Turning on the shower and being greeted with a slow trickle instead of a satisfying gush can be a major disappointment. Low water pressure can be the fault of the municipal water supply, especially if you notice it during times of high local water usage, such as when all the neighborhood sprinklers are running. Other times the fault may lie within your own plumbing. The following guide can help you determine the cause and provide solutions to help you increase your water pressure.
Problem #1: Clogged Conditions
The aerator is the screen or head on the faucet. Kitchen and bathroom faucets tend to have small screens inside of them, while the entire shower head with its myriad of holes acts as an aerator. Their purpose is to mix air into the stream of water, which minimizes splashing and increases the perceived water pressure. Mineral deposits can clog the holes in the aerator or shower head, though, which may be the case if only one faucet has poor pressure. To clean, unscrew the shower head or tip of the faucet and remove the screen. Soak the screen or shower head overnight in white vinegar, which will dissolve the mineral deposits. Scrub with an old toothbrush in the morning to remove any remaining deposits, and then replace.
Problem #2: Faulty Faucets
The faucet can also house a clog if you are experiencing low pressure at only one fixture. Debris can get into the water supply sometimes. For example, rust from old pipes or gravel from municipal work on water lines may temporarily enter the water supply, and then form a clog inside the faucet. The only way to check this is to detach the water line from the shut-off valve that feeds into the faucet, and then turn it on manually with the shut off valve. Make sure the line is aimed into a large bucket when you turn it on. If the pressure is fine directly from the line, you may need to clean or replace your faucet.
Problem #3: Renegade Regulators
A pressure regulator is a metal piece that resembles a bell and is attached to your main water line. It's usually located where the main water supply enters the home, but its location can vary. It may be the culprit if you have poor water pressure from every faucet inside your home. Replacing the regulator can be tricky, since you must first locate it and then shut off the main water supply before replacing it. If it isn't installed correctly, it can cause a major leak or an even more marked loss in water pressure. In most cases it's a good idea to hire a professional plumber from a company like Kendall Plumbing & Heating Company Inc to replace a malfunctioning pressure regulator.