How to Troubleshoot Low Water Pressure in the Whole House

Tom Hartelby Tom Hartel
Faucet running high water pressure

Most homeowners coast along for quite some time before they ever encounter a problem with water pressure in their home, but yet it’s not exactly a rare occurrence – sooner or later it happens.

If you landed on this page, you’re likely having some issues and you’re really curious about how to fix it, so let’s dive right in with a list of items you should begin to check.

1) Is it in one faucet or multiple faucets?

Go to every water outlet, from your toilet to shower to kitchen sink and check to see if you’ve got the same issue in all of them, or if it’s just one.

  • Hot water heater: Run hot and cold water to make sure you’re covering all your bases. If your water pressure is low in the hot water but not the cold water supply, you’ve likely got a hot water heater issue. Hot water heaters are complex and they can be dangerous if you’re not a professional and you begin tinkering with it, so call in your trusted local residential plumber to inspect your unit.
  • Problem with the municipality pressure: If hot and cold water pressure is low in all of your outlets, call a neighbor and see if they’re having the same issue. If they too are having issues, it’s likely a problem on the water company’s end, which means you can contact them to see what they’re dealing with and how long they expect you to be down.
  • Aerator issue: If it turns out that your problem is localized to one faucet, it could be as simple as a clogged faucet or a clogged aerator, which is easy to fix. Just screw off the end of your faucet, remove the aerator and take out any debris you see. Don’t replace the aerator until you’ve run your water for a little bit just to make sure any remaining debris in the line doesn’t get stuck again in your aerator.
  • PRV valve: If your aerator is clear and your water pressure remains low in one or more faucets, it could be a pressure reducing valve (PRV) issue. You can identify your PRV by looking for a bell shaped part connected to your water line where it enters your home. Make small adjustments to see if that increases or reduces pressure, and adjust accordingly. In most valves, turning it clockwise will increase the pressure.
  • Shut off valve: You also need to check your shut off valve, because sometimes the slightest bit of a turn can cause somewhat dramatic changes in your whole house water pressure. This valve is also referred to as the master shut off valve as it can be used to completely shut off your water supply to the home.

2) Do you have a water leak?

Water leaks are also going to reduce the pressure you get at your taps. Fortunately, if your leak is bad enough to reduce your pressure, it shouldn’t be difficult to find. Unfortunately, there could be a flood waiting for you when you do find it.

For example, let’s say you have water pressure problem only in your bathroom sink. Look behind the sink and check your drywall. If it’s soaked, you know you’re going to have to remove the drywall and repair the line behind it, which means you need to shut off the main valve first. This job is usually one for a plumber, so again, contact your local trusted plumbing professional and have them take care of it for you.

In some cases, the leak is going to be a minor fix in the faucet itself, likely a broken/worn O-ring, cartridge or stem. In others, it’s going to be a major issue in a large area, usually noticeable as pooling water in the basement or big wet spots in your yard, which could be a sign of a water main break. Your water company will need to respond to such an issue.

3) Do you have mineral deposits in your lines?

If you live in an older home with galvanized plumbing pipes running through your whole house, there is a good chance that decades of minerals running through those pipes have built up and have slowed the flow. These are generally referred to as calcium deposits but could also include other commonly found minerals in water, including magnesium and potassium.

If you’ve got low water pressure due to mineral buildup, you’ve likely already had issues with your showerhead and faucet aerators getting clogged with bits of minerals breaking off of the buildup. It might be time for a pipe replacement project. Get an inspection from your plumber and ask for their recommendation.

4) Hire a professional

Don’t rely on just anybody to assist you with your whole house water pressure issue – contact Old World Plumbing – we’re Chicagoland’s go-to residential plumbing contractor, ready to serve you.

There are many, many reasons your whole house water pressure or single faucet could be experiencing reduced pressure. At OWP, we have the tools and the knowhow to get to the bottom of the issue, fast and effectively. Contact us today and let’s take care of your plumbing issues.

Tom Hartel
President/Author
Tom Hartel

I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on plumbing and fire protection systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your homes.

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