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What Are the Causes of Low Water Pressure in the Home?

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Wondering why you have low water pressure? We have answers.
Wondering why you have low water pressure? We have answers.

Low water pressure is not only frustrating, but it might also indicate more serious issues in your home's plumbing.

Some causes of low water pressure can be easy to address, while others may require an extensive solution, such as a complete home repiping.

In this article, we will explore the common causes of low water pressure, distinguish between systemic and temporary causes, and provide guidance on addressing both types of issues.

The Common Causes of Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure in your home's plumbing can be caused by any number of problems in your home's plumbing. We have put together a top ten list of the most common causes of low water pressure:

  1. Old Galvanized Pipes: Over time, old galvanized pipes can corrode and develop rust. This corrosion reduces the inner diameter of the pipes, restricting the flow of water and causing low water pressure throughout the plumbing system.
  2. corroded old galvanized plumbing
    Corroded, old galvanized plumbing
  3. Mineral Buildup in Pipes and Outlets: Minerals like calcium and magnesium can accumulate inside pipes and outlets due to the effects of hard water. This buildup narrows the passage for water, resulting in decreased water pressure as it struggles to pass through the restricted openings.
  4. Water Leaks in Pipes and Slabs: Water leaks within your plumbing system, especially in concealed areas like pipes within walls or slabs, can result in a loss of pressure. The escaping water reduces the overall flow available to fixtures, leading to low water pressure.
  5. Corroded pipe leaking under a slab
    Corroded pipe leaking under a slab
  6. Restricted Flow in Main Supply to House: If the main water supply line to your house is partially blocked or restricted due to debris, sediment, or even a closed valve, it can limit the amount of water entering your home, leading to low water pressure at all fixtures.
  7. Low Water Pressure In Municipal Water Supply: A decrease in water pressure from the municipal supply can affect your home's water pressure. This is usually beyond your control and may be caused by maintenance, supply system issues, outages, or high demand in your area.
  8. Faulty Water Pressure Regulator: A malfunctioning water pressure regulator can fail to maintain the desired pressure in your plumbing system. It may allow excessive pressure to escape, resulting in lower-than-normal water pressure throughout your home.
  9. Hot Water Tank Heater Issues: Sediment buildup inside a hot water tank can reduce the efficiency of the heater. As a result, it may struggle to deliver hot water at adequate pressure, causing low water pressure in hot water fixtures like showers and faucets.
  10. Corroded heating element from a water heater
    Corroded heating element from a water heater
  11. Well Water System Malfunctioning: In homes with well water, issues with the well pump or pressure tank can impact water pressure. A malfunctioning well pump may not provide sufficient pressure to meet the demands of your plumbing system, leading to low water pressure throughout your home.
  12. A Fully or Partially Closed Valve: Fully or partially closed water supply valves can limit the flow of water to specific fixtures or areas within your home. If these valves are inadvertently closed or not fully open, it can cause low water pressure in the affected areas.
  13. Improperly Sized Pipes: Pipes that are too small in diameter for the demand of your plumbing fixtures cannot supply an adequate volume of water. This results in reduced water pressure, especially when multiple fixtures are in use simultaneously.

For a more detailed dissection of the common causes of low water pressure, check out our ultimate guide.


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What is the Difference Between Systemic and Temporary Causes of Low Water Pressure?

There are two types of causes of low water pressure: temporary and systemic.

Temporary causes can include municipal water supply outages, closed valves, or high-demand periods. These issues typically arise suddenly and are usually resolved when the circumstances change or are addressed. Temporary causes can often be remedied quickly by opening valves, waiting for the supply to be restored, adjusting water usage patterns, or fixing individual faulty components within the plumbing system.

Systemic causes, such as pipe blockages, corroded pipes, or improperly sized pipes, involve persistent problems that consistently affect water pressure over time. These issues often require more extensive and permanent solutions, such as pipe replacement or system upgrades, to restore proper water pressure throughout the home. We have a detailed article covering the systemic causes of low water pressure.

It's crucial to distinguish between these two types of causes when diagnosing and addressing low water pressure to determine whether the issue requires immediate action or more long-term solutions, such as a full home repipe.


How to Fix Low Water Pressure in the Home

Depending on the type of issue causing low pressure in your home's plumbing, there are several ways to address the problems.

Fixing Low Pressure Caused by Temporary Issues

Several solutions are available for increasing low water pressure caused by localized plumbing issues, including checking mainline water filters, showerhead and faucet filters, and outlet valves. These solutions don't require significant repipe work. Some additional issues to consider include:

  • Closed Valve: Check for fully or partially closed valves within your plumbing system. Start at the street, inspecting the water meter and main shut-off valves, especially if the pressure drop affects the whole house. For hot water issues, examine valves near the water heater and individual fixtures.
  • Water Main Outage: Stay informed about municipal water supply status through online updates. Temporary water main disruptions in your area may cause pressure drops. Wait for the issue to be resolved by the water utility.
  • Pressure Regulator Issue: Older pressure regulators can suddenly fail, potentially causing a drop in water flow. If your regulator is over 10 years old, consider replacing it, especially in areas with hard water.
  • Temporary Pipe Clogging from Silt: After local water main work, silt and debris might enter your plumbing system, leading to low flow. Inspect a fixture like a showerhead for debris behind the screen filter. Remove and clean screen filters on outlets, then flush your plumbing system to clear the silt buildup.

Fixing Low Pressure Caused by Systemic Issues

When dealing with systemic issues causing low water pressure in your home's plumbing, the most common solution will be a full home repipe.

Systemic issues, such as old galvanized plumbing or mineral and scale buildup in pipes, significantly restrict water flow throughout your home.

There is no effective way to clean scale or rust inside pipes, so they must be replaced. A whole home repipe will always be more cost-effective overall relative to doing multiple partial replacements section-by-section.

When it comes to dealing with rust and scale buildup, PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing is generally more effective than other piping materials like copper piping. The benefits of PEX, including its durability, flexibility, and longevity, generally outweigh those of most other plumbing materials.

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.


Get a Quote to Repipe to Stop Low Water Pressure

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced the plumbing in over 75,000 homes since 1991, and we very often get positive feedback from our customers at how pleased they are with their fast-flowing, high-pressure water, post-repipe. 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 fast-flowing water.


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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