’re using cold water (such as when running the washing machine), then this is the likeliest culprit.
Draining the heater can help. If you’re not comfortable draining your water heater, then let your plumber do it.
Should you want to proceed with the job yourself, here’s what you do.
First, on the water heater, access your cold-water supply valve and turn it off. Then power off your heater. With a spare garden hose, connect the hose to the tank drain valve. Move the other hose end towards a floor drain or into a bucket.
Find the drain valve on your water heater and release it. Please stay away as the water begins draining, as the water will still be hot. When the water finishes draining, run your cold-water supply for a moment to disturb any sediment you might have missed.
The worse the scale buildup, the more times you’ll have to flush your water heater. When the water is running clear, you can consider your water heater successfully flushed.
Understanding what causes low water pressure can help you fix it. Try these 10 measures, as they address all sorts of common causes of low water pressure. Feel free to call your plumber anytime as well. Good luck!