We’ve all been there…your faucets are taking forever to fill the bathtub, your showerhead is not giving you that strong spray you want after a long day. Maybe your dishwasher or washing machine is taking much longer to run a cycle than it should. The average in-home water pressure is about 40 to 45 pounds per square inch (or PSI). If you feel like you’re dealing with low water pressure, chances are your pressure has slipped below this number.

When only one fixture has low water pressure, it’s likely that the problem can be remedied if you just focus on fixing that one fixture or the pipes serving it. Widespread water pressure issues, however, can affect the whole house and signify different problems. If your home water pressure seems low, then the first thing to do is to narrow down the cause. Read on to learn our top 5 causes for low water pressure in your home. 

1.The water meter valve is not fully open

If your water pressure is low throughout your house, especially after some work has been done on your plumbing system, it’s possible that your water meter valve is not fully open. If you have recently had a repair done and are now noticing a reduction in the water pressure throughout your house, check the meter valve. It can be located on an outside wall of the house, in an underground box between the house and the street, or in an interior utility area, like a basement or attached garage. The valve is fully open when the valve handle (which may be just a metal tab that is turned with a special wrench) is parallel with the water pipe. If the handle is set at an angle to the pipe, it is not fully open.

2.The pressure regulator is failing

A pressure regulator is a control valve that reduces the input pressure in your plumbing system to a safe level that will not damage your pipes. Not all homes have them, but for those that do, a failing pressure regulator can cause a serious upward spike in water pressure. It can also have the opposite effect: a sudden reduction in your water pressure. When the pressure regulator fails, you will notice the effect on all of the fixtures in the home, and it can happen suddenly. Although a pressure regulator can sometimes be replaced by yourself with the same brand and size, in most cases is it better to call a professional to take care of it. Replacing it requires shutting off the water to the home at the water meter shutoff valve. 

3.The pipes are clogged

Believe it or not, clogs don’t just build up beneath drains. They can actually form in the depths of your piping, and even a small clog can reduce your water pressure. Because this kind of clog could be anywhere beneath your house, this is another one of those times where you’re going to want to call a plumber. The last thing you want to do is start pulling pipes apart and not being able to put them back together. Additionally, you may not know what you’re knocking loose or contaminating your pipes with. It’s one thing to put dangerous chemicals down your drain to eat away clogs, although that’s not always advisable. It’s another thing to use any questionable or hazardous chemicals in the pipes that are pumping in your drinking water, which is definitely dangerous. 

4.The pipes in your home are corroded

How much do you know about your house’s piping? Is it original to the house or was it updated recently? What material is it made from? Pipes, especially galvanized steel pipes, have an expiration date. In fact, galvanized steel pipes can begin to corrode after only 20 years. Copper pipes are usually good for 50 or more years and brass pipes should be fine for anywhere between 40 and 70 years. The possibility of corrosion increases if you have an older house. Newer pipes aren’t often made from galvanized steel and their plumbing should be fine for years to come, but older houses that haven’t been modernized may need to be re-piped. Corrosion may also be an issue if you have added plumbing fixtures to your home, like an extra bathroom or a washing machine, after the house was built. When you add plumbing fixtures to an already complete house, you are generally supposed to enlarge the branch lines of your piping. Otherwise, those portions of your pipes are working overtime and are going to corrode faster.

5.Your pipes are leaking

If your basement or foundation is flooded you already know your pipes are leaking. But it doesn’t always take a leak of that size to impact your water pressure. The leak is misdirecting your water supply so that even if everything else is working properly, you’re not getting the full flow. If you can access your pipes, go and take a look around and see if you find any wet spots or pooling water. Figure out which pipe is leaking and try to patch the leak if possible. However, even with a quick fix in place, call a plumber as soon as possible. Leaky pipes can damage your foundations but they can also contaminate your drinking water. If you’re noticing a big change in your water pressure as a result of leaky pipes, it’s very likely you’re probably dealing with more than one leak. 

Need help with your water pressure issue? Our plumbing service areas include Bend, Oregon and most of the Central Oregon region including Redmond, LaPine, Prineville, and Madras. If you’re in need of leak detection in Central Oregon, we would be happy to help!