One of the most common things all people take for granted of in their house is a strong consistent water pressure. When this fails and you begin to lose pressure, it can quickly impact your ability to use essential parts of your home including the bathroom, toilets, showers, dishwashers and washing machines. In these situations it’s important to identify the issue causing the pressure decrease and resolve this before it becomes worse. Here are some of the most common causes for water pressure decreases:
Corroded Metal Pipes
Most older buildings will have either iron, copper or steal coated pipes for distributing water, whilst more modern builds are moving towards PVC/corrosion-proof piping. This is due to a combination of increasing prices for copper piping, long term maintenance issues with iron piping and increased ease of installation for PVC alternatives. Low pressure can be caused due to corroded metal pipes by build up increasing over the time on pipe choke points, including at regulators, flow restrictors and angle valves. This issue can be resolved by a qualified plumber cleaning out the corrosion through chiselling/impacting out any build up while the water flow is shut off and pipes drained. Once this corrosion is cleaned the valves are re-attached and flow re-established. It’s worth noting that the corrosion build will come back with time due to the nature of metal pipes, the only way to permanently resolve this issue is to replace the pipework with PVC alternatives – however this can be incredibly costly compared to having a plumber resolve the issue periodically.
The second most common and easier to identify issue are leaking pipes. The reason for the reduction in flow is simple – as each property only has a finite amount of flow at any one given point, with a leak a portion of this flow is instead leaking elsewhere meaning a lower amount of water flow is available at the tap being used. In-house or above ground leaks generally will manifest and be visible quickly so will not take much fault finding – however it is possible for slow leaks to be established underground from your mains water line which may not be possible to see as a layman. In the situations of underground leaks, the most obvious sign of this is constantly damp ground surface in areas where there should not be water build up. A plumber will generally need to dig down to find the leak and either replace the affected pipe section or apply an epoxy solution which binds to the leaking section and provides a flexible seal.
The lesser of common issues – pressure regulators can be faulty and require maintenance or replacement. Dependent on your property and local government, this can either be your responsibility, the housing authority or water utility provider – so be sure to check with the relevant bodies before touching this important piece of equipment. With regulators they can suffer from build up, seizing when being turned off etc.