“How do I boost water pressure in my house?” is among the most commonly asked questions plumbing professionals have to deal with. While many people do not consider it a significant issue, it still may pose some practical problems for homeowners.
When water pressure in your home is low, filling up a bath might take longer than usual. Additionally, your faucets may let the water dribble out of them instead of producing a stable stream. Taking a shower can also get tricky when the showerhead only offers you a trickle of water instead of invigorating spray.
All of these situations might quickly lead to frustration. So, what can you do when low water pressure starts getting on your nerves? Finding the source of the problem is the first step you need to take. Only then can you search for a suitable solution and resolve your water pressure problems once and for all.
How To Find the Source of the Issue
Many different things can create low pressure in your pipes. A faulty water heater, worn-down plumbing system, or clogged showerhead are just a few examples selected from the list of possible causes.
To correctly establish the source of the issue, it is best to run a water-pressure test and check the water flow rate. Here is all you need to know about these tests.
Doing a Water-Pressure Test
The recommended PSI range for most homes is from 40 to 60. Anything below or above that margin is less than ideal and may cause some significant issues down the road.
To check your water pressure, you first need to attach the pressure gauge to a water spigot (you probably have one on an outdoor faucet). Next, you have to fully open every shut-off valve near the water meter and the water spigot. Carefully observe how far the gauge’s indicator goes. The reading you get is your home’s water pressure.
By attaching the water pressure gauge to your hose bib, you can quickly check the water pressure in your pipework and start developing a suitable solution.
Checking the Water Flow Rate
Sometimes, it is hard to believe that water pressure is distributed equally across your whole house. For example, you may have no issues using an outdoor garden-hose faucet but might be experiencing low water pressure every time you take a shower. Although it can indicate some problems with your shower head, this occurrence might have something to do with your flow rate.
In short, the flow rate is how much water is distributed through your plumbing within a specific time frame. If this amount is too low, it may prevent you from getting a proper shower with other water-using appliances (such as a washing machine) running in the background.
Fortunately, calculating your flow rate is not too difficult. Similarly, all the equipment you need to test your flow rate is pretty straightforward and consists of only two elements — a one-litre jug and a timer.
Here is a step by step guide you can follow:
- Ensure that all your water-using appliances are turned off and close all faucets in your home.
- Place the jug under the problem tap.
- Fully open the tap and start measuring the time with the timer.
- Stop once the jug is full.
If it took you more than seven seconds to fill the jug, your flow rate is too low.
How To Resolve the Issue
As many things can cause water pressure issues, there are also multiple ways of handling them. For instance, you can boost a single tap or shower or install a water pressure booster at the water meter.
Depending on the problem you encounter, ways to solve them can be more or less challenging. With that being said, whether you choose a quick fix or a more long-term solution is entirely up to you.
Here are a few actions you can take to improve water pressure in your house.
Contact the Local Water Department
If your house is on city water, you can ask your local water department to run a pressure test. It is a quick way to check whether the adequate water pressure is coming from the street into your home.
In case the water pressure issues you experience come as the result of the faulty water main, your local authorities are obligated to fix it.
Adjust the Pressure-Reducing Valve
Adjusting the pressure-reducing valve is one of the fastest ways to boost your mains water pressure. This valve is usually located next to the water meter. What you need to do is find the bolt’s locking nut and loosen it. All that is left is to turn the bolt clockwise.
Once enough water pressure runs through the pipes, close the water valve and tighten the locknut to secure it.
Clean or Replace the Showerhead
The dirt and sand may prevent your showerhead from doing its job correctly. If that is your case, all you have to do is remove the shower valve and put it in a plastic container filled with white vinegar.
Another source of your issues might be the type of showerhead you are using. Many modern showers feature water-saving showerheads. When combined with water restrictions, they can make the water pressure in your shower drop significantly. Your best bet in this situation is to replace your current showerhead with a special low-pressure one.
Install a Pressurised Unvented Cylinder
The next solution for your troubles might be removing the cold water storage tank and installing a pressurised cylinder in its place. This cylinder will take water straight from the main supply, which can give more pressure.
If you never want to deal with this issue in your house ever again, it might be the best option for you. However, this project can become costly, as it involves overhauling your entire plumbing system.
Install a Shower Pump
If you want to raise the pressure in your shower without replacing parts of the plumbing system, it is the perfect solution for you. A high-quality shower pump will boost the water supply to your shower without affecting your home’s water system.
However, be aware that you would most likely also need to install a break tank, as adding a shower pump to a system that takes its feed directly from the mains is illegal.
Add a Booster Pump
Booster pumps are rising in popularity thanks to two main factors — they are long-term solutions and come in various sizes. As a result, anyone can find the best pump for their house and forget about water pressure issues for a long time.
If you plan to live in your home for many years to come, booster pumps should definitely be in your circle of interest.
Opt for an Electric Shower
Purchasing an independent electric shower with a cold water accumulator tank is an option many people still do not know about. Nonetheless, if you have a gravity-fed system, it can prove to be a worthwhile investment. An accumulator stores water that you can later use to get a stream of pressurised water.
The primary downside of this option is that you may experience low water pressure in your shower when someone runs the kitchen sink or uses another water-using appliance.
Install a Power Shower
Installing a power shower is another project that you can undergo to increase water pressure in your house. While you need to have a lot of water in the hot water tank for it to work properly, it is usually a more cost-effective option than adding a water pressure booster pump or an electric shower.
The Bottom Line
Providing the answer to the question “How to increase water pressure in my house?” is tricky. For starters, you need to learn how to estimate the water pressure in your home and check current Water Regulations. Furthermore, although several quick fixes can help you raise the pressure in your pipes, finding the best solution for your household might require investing in a more significant project.
From calling the water department and adjusting the pressure-reducing valve to purchasing a pressure booster pump — there are plenty of things you can do to get rid of low water pressure in your home’s water supply. While, in most cases, it can be a time-consuming endeavour, the time spent on this project will be well worth it.