How to Fix Low Water Pressure in Your House

Blog . General . Article Detail

Wondering how to fix low water pressure at home? Try these three common quick fixes to see if they put a little more flow into your faucets – before you have to call in the experts to help.

1.  Clean your aerators

If you have an individual faucet or fixture that’s giving you trouble, the problem could be with the exit point itself. If the tap has an aerator (usually a small mesh or plastic screen inside the mouth of the faucet), remove it by unscrewing the faucet cap, disassembling the inserts and flushing the screen with water. You may need to use a sewing needle or toothbrush to remove any stuck debris. If it’s a shower head or spray gun for a hose, try removing the entire fixture and soaking it in vinegar or a de-scaling product (like CLR) to unclog buildup. If the aerator is old and deteriorated, you can easily and inexpensively replace it with a quick trip to the hardware store.

2.  Adjust your PRV

A common source of low water pressure is a home’s pressure reducing valve, or PRV. As the name suggests, this is a mechanism that decreases the flow of water to pipes in your home. (Municipal water flow is often too strong for households, so this is the point where the pressure is lessened before it enters your home.)

The PRV is bell shaped, often made of brass, and usually located where your water line enters your home or building (your water main). It could be in your basement or around you water meter box, but the location will be different for each home. Before you adjust the PRV, use a water pressure meter on an outdoor tap to determine your baseline pressure. Then, locate the PRV,  and loosen the top nut using a wrench. Next, use a socket wrench to twist it one full turn clockwise to tighten. Check your water pressure meter after each full turn to ensure your pressure doesn’t go too high. (Many suggest a maximum of 60 PSI—and anything over 80 PSI will likely damage your home’s plumbing system.) And don’t forget to re-tighten the lock nut once you’re done.

3.  Tighten your shutoff valve

A water shutoff valve that’s only partially open can be another common culprit for sluggish water flow. Locate the valve (which is located separately, but usually near, the PRV) and ensure it’s in a fully open position. If it’s a level-style handle, it should be completely vertical. If it’s a rounded, wheel-shaped handle, it should be twisted counter clockwise to ensure it’s fully open. Check your faucets once you’re done to see whether your pressure has increased.

There you have it! These are some of the most common ways to fix problems that are causing low water pressure in your home. If all else fails, call a plumber or your city’s water department for a consultation. They may be able to give you deeper insight into what’s causing your water pressure woes.

Looking for more tips to help you make more fixes around your home? Visit this blog to learn more.