A Guide to Water Pressure Problems
The water pressure that comes into your home is determined by several factors, the most obvious one being the height of the water tower or reservoir supplying your property. Another indicator would be the size of the community using a particular water source. If you are the top of a hill you are going to experience lower water pressure than you neighbour at the bottom of the hill. There may also be certain times of the day when your water pressure is low depending demand.
If you are experiencing pressure water pressure problems in your home you will need to look for clues to determine what the problem may be. For instance, if the problem is with just one fixture then you can focus on fixing that. It may be a simple case of a tap washer needing to be replaced, but if you have recently had a new bathroom or kitchen and the pressure is low then check that the isolation valves have been fully opened. When changes are made to your plumbing system it is now compulsory for a shut of valves to be fitted behind every tap or appliance supply in the home. These are usually opened or closed by a slotted screwdriver, and when open, the slot should be running parallel to the direction of the pipe. Also check to see if flexible pipes have been fitted between the solid copper pipe and the taps as these can occasionally become kinked whilst the work is being carried out.
However, if the entire house is affected then the first step to take is to narrow down the cause. But before you seek plumbing and heating advice from a professional it is worth carrying out a few simple checks yourself as the problem may not be all that serious.
Perhaps the most obvious thing to do is to check that the water meter is fully open. This is especially important if you have had some recent work carried out that may have resulted in the water being turned off. Sometimes the tap may not have been turned on fully which can result in low pressure, so also check any other shut of areas.
If the pipework to house is old it could be that the pipes are becoming clogged with mineral deposits. If that is the case then the only remedy is to have the pipework replaced. This is a job that may require the services of a good plumber.
Also look around all of the areas of pipework to make sure that there are no leaks. These can significantly lower your water pressure as not all of the water is making its way to the taps. And don’t forget to check for leaks outside of the property. If you have a water meter then a simple test to carry out is to turn off the water supply inside the house and then take a look at the meter outside. If the dial is still going round then you have a leak in the feed from the meter point to your property, in which case you will need to call the water board. You may have take a reading from the meter and check it again a couple of hour later just to be sure.
Some new heating appliances, particularly combination boilers rely on adequate water pressure to work properly. So it’s important to check that out before installing any new equipment. If the property is occupied by several people and there are a number of bathrooms then the system may need to be fitted with a water pressure equalizing valve. This is a simple device that will help to eliminate the problem of low water pressure when several taps are turned on at the same time.
You can ask your water supplier to check the pressure and flow rate at the stopcock supplying your property- also get them to check the pressure and flow inside the house. Once you have this information it will give you a clue to the problem- Most water companies aim to provide you with
A minimum of 1 Bar of pressure and a flow rate of 9ltrs per min-
However most properties generally will have 2-3bars of pressure and a flow rate of 13-15 litres per min.
If you have good pressure and flow at the stop cock in the street but not in your house- (check all the taps) – it’s a good chance your pipes are old and partially blocked with mineral deposits or even rust blocking old steel galvanised pipes – In this case renewing the mains pipe from the street to the house will help sort the problem.
Lots of houses do not have adequate water supply or pressure to facilitate modern living– especially if they have multiple bathrooms that are in use at the same time.
If you have this problem- the solution is fitting pump set with a water holding facility. You will need somewhere to house the unit- typically a 750ltr tank and pump set that will serve a 5 bedroom house with 4 bathrooms will need a space that is undercover to house the unit. Approx. 2m in height and 900mm in width will be required. Smaller versions are available.
New mains water pipes will need to be fitted to both the unit from the mains in the street, and from the unit to your house. An electric supply is required for the pumps- 240v / 13 amp supply will be sufficient.
It’s a specialist job to install this equipment however it has the potential to provide 35ltrs of water at 20bar pressure.
To provide the maximum benefit you may have to change your hot water cylinder for a modern stainless steel insulated mains fed alternative.
If you require further information please e-mail us.
Image credit: William herron