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How Do I Fix Low Water Pressure In My House?

Posted by Michael Kamps on Fri, May 03, 2013 @ 04:05 PM

It's more annoying than anything else. You can still take a shower but feel like it takes forever to rinse off. It's one of those things you chose not to live with. Other things you may pex tubing pexmallexperience like kitchen faucet or shaving in the morning.

The Causes of Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure is a phrase often used to describe what is technically a low flow situation, where one or more fixtures in a home do not provide adequate water flow. There is a relation between pressure and flow, but it is possible to have adequate water pressure but still have low flow out of one or more fixtures. For this section, we will use “Low Water Pressure” for both low water flow and low pressure, as they both have the same effect: not enough water being supplied to the fixture.

A Little Plumbing History:

Have you ever considered how many older, There are millions and most of these wonderful homes have older plumbing systems that are in a state of failure.

Through the early 1900′s, all the way to the 1950′s, galvanized water pipe was the plumbing water supply of choice.

Around the 1950′s copper pipe was introduced and it was the plumbing talk of the town. Yes, it was far superior to galvanized. It was lighter, more resistant to corrosion, easier to install, and less restrictive. Eventually, almost every new home would have a copper water supply at the heart of its plumbing system. Copper seemed like the undisputed water supply pipe of choice for years.

But, as things go in the world of economics, copper prices were becoming a factor. The huge copper market was becoming more and more volatile. Prices were ever increasing and the world of science began it’s amazing confirmation of the old phrase, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Yes, it was becoming necessary to find a way to replace the copper champion, right at the time plastics would be the eventual contender.

The Major Culprit: Corroded Piping

If you have low water pressure in your home or business and still have old galvanized steel pipes, chances are that they're corroded and clogged with rust and other minerals. Most often seen with steel or galvanized water piping after 18 to 20 years, the internal passageways of the pipe may be partially closed due to years of corrosion and mineral buildup.

Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to correct this problem, other than replacing the pipes. This is an expensive, labor and material intensive job.

In most cases, homes with internally corroded pipes have “full flow” fixtures as well. Installing flow restrictors in the faucets and showerheads may help, especially when multiple fixtures are being used. For faucets, modern low flow faucets with aerators will seem to provide more flow than before.

This won’t help your toilet tank to fill quickly, or your washing machine to fill any faster, but it can help reduce the appearance of low flow problems for showering, washing your hands, etc.

Today's Solution:

Today, the latest and greatest pipe of choice is called PEX. We won’t go into the absurdly long scientific name, PEX tubing is made from crosslinked HDPE (high density polyethylene) polymer. It is melted and continuously extruded into tube. The crosslinking process provides incredible strength and as a result PEX provides several advantages over metal pipes or rigid plastic pipe (PVC, CPVC, ABS). It is flexible, resistant to scale and chlorine, doesn’t corrode or develop pinholes, is faster to install than metal or rigid plastic, and it requires fewer connections and fittings.

You may be able to solve the problem yourself. The elbows and horizontal lowest level pipes are usually the main culprits because the minerals in the water will settle and corrode the interior of these pipes first. If you’re pretty handy, you might want to start by replacing the lowest horizontal pipes. Replace them with PEX or copper, your choice. But before you cut the old pipes, heed this warning. Avoid removing the 90-degree elbows or tees attached to the bottom of the vertical pipes. The threaded portion of a pipe is always the thinnest and breaks easily when it’s old and rusty. If you break the threads on the vertical pipe while you’re trying to remove the elbow, you'll be in real trouble. So do your best to keep those fittings intact with the vertical pipes and remove only the horizontal sections.

If this sounds too difficult, or a little more than you would want to try by yourself, talk to us about our pipe replacement system. It’s fast and affordable.


Tags: Plumbing, Flow Problems, Water Pressure