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Can Faulty Water Heaters Impact Household Water Pressure?

Updated: | Published:

A corroded water heater component.
A corroded water heater component.

If you are experiencing problems with your home's water pressure, your water heater may be the culprit.

These issues could stem from a temporary problem, like a partially closed valve, or they could be indicative of a more systemic issue within your home's plumbing.

In this article, we will cover what household water heaters do, how a faulty one can affect your home's water pressure, the signs that may indicate a faulty water heater, and how to permanently increase your water pressure.

What are Household Water Heaters?

Household water heaters are essential appliances designed to provide a steady supply of hot water for various domestic needs, ranging from bathing and cleaning to cooking and laundry.

These devices typically consist of a storage tank or a tankless unit, each employing distinct mechanisms to heat and deliver water.

Storage tank water heaters store and heat water within an insulated tank, utilizing heating elements or a burner to maintain a preset temperature. In comparison, tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, instantly heat water as it flows through coils or heat exchangers.

Properly sizing, installing, and maintaining household water heaters are paramount to their performance, efficiency, and longevity.

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How do Faulty Water Heaters Impact Household Water Pressure?

Faulty water heaters can significantly impact household water pressure. The causes of fluctuating water pressure can range from simple issues like a partially closed supply valve to the water heater or a kinked supply/outlet pipe (if your hot water heater uses flexible pipe connections).

Numerous problems stemming from a malfunctioning water heater can lead to a decrease in water pressure throughout the household:

  1. Sediment Buildup: Over time, sediment, minerals, and debris can accumulate at the bottom of a water heater tank. This is often caused by the effects of hard water. The sediment buildup not only reduces the available volume of hot water but can also clog the water lines connected to the heater. Consequently, water flow becomes restricted, resulting in lower water pressure at fixtures like faucets and showers.
  2. Leaking Pressure Relief Valve: The pressure relief valve is a safety feature on water heaters that releases excess pressure to prevent the tank from exploding. If this valve is faulty or leaking, it can cause a continuous release of pressure, which affects the overall system pressure and subsequently lowers water pressure throughout the household.
  3. Failing Pressure Regulator: Some water heaters have built-in pressure regulators to maintain consistent water pressure throughout the home. If this component malfunctions, it can lead to inconsistent water pressure, causing fluctuations that are especially noticeable during hot water usage.
  4. Clogged or Corroded Pipes: A faulty water heater can introduce debris or rust particles into the water lines. These particles can accumulate within the pipes and fixtures, causing blockages that restrict water flow and decrease overall water pressure.
  5. Leakage or Corrosion: If a water heater develops leaks due to corrosion or other issues, it can impact the overall pressure in the plumbing system. Leaking hot water not only wastes water but also reduces the amount of available water for distribution, leading to decreased pressure.

To address these issues and restore proper water pressure, it's essential to have a professional plumber inspect and repair the water heater. Regular maintenance, including flushing the tank to remove sediment and checking all components for proper functioning, can help prevent water heater-related pressure problems and maintain a smoothly operating plumbing system.

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What are the Signs of Faulty Water Heaters?

A faulty water heater exhibits several telltale signs that indicate potential issues within the system:

  • Inconsistent hot water supply: This is a common sign, characterized by water temperature fluctuations during use. Unusual noises such as popping, hissing, or banging sounds can indicate sediment buildup within the tank, which can hinder heating efficiency.
  • Reduced water pressure: If you notice slow water flow or reduced water pressure from hot water faucets, it may signify potential sediment blockages or a failing pressure relief valve.
  • Leakages around the unit: Particularly, if you observe pooling water or signs of corrosion, this can indicate possible tank deterioration or a malfunctioning valve.
  • Increased water bills: Diminished energy efficiency can result in higher utility bills, suggesting a deteriorating heating element or inefficient operation. This is often noticed over an extended period.

Hot water heaters have limited service lives. If your heater is more than 10 years old, there is a good chance it has started to corrode significantly internally and may require replacement.

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How to Increase Low Water Pressure Caused by Water Heaters

To increase water pressure in your home due to a faulty water heater, begin by addressing the heater itself. Flush the tank and replace the pressure relief valve. If the problem persists, it's crucial to inspect the broader plumbing system.

Low water pressure could be a sign of pipe corrosion, leaks, or blockages elsewhere in the plumbing. Corroded or clogged pipes can restrict water flow, impacting pressure throughout the household.

If systemic plumbing issues are identified, a full home repipe is the best solution. Replacing the entire system at once is less disruptive and more cost-effective than doing it in stages.

Low water pressure from blocked pipes
Low water pressure from blocked pipes

Repiping addresses potential hidden problems, enhances overall plumbing performance, and eliminates the need to constantly adjust water pressure to compensate for underlying issues.

Here at Repipe Specialists, our repipes are typically completed in as little as one day, with a return visit on the second day for wall patching if needed. We handle everything, including permits and inspections.

A Repipe Specialist consultant would be happy to explain all your options, either in person or in a remote consult session - schedule a free repipe quote.

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Get a Quote to Repipe Your Home

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced plumbing in thousands of homes across the USA with modern Uponor PEX tubing or copper pipe. We continually get positive customer feedback from customers at how pleased they are with their fast flowing, high pressure water post-repipe. We often exceed their expectations on:

  • Speed: Our repipe crews typically complete a repipe in a day, returning on another day for wall patching.
  • Convenience: Through our One-Stop Repipe™ process, we handle everything from permits, to wall patching, to inspections.
  • Cleanliness: Our crews are trained to protect your home while working (we cover all surfaces with protective sheeting), and to clean up fully at the end of each day.
  • Peace of Mind: Repipe Specialists is a fully licensed plumber in every state we operate in, and we back all of our repipes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Financing programs: To help take the sting out of unplanned repipe expenses, we offer several financing programs.
  • Price: As a specialist that performs hundreds of repipes a week, we can deliver high-quality repipes at a lower cost vs generalist plumbers. We have another article that covers whole house repipe cost factors in detail. Our quotes typically range from $4,500 to $15,000 depending on the size and complexity of your project.

Schedule a free in-home consult, and a local repipe consultant will explain all your repiping options and provide you with a written, fixed price quote. Replace your pipes and enjoy increased water pressure.

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About Repipe Specialists

Expert Repiping at an Affordable Cost

Since our founding in 1991, we've been completing residential and multi-family building repipes to the highest standard.

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our One Stop Repipe™ process: providing you with a high quality and convenient repipe experience while offering significant savings compared to traditional plumbers - plus, our work is guaranteed for life.

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