Do you notice a sudden “drop” in water pressure whenever you turn on the taps? When you flush the toilet does it seem like it takes forever for it to refill? Fluctuating water pressure certainly can make it rough to use the plumbing every day. If you currently have this problem, don’t worry! It’s not very hard to figure out and fix. Here, let me show you.
Check all of the plumbing fixtures
You want to first inspect all of the plumbing fixtures in your home and verify if the water pressure maintains steady or not. Start by flushing all of the toilets and opening all your faucets including laundry tubs.
If the water pressure drops at all of the plumbing fixtures, that means you have a non-isolated problem. A water pressure reducing valve located after the water meter is probably the cause. If it’s only one or two fixtures, a bad shut-off valve, faucet aerator or clogged water pipe could be the cause.
Check the water pressure
If you have a water pressure reducing valve do this simple test to verify whether the regulator is working or not. Attach a test gauge on to your laundry faucet then turn on a faucet or flush a toilet. Look at the gauge if the pressure drops drastically for example below 50psi that means the water pressure reducing valve is faulty.
Corrective actions would be the replacement of the water pressure reducing valve. Adjusting the existing regulator is not recommended as this could worsen the problem. A proper water pressure setting is anywhere from 55-65psi for residential homes.
What if it’s only one plumbing fixture?
If you’re losing water pressure only at one plumbing fixture, it could be a few things. For toilets, you want to inspect the shut-off valve supply tube and fill valve inside of the tank. Sometimes they become clogged with sediment. If cleaning does not work, you may have to replace the affected parts.
For faucets unscrew aerators first. If that doesn’t fix it, shut off the water and start by checking the supply tubes, valve stems, and shower heads. Sometimes washers become loose and obstruct water flow through a faucet or valve.
Incorrect pipe sizes
Another cause of water pressure drop and volumetric flow rate loss is the size of the pipe (or tubing). A lot of newer homes and remodeled homes have plastic water tubing installed because it’s cheaper than copper pipe. But plastic tubing can create significant problems in the water supply system which will effect plumbing fixtures.
There is a smaller inside diameter difference between plastic tubing and copper pipe. Plastic tubing used over a long distance and joined with a lot of connections will create volume drop. The difference is about a half gallon per minute this difference will cause plumbing fixtures to operate inefficiently.
Do you have plastic water pipe?
If you discover plastic water tubing in your home referring to the pictures above you want to make sure that the connections supplying water to plumbing fixtures join from a manifold pipe arrangement that is sized correctly. If the plastic tube and fittings are installed like an octopus and just going everywhere, this is more than likely your problem to low water volume.
A plastic water tube that has numerous connections made on one supply branch will lose volume. It’s only going to provide water so far, depending what’s connected to it will have an effect on the furthest fixtures demands.
It takes an experienced plumber to look over your unique situation to determine the exact cause and plan a strategy to fix a low water pressure situation in your home. Click here to have Vince inspect your system today.