Water pressure is a simple thing, but it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference. Whether it’s getting your dishes done faster, filling pots quickly, or just taking a relaxing shower, we find low pressure an inconvenience or an annoyance. But what if your faucets have slowed to a trickle? What causes it, and — equally to the point — what can you do about it? Here are the questions you should ask, and when you should call Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning.
Are the Valves Open?
Think back to the last time you had a plumbing problem. You may have shut off a valve near the source of the problem (your sink or toilet, for example) or shut off the water main before going on vacation. But it’s easy to forget those valves, and you may not have turned them all the way on when you re-opened them. Check there first, and call for water main repair if the faucet isn’t the problem.
Is the Pressure Regulator Faulty?
Sudden spikes in water pressure can damage pipes and fixtures. Most new homes, and older homes where plumbing has been retrofitted, have pressure regulators that keep water pressure even. Like other fixtures, pressure regulators aren’t designed to last forever. Age and other problems like hard water buildup can cause them to fail, and when that happens, your water pressure may suddenly spike, or it can plummet without warning. While this isn’t a complex repair, it’s one best left to the experts.
Is it the Pipes?
Your water main, and the pipes in your home, can clog just like your drains do. Municipal water is free of most contaminants, but you might still have hard water that’s leaving mineral deposits that build up in your water pipes much the same as grease and oils clog your drains. Unlike your drains, however, you can’t just snake the water main. It may need to be replaced with copper, or with a more cost-effective PEX pipe.
Is it Your Fixtures?
Of course, hard water doesn’t just cause problems with your water mains. Sometimes plumbing fixture replacement is smarter, since that’s a common (and highly visible) trouble spot. If your shower head is a recent installation, it probably has a flow regulator; that’s just one of the many parts that can clog. So, too, can aerators, hoses, and cartridge components. When that happens, your water flow can slow to a trickle.
Okay, Now What?
The first thing we suggest doing before you call us is to do a bit of troubleshooting on your own. Check each fixture in the house. California water flow rates are capped differently depending on the fixture, but most fixtures will flow at about 1.0 to 1.8 GPM. Use a small container to test flow. We suggest using something that’s a quart (32 ounces) so that you’re not wasting water; time how long it takes for each tap to fill that container. You may see that it’s just one faucet that’s slower than the others; on the other hand, it could be that your whole home has low pressure. Make note of your findings, then call Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll find the source of the problem and suggest the most cost-effective repair so you don’t have to worry about your pressure or your plumbing.